President Obama, followed by White House Chief of Staff William Daley, walks out from the Oval Office before his departure to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. | Photo: Archives
|Barack Obama and William Daley|
America is a country of mythologies. This is a great country, but we don't have sole ownership of courage, generosity, superiority, even though we act like we do.
For example, with the statement "God Bless America," we ask the universal creator of all things to bless a geographic boundary that only came into existence 120 years ago---and leave out everyone else in the world.
Another myth is the fallacy many Americans have that no war we ever fought was a mistake, or could have been avoided or handled better in some other less costly, more humane way. The annihilation of our Native American population in the 19th century is euphemistically labeled "The Winning of the West."
If some other country had done it, it would likely be called what it was, "Genocide."
Another myth is that the president always insists he is accountable to the people and not above the law. This has been disproven so many times and so blatantly over the years that to recount all the times it has been disproven would require a book the size of War and Peace.
But a few high (or if you will) lowlights are in order.
Richard Nixon orchestrated a burglary while president that was little different than if he and his cronies had gone down to a convenience store and held it up at gunpoint. He was eventually found out and his sycophants went to jail. Nixon was going to be impeached and resigned, which might lead you to suspect the system is fair so far, but was then pardoned, let off scot free by the president who replaced him, ostensibly because seeing a former president do jail time would be too painful and divisive for the public.
Nixon could also make the case he did it for us, lied, cheated, stole, patriotically.
If you burglarize a place, you go to jail. I don't know what planet you come from, but to me that means one set of rules for him, and another for me.
The list goes on and on ad nauseam. John F. Kennedy, who wasn't president yet in 1960, funneled bribe money from his millionaire, ex-bootleg whiskey peddler father, who once raped actress Gloria Swanson claiming she asked for it, through paymaster Bobby Kennedy, to fix crooked elections in the corrupt swing states of Illinois (Chicago Mayor Daley) and through West Virginia miners unions. Kennedy is still described as a great president.
Nixon, who had been out-crooked by Kennedy, was going to sue and demand a recount, but realized there was little chance of success and that he would be seen as a poor loser, ending his political career. The seeds of bitterness from that experience led Nixon to vow never to be hoodwinked again and the Watergate scandal was born.
Lyndon Johnson used the exaggerated Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 to escalate and hand-lead the American people into the Vietnam War.
And of course, the right-wing's Jesus Christ, Ronald Reagan, claiming on the witness stand he couldn't remember the arms-for-hostage scam where he misled Congress and the American people, giving life to the cynical phrase----Plausible Deniability.
None of them were held accountable.
More recently, George Bush Jr. and Dick Cheney hacked and falsified information to gain public support for a war in Iraq saying the country possessed "weapons of mass destruction such as the world had never seen," in other words, the kind of weapons we currently possess. The war to tak
|Don't Ask Don't Tell better describes the relationship between the government and the people.|
e out these bogus weapons that Bush said Iraq was going to use on the United States, was launched without a Declaration of War, because the president no longer felt required to ask Congress for it. It was a rubber stamp vote that didn't involve the American people.
No doomsday weapons were found. Since then there has been no censure of Bush and Cheney for their conduct, and no investigation of the lead-up to the war.
The government threw out without your say due process and can now lock you in jail merely on suspicion without an attorney and throw away the key. This is comically and ironically called "The Patriot Act."
A few years back, the military enacted a now-defunct system of dealing with new recruits by asking them to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a policy where the entrant wouldn't disclose their sexual orientation.
Don't Ask Don't Tell better describes the overall relationship between the American people and their government, especially in foreign policy. The government has in essence said (without saying it) don't ask us, and we won't tell you. Sound fair? In the 12 years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, no allegedly so-called average American can explain to you with any degree of certainty what exactly it is we're trying to accomplish in these actions (we hope it's good), or when they might be achieved.
One war has been scaled back and another is due to be. Understanding the need to not give away sensitive secrets to our enemies notwithstanding, this almost total lack of public knowledge does not represent anything close to accountability.
More often than not it isn't a case of "We the People," but instead, "We the Ruthless and You the People."
The president is above the law.