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"Working the Crap-Detector"

I watch the presidential debates and have to ask myself: How did I figure out the un-wisdom and immorality of the U.S. invasion of Iraq so much more quickly than Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden? Now they say they voted wrong in 2003, that they lacked information then, and if they had known then what they know now they would not have voted to give the acting president authority to invade.

How is it that I did not lack information in 2003? I did not regard what Colin Powell told the U.N. in 2003 as information at all. I could tell it was disinformation. How could that be? How did I know? I'm not the only one, I realize, but how could we be so far ahead of five Democratic Senators?

It's deja vu all over again. I remember being accosted at the door of the church, where I had preached on peace, and had announced the availability of a SANE petition which asked for the cessation of the bombing of civilians in North Vietnam - that was 1965. A hawk/parishioner asked me, "Do you really think you understand the politics of Southeast Asia better than the Secretary of State of the United States?" That was Dean Rusk. I replied, without thinking, "My Lord, yes!"

Others wanted to know how I found out things, how I formed my beliefs about geopolitics.

In those days I read I.F.STONE'S WEEKLY, and RAMPARTS MAGAZINE, and THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR. I tended not to believe anything that LBJ said, or what the NEW YORK TIMES wrote. That was before the TIMES figured it out and published "The Pentagon Papers." I wondered why it took them twenty years to figure out what an immoral and unconstitutional disaster that war really was.

So how did some of us figure out this war and occupation so much sooner than leaders in the U.S. Senate? Maybe it's simply a superior crap detector. The acting president is a liar, and if he says something, you'll get an inkling of the truth, if you insert "not" or "does not" in front of his verbs. Sometimes that will make a double negative, but you can figure that out.

"America does not [NOT] torture."
"Saddam [DOES NOT] possess nuclear weapons."
"Saddam is [NOT] in league with Al Caida."
"The invasion will [NOT] make us safer."
"Whoever leaked the name of that CIA agent will [NOT] be fired."
And so on.

There are things to read, too. Not the NEW YORK TIMES. They're slow again, to figure it out, not as slow as before, but slow enough to buffalo Senators evidently. Read THE NATION, MOTHER JONES, THE PROGRESSIVE, THE HIGHTOWER LOWDOWN, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR. It's not a question of being smarter - smarter than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden? It's the old crap-detector, and the freedom that comes from knowing that we Americans are not better than other people. I'd like to live long enough to see the day when we have leaders who will quit invading other people's countries with a view to taking their oil or their copper or their turnips, or whatever it is they have.

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Copyright © 2007 Harry Willson

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