High Crimes & Cruel
Treasons: I Accuse

By Douglas Herman

When did our esteemed men become such moral pygmies?
Whenever a nation careens from the ideals of her founders, when her leaders heed instead the bidding of a select few, becoming indeed a nation in service of the highest bidder, the result is a catalogue of crimes posing as a republic. The Constitution, both bulwark and fragile parchment, becomes a museum piece then, a remnant of an abandoned ideal mourned by the many, yet secretly scorned and ridiculed by the few who usurped power in her place but cynically cloak themselves in her quotable fragments.
When did American statesmanship mean befriending foreign dictators, and beholden to shadowy powerbrokers, both here and abroad? Was it by design or default, this gradual embrace of dictators? Was it by intention or indifference we increasingly support shadowy operations, acceptance of lies, fabrication of evidence, intimidation of whistleblowers, all the while obfuscating capital crimes and lauding major criminals?
Did it begin with the burgeoning growth of the CIA, the decay of the FBI, or simply the capitulation of key government bureaucracies like the <>NTSB ? For example, the cover up of major acts of air terrorism - the shooting down of <>TWA Flight 800 and the sabotage of John Kennedy Jr's airplane - metastasized into something far more serious, the occurrence and cover up of the WTC destruction and the needless murder of 3,000 American citizens.
Certainly the failure of the White House, CIA, FBI, NORAD to prevent the attack, and the malfeasance at the crash site by the NTSB to properly investigate, remains a major crime. What will the ìBlack Boxesî of history, the secret <>Cockpit Voice recorders of our society tell us when opened and examined in the future? Was this altered course only a temporary loss of control, only a brief glitch of moral decay, or the evident, final plunge followed by the horrendous crash of our republic?
What is a war criminal? Why can't we ask such questions in our so-called, polite society? <>Is Henry Kissinger a War Criminal? Am I? By any definition, Robert McNamara, Madeline Albright, Henry Kissinger and maybe even Donald Rumsfeld, would all qualify as war criminals. Which of our American war criminals - honored yet never indicted - were the worst? If we dared to ask the question, we might not like the answer. No matter: history will ask the question for us and, if objective, will provide the convictions if not the death sentences. Anyway, we have all the evidence we need at the doorstep of the Senate.
How many more miles of black granite war memorials will suffice to remember the fallen soldiers of failed foreign policy? Truthfully, if an inscribed memorial wall were constructed for the foreign victims of these same policies, the black granite monolith would encircle Washington DC. The men who inspired the wall, however, have presidential libraries, although few ever come to read there. Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes actually have a more fitting monument at <>The CIA: headquarters where their indictment awaits. Inscribed in stone are the Biblical words that will convict them in heaven if not on earth: 'And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.' For those less fortunate, however, headstones or mass graves are their legacy.
Speaking of truth, why is it in such short supply? Was it always so? From Fox to the New York Times, the media dances around the truth but rarely alights. To which loyalty do men like Rupert Murdoch most serve? <>Bread and Circuses, Yes, personal wealth and power, evidently; but must truth be so maligned in the process? Why do respected men like Colin Powell swerve from the facts, serve outright liars, refuse to admit error, in the vain hope to remain untainted? Perhaps we cannot expect much virtue or unvarnished truth from pragmatic men like Cheney, Perle or Bush, but how much whitewash must a man of color apply to lies before he becomes morally invisible?
If the business of America is doing business, then the clearest definition of the CIA is a covert, businessmanís club. Imagine the Masons or the Elks with far fewer morals and vastly more guns. Rumsfeldís infamous handshake ( <>war-criminal .com ) with the Hitlerian Saddam Hussein was simply that of one paramilitary businessman to another. The accord signified the acceptance of bloody deeds done with American arms and more to come. Dead Kurds and Shiites? Like Salvadorans and Guatemalans before them, they were simply corporate assets that had to be liquidated from time to time. Perhaps nothing better illustrates the cynical, textbook immorality of our US government foreign policy for the past forty years than the Reagan/Bush Iran-Contra double deal, and the subsequent playing of Iraq and Iran against each other. The ploy worked well. More than half a million Iranian and Iraqi men were massacred, about the same time Saddam shook the hand of Americaís envoy. But that was business as usual, courtesy the State Department, White House and the CIA.
Let No Law, Whether of God or Man, Stand in the Way of the Almighty Dollar. This alone should be taught at our ivy-covered business schools; for is it not the motto of foreign policy leaders? The stolen presidential election of 2000 was simply business as usual, the bastard descendent of the coup dí tat that removed one leaderóKennedy--for another, more malleable one in 1963. Let no leader arise that may--like Hamlet avenging the death of his father--ascend to power, lest our shadowy, <>Skull and Bones Society form of government find a way to remove the threat, ìAssassination by aviationî, as those in the know would say.
Will history record the last half century in the following terms: American Caesar: Fifty Years of Imperial Presidents? Those Americans who cherish the notion of the <>Four Freedoms , however quaint, should never abdicate the cause, although others apparently have. Those who call themselves our leaders, serve other masters. Crass men who have compromised the country and enriched themselves and their cronies, stand at <>Ozymandias' Tomb, surrounded by the wreckage they've caused and on the wrong side of history.
Douglas Herman, essayist and itinerant artist and fisherman, author of the much reprinted <>Achtung! Are We the New Nazis?, is a student of history and the use of rhetorical questions for philosophical purposes.



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