Soon, CIA Director Michael Hayden will release documents that describe major misdeeds of the CIA in darker days, after General Antonio Taguba went public in The New Yorker with charges of an Abu Ghraib cover-up.
A great and noble debate will begin in America. Revelations about past and current misdeeds will bring into focus what went wrong in the Iraq war, and why opponents of these policies are voices of American patriotism.
In a recent show Tucker Carlson and a “pundit” ridiculed and demeaned Al Gore. Rather than discussing the profound points he was making in his new book The Assault on Reason, they engaged in cheap ad hominem attacks on Gore as “over the top” and “rage-filled.”
Gore is brilliantly challenging not only policies that violate American principles. He challenges the institutional power structures that corrupt our national debate, have led America into a catastrophic war, and account for collapsing credibility of both political and media elites.
Gore is not the voice of rage; he is the voice of hope, and the leading conviction politician in America whose playing field far transcends conventional politics. Gore leads the fight against global warming and institutions of power, led by big oil, and the corruptions that perpetuate that power.
Gore brilliantly communicates through motion picture documentary, Academy Awards, a global concert reaching 2 million people, and a possible Nobel Peace Prize, while he moves the market with venture capital.
Far more than any national Democrat, Gore is directly challenging the political elites of the status quo that led to the Iraq war, the media elites that became complicit in it, the political elites that defend it, and the character attacks of demeaning and insulting those who oppose it.
Within days, the CIA’s dirty laundry from the darker days will become public, and Americans will connect what happened then with today.
First we read General Taguba charging a cover-up that protected higher-ups in the Abu Ghraib crimes. Soon we will read about how crimes of the past were committed through wrongdoing covered up by secrecy. Today we read about the vice president’s latest attempt to place himself above the law with secrecy in violation of the rules.
America is not the torture nation. From George Washington rejecting torture as commander of the Continental Army to Justice Jackson’s summation at Nuremberg, America has always stood for the highest values of the rule of law and decency.
From the beginning, Dick Cheney has rejected the standards initiated by General Washington, accepted today by commanders throughout every branch of the military services. He rejects the common belief of all of the great religions, except the spiritual advisers to terrorists, that certain acts of barbarism and torture are simply wrong.
While Al Gore’s extraordinary leadership on global warming is profound, and his opposition to the Iraq war from the beginning was wise, his sweeping defense of the Bill of Rights, his honoring of the Constitution, and his objection to torture and barbarism are equally profound.
America has tried Dick Cheney’s way and we have now seen the results. What is most important about the Cheney way is that these are not matters of mere disagreement; these are matters of high principle, high honor and basic Americanism.
These are deviations from time-honored American values, born from fanaticism, promoted through fear, outside the bounds of law and Constitution, protected through falsehood and secrecy, promoted by insults and slanders, too often given legitimacy by major media, deadly to our troops, disastrous to our country, alien to America.
In this perverted world, war hero Democrats are called unpatriotic, while those who level the charge perpetuate scandals of wounded troops and disrespect toward disabled vets.
Those who hide behind the skirt of secrecy for actions that violate the Constitution, the law, and the Code of Military Justice are usually those who never served in the military. They are ignorant of military strategy and contemptuous of military values.
Those of us who oppose these practices speak for the overwhelming majority of our people, speak for the historic traditions of our military, reflect the private views of our commanders, and stand with the traditions of the great religions. Yet the mass media regularly repeat the litany of lies, insults and propaganda against those who speak truth with patriotism.
In my June 20 op-ed in The Hill titled “New politics, new media, new majority,” I suggested, as Al Gore does, that integral to our democratic society are the means of communication that reflect the diversity of our democracy.
Set aside that women (the majority of voters, people and consumers) are excluded from the cable news host lineup. Set aside that Hispanics are completely excluded from the mass media political host lineup (though the object of countless background shots about immigration).
Set aside that progressives who represent far more people than the political right are largely treated as though they don’t exist in the host lineup of the three cable “news” networks.
Set aside that blacks who represent large numbers of Americans are not permitted to be prime-time cable hosts, and forced to endure indignities, until one host made one too many insulting and demeaning comments.
The Bible says the last shall be first. What will happen, I predict, is that the huge numbers of patriotic Americans who have turned to alternative news and activist sources will mobilize and organize into new media and political alignments.
2006 was only the beginning.
This phenomenon of insulting and demeaning majority constituencies will be overpowered by a new phenomenon equal to the impact of the FDR revolution that paralleled the rise of radio, and the Kennedy years that paralleled the rise of network television. The driving power of the Internet, coupled with progressive radio, will further empower each other and lead to dramatic changes in television.
Stay tuned for more next week.
For now, check out the new news sources that will be essential to this transformation, which include Mark Karlin and buzzflash.com; Rob Kall and opednews.com, Bob Parry and consortiumnews.com, Carolyn Kay and makethemaccountable.com, Jeff Tiedrich and smirkingchimp.com, and progressive publicists such as Ilene Proctor, who is a force you want on your side.
Add these powers to mydd, Daily Kos, moveon, digby and other conviction-politics centers and the power of the movement comes into focus.
There is no cable news show on earth that has the power to build an audience as large as these forces, when they converge.
These sources are as essential as Matt Drudge for those who want to know what will be in the news tomorrow, what will happen in 2008.
Predictions: Stephanie Miller will be the next cable star combining progressive Internet with talk radio. Ed Schultz will surpass Rush in every major market. Air America will stage a major comeback. Rupert Murdoch will have to make the biggest decision of his political television career (that’s my teaser for next week).
If you doubt this, look at the ratings for Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Keith Olbermann. Or ask George Allen and Rick Santorum.