Where is the outrage now?


By Christopher Mullally
January 7, 2007

To the president, I would ask: Have you no decency, no sense of morality, no sense of judiciousness? A war started on lies, driven by lies and propelled by fear is your legacy. Well done. You and your associates will die wealthy war profiteers, but in doing so have defiled the name of this country worse than it has been in recent memory.

Bush emits a veritable constellation of brilliance that has shown that what you think means absolutely nothing. And should you digress from his ideas, you are simply un-American, something to be mocked by the general establishment.

Barbara Bush used to regale the public concerning the virtues of reading, but we can all see how well that worked with her own brood. A C-average, alleged former substance abuser with a brother that I dare say does a "Heckuv a job," especially around election time or hurricane season.

Another very recent development has been that Bush now has decided your mail can be opened without a warrant under "emergency conditions." This was quietly signed into law on Dec. 20. The secret domestic eavesdropping program even caught Capitol Hill by surprise. I wouldn't consider this culture of anxiety as "doubleplusgood," (thanks Orwell), or even a success. This is a result of people who insist this will be a war that "will be ongoing." Vagaries in matters of life and death without a clear purpose are the pinnacle of the pompousness. "Ongoing" to me equates with exploitation, not necessarily any noble function, as certainly none are clearly outlined. Is it oil money for reconstruction? Liberation? Establishing a new democracy? Yellowcake uranium? So far, it appears to be none of the above.

So what's the new shift in strategy? Why did Bush have to wait until the new year to decide to announce his new whiz kid move? The theme of his upcoming speech is rumored to be all about "sacrifice." We're sending more troops into harm's way. Lives of no less value than those of the children of congressmen and congresswomen, members of the Senate or even the Bush twins. We don't see them fighting for something they themselves portray as "just" or "moral." Let the poor people do it, or more recently, let the persons who are noncitizens of the U.S. do it to ensure their citizenship.

There will be roughly 20,000 more men and women going across the globe to do what they believe is the right thing. For political reasons and not military ones, 20,000 more people risk death. Make no mistake, I think these are some of the most courageous people there may be, but I don't think their lives are being put in peril for a just cause. Bush has disregarded the Iraq Study Group, he has ignored the opinions of his generals in Iraq, and he has overlooked the common will of his own people.

I do think the statistics regarding this "conflict" are anesthetizing to a degree. Of course, we comprehend there is a war going on, but it all seems like chatter in the background. We hear about polls, death tallies, recent car bombings and the latest condemnations of this war by members of the president's own staff, including a majority (for the first time) of Iraqi generals. Our own servicepersons do not want any more troop buildup. Updates here, triumphs there, sad moments more often than not, they roll across the crawler on the bottom of the TV screen, not likely to be repeated. That doesn't mean we care any less, only that we have been led down so many different paths regarding this war we have become numb to the constant turmoil in the background. With this war it seems difficult enough just to cognate the enormity of what is happening a world away. "Mission Accomplished?" Quagmire? Vietnam 2.0? Liberation?

When Clinton was in office, an extramarital affair triggered an avalanche of people calling for impeachment.

Where is our outrage now?

It takes a catalytic moment, a point in time so precise and extraordinary it polarizes people in a definitive resolve. These are times that jar us out of our collective complacency; 9/11 and the JFK assassination are the first that come to mind, and suddenly we are acutely aware of our surroundings. We have experienced that instant and wanted to make right what had so painfully happened to us. However, that impulse for the fervor of swift retaliation and justice has been amazingly and gradually replaced by a culture of fear. Slowly, like stepping stones, the disinformation is dispensed. The assumption that we are numb replaces any notion that we are aware. What are we doing?

Christopher Mullally is a resident of Glenwood Springs. Editor's note: Soapbox runs weekly on the Sunday opinion page. This spot is a forum for valley residents to comment on local topics. If you'd like to contribute, contact Naomi Havlen at The Aspen Times at 925-3414, extension 17624 or e-mail nhavlen@aspentimes.com.