Thursday, May 19, 2005

Today is a pause between the Gerecht Family Outreach Institute (a terrific learning experience and a chance to see some old friends) and a training for diversity trainers in Denver, CO, sponsored by
Mosaic: The National Jewish Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and the Anti-Defamation League. The agenda item for today is laundry, needless to say!

I've also been catching up on the news, and have run across something I want to share, because it does not seem to have gotten much attention. (I've been getting my news via radio from NPR and CBS -- if it isn't on either of those, seems to me it hasn't gotten much attention.)

Have you heard about the Downing Street Memo dated 23 July, 2002? (Clink the link if you would like to read the text for yourself.) Here is the paragraph that made me sit up:

"Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. "

Those words were written in JULY 2002, by Matthew Rycroft, a British diplomat, after a visit to the U.S.

I, for one, believed in the WMD's. I was really surprised when they didn't find any (after all, I'd gotten the daylights scared out of me in Israel, carrying around a gas mask in case Saddam shot poison gas at us.) I was skeptical about President Bush's motives but was convinced because Tony Blair and Colin Powell and all these other very respectable folks seemed convinced.

It was all lies. The Brits knew it was all lies back in July 2002, before the lies were even made public. This whole thing was planned because our President Bush wanted to invade Iraq.

I grant you, if Saddam Hussein were my head of state, I'd be glad if someone got rid of him. But the lives of Iraqis have gone from one bad thing to another, not from bad to good. Nothing I'm hearing from Iraq suggests that it is a bearable place to live today. Yes, there were free elections, and the people who voted in them took their lives in their hands to go on the street to vote and they STILL don't have a functioning government.

And let's not forget the byproducts: the world has been given a new workshop for terrorists, a new rallying point for Al Qaida and Hamas and all those lovely people. The terrorists have had access to weapons we failed to secure.

Apparently our news organizations don't care. They care about selling you Michael Jackson testimony, and American Idol speculation, and other similar swill. News organizations don't care because they have become profit-driven, or grant-dependent. (NPR does not get off the hook here, either.) They don't care because their research shows that we don't care.

I'm asking you to care. If you don't like being lied to about the war in Iraq, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper (and TV, and so on) and tell them that you care more about the war in Iraq than you do about the latest titillating details from the Jackson trial and who won American Idol. Tell them you don't understand why the Downing Street Memo hasn't gotten more airplay.

If you are a Republican, and think the Downing Street Memo is no big deal, I ask that you care enough to tell your media sources that you care about real news, about our men and women dying in Iraq, about other things that are Real in the world. Tell them that you're fed up with titillating crowd-pleasers on the news. I respect you enough to believe that you don't really think that the bread-and-circuses approach to news is OK.

Write to someone. Raise Cain. Please.

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