Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Reflections on a day that shall live in infamy

As usual, I did the Sunday post on Today in Iraq yesterday, which is always a largely grim task, but at least on this occasion -- the weekend before the third anniversary of the invasion -- I had the opportunity to highlight protests and vigils against the war, and memorials for the dead and injured, around the U.S. and the world. Most Americans may have thirsted for some sort of retribution after Sept. 11, 2001, but it took pathological and dishonest leadership -- from both politicians and journalists -- to sell them on this criminal folly. Now that most citizens, and a few humbled news editors, have awakened to the truth, their sense of betrayal and anger is palpable.

But now that the people are starting to grasp reality, we get the really bad news. American democracy is a sham. The putative opposition party is faced with a president who led the nation on a criminal agression with a campaign of lies; demolished a century of progress in international norms of state behavior in the pursuit of grandiose delusions; repeatedly violated the law and the constitution, and fundamental standards of human decency, and claims the absolute right to do so, with no accountability to anyone; and has set the nation on an inevitable path of financial and environmental catastrophe for the sole purpose of further enriching the already obscenely wealthy.

Yet the Democratic leadership is far more anxious to repudiate any suggestion that the administration should be held accountable for its crimes than it is to propose any alternative policies. Most observers predict it is very unlikely that control of Congress will change in the November elections, and one reason -- apart from gerrymandering, the dispositive role of money and television advertising in politics, and the widespread practice of electoral fraud and suppression of Black voting -- is that the Democrats have no message, no policies, no vision, evidently no political ideas of any kind. The supposed front-runner for the Democratic nomination has two big ideas: cheering on the war, and banning flag burning. When a Democratic representative, a decorated combat veteran, calls for withdrawing from Iraq, his Democratic colleagues run away from him like cockroaches scattering in the light -- even though the overwhelming majority of their constituents agree with him.

Anyone care to offer an explanation?

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