I read an article that floored me.
Raw Story reported that Rep. John Conyers had written a letter signed by eighty-eight members of Congress, calling for "deeper inquiry" into a secret Iraq attack plan that had been discussed by the US and the UK in 2002, long before Congress had been consulted or authorization sought, according to a document soon to be called the "Downing Street Memo", although they were technically the minutes of a meeting chaired by Tony Blair to discuss military action towards Iraq, "having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq." "A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to 'create' conditions to justify a war."
But the line that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up was "A British official 'reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.' "
'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.'
Somehow, that report just set off all my alarm bells. I could not get those words out of my head. Yet, in the mainstream media, nary a peep! It was all about the runaway googly-eyed bride and that endless, cascading fountain of infotainment dollars - a pathetic, pajama-clad Michael Jackson and his sad, humiliating trial.
But there were a few progressives that were onto the Downing Street Memo, and at the forefront of these was David Swanson and his new website AfterDowningStreet.org, which mobilized immediately to become the center of the movement to draw attention to a document that, in any kind of a just world, would have yanked Cheney and Bush from office, hauled them into court, and clapped them into jail.
I immediately bookmarked that site as the 'go-to' place for all things Downing Street, and followed the work and activism of Swanson as he cut a mighty swath through the jungle of lies, red herrings, distractions and obfuscations thrown up around the subject.
Fast-forward to September 2008 and the release of my book The Price of Right. David Swanson gave me my first review, and though it was not uniformly glowing I thought it was fair, made some good points deserving of consideration and in general positive rather than negative. I was thrilled to have him review it.
Fast-forward another year, and now David's own book, Daybreak - Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, will be out tomorrow, September 1. He was kind enough to send me a review copy which I just got in the mail today, and am going to be staying up all night to read, so I can get my review out as soon as possible. He prefaces his book with an I.F. Stone quote that really resonates with me, because I feel the exact same way:
“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead and fight, knowing you're going to lose. You mustn't feel like a martyr. You've got to enjoy it.”
After all, what kind of a fight is it if you're guaranteed success? That's not a fight; that's the WWF. It's entertainment; it's self-indulgence; it's dilettantism. There's no valor in fighting for something when you already know you're going to prevail. The forces of entrenched wealth and entrenched power and corporatism that we are up against are so strong, so massive, and so pervasive that to think that all we have to do is wave a few signs to bring them down is ludicrous. This may well be the fight of our lives, and we have to be okay with continuing to fight even when we don't obtain our objective right when we want it and think we ought to have it.
But let's not forget that it has been done before, and it can be done again.
I'll be back as soon as I can with the 'official' review. In the meantime...David says:
If everyone buys it on Tuesday, September 1st, at Amazon.com, it will jump to the top of the political bestsellers there, displacing Glenn Beck. Here's the link:
Even though I already have my copy, I'm going to buy one, just for the satisfaction of kicking some Glenn Beck ass.