by RIP RENSE
Tale of two e-mails. . .
(April 3, 2003)
It was the best of e-mail, it was the worst of
e-mail. . .
"It might please you to know
that you may have converted a registered Republican."
The first e-mail was from one "Lisa,"
who announced that reading The Rip Post had changed her mind about the Bush
Shocked and awed? Yup. But Pleased? No.
I was not pleased merely because Lisa's point
of view resembled mine (plus, by conservative poll estimates, at least 90 million other
I was thrilled, though, that she kept
her mind open enough to consider "other" information.
This is no easy task when faced with the
onslaught of jingoistic, go-team reporting from what Gore Vidal calls 19th
Century Fox, and other major TV networks.
This is no easy task when faced with the
onslaught of fist-pounding by the Limbaugh/O' Reilly/Savage/Hannity Ministry of
This is no easy task when faced with all-hate,
all-the-time radio---where "shock jocks" madly call for killing peace
demonstrators. (Why aren't they prosecuted by Attorney General John Ashcroft for making
This is no easy task when
"Christian" TV preachers rage about protesters doing "Satan's work,"
and how God carried a rifle right alongside Uncle Sam in every war.
If Lisa had read Riposte---and the
many articles carried on the Daily Newslinks page---and still
remained steadfast in her beliefs, that would have been fine.
At least she would have absorbed
information not being presented by the networks.
At least she would have considered
viewpoints contrary to Limbaugh/O'Reilly/Savage/Hannity.
"Actually," she wrote, "I've
never used (being a registered Republican) as an excuse to turn off my brain--- unlike
many of both major parties---and there has just always been something about Bush and his
administration that just didn't quite add up for me . . . Intuitively I have felt
something was off. Your articles are certainly food for thought, and seem to be exactly
the 'missing piece' in my own logic process."
Many U.S. citizens would probably
like to try Lisa for treason. They don't want to question anymore. This is understandable,
given that the USA was pummelled on 9/11, and the populace has been a steady recipient of
government-induced, color-coded fear. As a result, many people can't---and don't want
to---see beyond the idea that attacking Iraq is "payback." Saddam is an
evildoer---end of story. Everything is black and white---or rather,
red-white-and-blue. Gray areas are for wusses, "peaceniks." This is John Wayne
"we're the good guys" time! What is our oil doing under the Arab
desert? Bush said it---I believe it---That settles it!
This is the company line.
Anybody who buys any company line
anywhere, anytime. . .is being bought. The price: thinking.
With the threat of world war greater than at any time
since WWII, this is hardly the time to stop thinking.
I wish Jack could understand that. He's the
reader---and longtime fan---who sent e-mail # 2, "cancelling his subscription"
to The Rip Post. Jack went down in e-flames, railing about "yellow journalism,"
and how the site "used to be eminently readable" but now merely provokes
To quote Jack Benny, "well!"
I explained to Jack that "yellow
journalism" means making up news in order to further an agenda, and that has
never happened here; that Riposte is a statement of opinion, like any column, and
the Daily Newslinks come from reputable print media---from the New York Times to
Associated Press. The old eminently readable saw? The quality of writing here is
the same as always, take it or leave it. As for "visceral" response,
that problem is in Jack's viscera, not mine.
But why , I asked, hadn't Jack just admitted
that he "cancelled" because he didn't like the opinions or the choice of news?
(To his credit, he apologized and confessed this was true.) Well, here's why: Jack
is one of many---perhaps the majority---who have stopped thinking. Whose brain has been
Savaged, Rushed to judgement, O'riled up, Hannitized. Limbaugh lower, now. . .
I'd like to introduce Jack to
Lisa, and let them debate. Here are a few random questions to get them started:
Is the U.S. in Iraq to
"liberate" the Iraqi people from a dictator? If so, why are we doing this all of
a sudden, right now?
Why did we not do this during the
first Gulf War, when President Bush the First exhorted the Shiites and Kurds to rise up
against Saddam, only to abandon them to hideous slaughter?
Why did we not "liberate" five years
ago, or two years ago, or twenty years ago?
Why did Donald Rumsfeld, while in
the Reagan administration, spend years attempting to broker a deal with Saddam for a new
oil pipeline---knowing all the while that Saddam was killing Kurds with chemical weapons?
Doesn't this fly in the face of Rumsfeld's claim that the Iraq attack has "nothing to
do" with oil?
Why did the U.S.---and
Britain---sell those same chemical weapons to Saddam during the 80's, when Iraq was
Why did the U.S. and Britain sell Saddam the
weapons of mass destruction that are now the purported reason for attacking the country?
Why did Dick Cheney, while head of Halliburton
in the late 90's, preside over the sale of oil infrastructure to Saddam, while claiming he
Why, if finding weapons of mass destruction was
our priority, did we not first attack Syria, or Libya, or Iran, which reportedly have
equal or greater bio-chem stashes?
Why, since Saddam's nuclear program is
stalled, did we not first attack Iran, whose nuclear program is far more advanced?
Why did we not first attack North Korea, which
is now revving up an A-bomb assembly line and has threatened to fire nuke-tipped missiles
Why on earth we attacking anyone? Didn't Bush
run on the claim that we can't be the world's policemen?
Why did we train and equip Osama bin-Laden and
Al-Qaeda, when they were fighting our proxy war with the former Soviet Union in
Why did we desert them after that war, instead
of stabilizing the country, as promised?
Why were the few planes allowed aloft on
9/11 dispatched by the government to pick up the bin-Laden family in the U.S., and fly it
to safe haven?
Why did the president try to link Osama to
Saddam in order to foment support for the Iraq attack, when the invasion was planned long
before he was elected by members of the Project for a New
American Century, a group that includes vice-president Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld,
Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Richard Perle?
Why is the Project for a New American Century
almost never mentioned by mainstream media?
Why do the PNAC organizers believe that it is
the duty of the U.S. to force---under threat of death---the rest of the world to become
Why would any country threatened with death by
a superpower not respond with terrorism and war?
If we are so intent on toppling murderous
dictators, why have we done nothing about African tyrants who have slaughtered many more
than Saddam Hussein?
Why are we allowing energy companies to do
business with some of these same tyrants?
Why does Bush want to build lots of
"mini-nukes" when we can already destroy the world many times over?
Why are there "Bible study" groups in
the White House?
Why is the administration largely
comprised of former oil and energy company executives?
There are so many more questions to ask, but
all the Jacks out there don't want to hear them, let alone try to find answers. That would
require abandoning the righteous "good guys" feeling that is so pleasant, and
considering that maybe things aren't as they seem.
That would require doing something that Lisa
did. Something that made her withdraw her support for the Bush administration.
Something called independent thinking.
COPYRIGHT Rip Rense 2003