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O is for Osama, obfuscations and lies of omission
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
September 5, 2003
"If we dealt only with the false and dishonest, we should at last forget how to speak the truth." — Henry David Thoreau
Last week, when the Bush Administration made the media rounds with news Osama Bin Laden was still alive and hiding in the mountains of Northern Pakistan, I couldn't help think of Donald Rumsfield Office of Strategic Influence, and how convenient it was for Osama to be resurrected just in time for the first anniversary of the massacre that will always be known as September 11th. To paraphrase Bono, "Fact is fiction in TV reality."
Like the a boogie man under the bed, Osama bin Laden has become a mythical figure that will always be evoked to keep Americans tucked safely beneath the cover half truths and whole sale deception. Obtuse to the point of obedience, it seems the majority of Americans would rather follow blindly down the path of war, rather than question with a critical eye the validity of the world according to George W.
This, of course, does not mean I believe critical thought has evaporated as fast as our civil rights under the reckless watch of corporate Republicanism, quite the contrary. It's just that those willing to speak truth to power, are far outnumbered by those unwilling to oppose a status quo which tells them might makes right, and blissful ignorance makes for a good night sleep. The only reason Osama bin Laden is lurking beneath the bed of American consciousness is because that is where the Bush Administration wants him.
Every now and then I give myself philosophical Mc Nuggets to chew on while attempting to make sense of one cultural conversation or another. Not long ago, when deciding on the "O" for this observation, my friend Clea and I came up with a very tasty conundrum that has been with me since. Although I have yet to find a suitable answer, I am still compelled to share the question.
"What is the impact of things not said?"
Quite different than the propaganda confections being spun by the carneys in the Bush and Rumsfield circus, lies of omission are made ominous by the mere fact they are left to fester until post hastily accepted as the cost of doing business. No choice, no voice, and powerless to do anything, Americans become the masters of swallowing whatever is offered after the fact, least they be forced to question all that is being done in their name.
Given the choice most Americans would prefer to be told the uncomfortable truth, opposed to being kept in a comfortable dark. Why then do we not expect the same amount of honesty the government demands of us. We all know the only reason America gives a rat's ass about the Middle East is because there is oil there. Isn't it about time we admitted it and behaved accordingly? Perhaps the price of oil would then better reflect the cost of waging the wars needed to keep oil companies in the drivers seat?
It is my belief it is time Americans were given an honest assessment of where we stand in the world in regards to our appetites, and the policies used to enforce them. If we want Middle Eastern oil, instead of propping up undemocratic regimes in order to retain favorable access, the ethical approach would be to allow the free market to determine the cost and then pay it without all the flag waving and dropping of bombs.
Americans also deserve a government that is unwilling to keep secrets from the very people they supposedly represent. Call me naive, but it is my opinion that any business that must be done in the dark, clandestine and not subject to public review, is business with something to hide. Following that thought to its natural conclusion, a government with something to hide is a government involved in very dirty business.
Speaking of dirty business and government with something to hide, what is up with the Bush Administrations war against the environment? And how long are we going to allow the extraction industries to continue dictating foreign policy. Not only is this comparable to letting the fox guard the hen house, if we were really honest with ourselves we would see that George W. is actually letting the fox design the hen house, and hand pick the hens.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is time we admit playing hide and seek with the truth is not in our best interest, regardless of the number of flags we feel compelled to wave.
Oh before I forget, did I mention O also stands for "Ollie, Ollie, Oxen Free?