Update on Freedom’s March

It’s been called “the defining struggle of our time” by the rootin’-tootin’est vice president this country has ever had. Faced with criticism over his policies, or doubt concerning progress in the so-called War on Terror, our least-popular president ever invariably fends off nattering nabobs of negativism with one of his own favorite mantras: “freedom’s on the march.”

In this, the season of gratitude, as we prepare to “celebrate” a holiday conceived in the spirit of thanks for the bounties of Providence, why not check-in on freedom’s march, and try to gauge its progress toward Valhalla?

Let us look first toward Iraq, where our self-appointed defenders of Freedom chose to stage ground zero in the death-match between Good and Evil.

With two months remaining in the year, 2007 is officially the deadliest yet of the post-Saddam era, for both Iraq’s American liberators and her hapless civilian beneficiaries.

The American Commander-in-Chief greeted that news yesterday with this comment: “If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you’d be saying, god, I love freedom — because that’s what’s happened.”

It’s a wonder his nickname isn’t Sunny Jim, isn’t it? Because here’s also what’s happened:

Freedom may be on the march in Iraq, but, by any non-partisan, objective measure, it’s (as former SecDef D-Master Rumdog once put it) “a long, hard, slog.”

Believe it or not, however, Freedom’s actually busting out all over.

Last we checked, thousands of Buddhist monks in Burma, along with tens of thousands of their regular-old Buddhist civilian supporters were getting fired upon and killed by the military regime in that hotbed of Freedom.

Despite stern admonishments and a few symbolic financial constraints issued by Freedom’s resolute defenders in the wake of Burma’s repression-by-murder, the thirst for Freedom of her teeming masses, yearning to be free, remains largely unslaked in that much-abused land.

And yet, one cannot fail to find small, shining buds of Freedom sprouting on a darkened landscape.

In October, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned from self-imposed exile to Pakistan, heralding her Freedom-loving former people’s very own Prague Spring, which may or may not be destined for fame as a Karachi Fall.

Don President Generalissimo Pervez Musharraf responded to Bhutto’s return and Freedom’s faint Hallelujah Chorus in his land by declaring martial law, and by suspending the “free and fair” elections scheduled for January 15, moves to which U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice registered her immediate disappointment.

President Bush rallied Freedom’s troops to the skittish Mr. Musharraf’s offices with a message that elections must proceed as planned, and told a U.S. press conference his “plain and clear message” to Mr. Musharraf was that a Free Leader “can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time.”

Please let that sink in a moment.

Mr. Musharraf was understandably nonplussed, and saw no reason not to tentatively push a more limited election scenario back to the middle of February.

On the plus side, Ms. Bhutto lives!

Here at home, in Freedom’s very bosom, where God’s protective covering has long enabled degrees of choice and opportunity unheard of in many places, privately-owned telecommunications companies are about to be retroactively exonerated from criminal sanctions for violating the privacy of their subscribers; official papers with embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are being issued to every freedom-loving one of us; and the Congress just sent a $451 Billion defense appropriations bill to the president’s desk.

Funding for the War on Terror, the “defining struggle of our times,” is not included in that figure.

And so.

There’s Marching. And there’s Freedom.

The funny thing is, or maybe not so, Mr. Bush and his Freedom Fighters have it wrong. Freedom does not march. Freedom be.

Free people will march, don’t get me wrong. And oppressed people will march, too. Some of them will march until they are free.

But I have said before, and I maintain still, Freedom will not be imposed. It must be claimed.

I see people worldwide trying to claim freedom, yearning to be free, without embrace or refuge or support from we who claim to tend Freedom’s flame. I see diminishing freedoms here at home abandoned without so much as a “fare ye well.”

And so, after nearly a full seven years of what I consider the unparalleled incompetence, corruption, mendacity, and congenital wrongness of the Bush administration, from here, Freedom seems in Full Retreat.

But it doesn’t faze me, because I know I live in Opposite World.


  1. George Powell - November 9, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    “Congenital wrongness.” Great language to describe the Bush Mal-administration and all its festering putridness. That anyone still buys into anything this deranged incompetent is peddling is beyond belief, but DiFi gives the newly-confirmed AG a pass on waterboarding, and Pelosi gives the not-my-president a pass on “free” trade with Peru. Bush has a definite Orwellian turn to his definitions of free and freedom. You do us all a great service with your continuing commentary in favor of reason, freedom and fairness.

  2. KC - November 9, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

    Beautifully written once again…it’s so pathetic that they can say whatever they think we want to hear no matter what the reality is…they make me so sick…and speaking of sick, we watched Sicko last night…what a powerful movie…it needs to be seen by everyone.

    Michael made Hillary look good and then she took over $800K from the health industry…she’s corrupt too I guess.

    I do love the idea of socialized medicine or what Canada, London or France does for their people. Is that ever possible for the USA? Hope so!

  3. lonbud - November 9, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    George and KC both raise, in slightly different ways, an important issue, which is: what will American democracy look like in a post-George Bush world?

    Clearly both the Senate and the House of Representatives, despite being nominally controlled by the Democratic party, are failing to legislate in accordance with Americans’ stated opinions and desires.

    For a good consideration of the Democrats’ current failures, see today’s Glenn Greenwald piece on the Senate’s “60 vote requirement” in Salon.

    I have also previously alluded to my disappointment in Nancy Pelosi’s leadership on a host of issues in the House, where I am afraid we are in for years of bitter division and rancor.

    It’s way too early to start predicting the outcome of the Presidential election, but I daresay, for example, we are no closer as a nation to embracing single payer health care today than we were when Hillary Clinton was First Lady.

    There is simply too much money involved. Until we discount the value and effect of money in the process of crafting public policy, it seems like we’re in for not much more than a lot of rearranging peas on the plate.

  4. Tam O’Tellico - November 13, 2007 @ 4:55 pm

    It begins to look more and more likely that “freedom” will be on the march again soon. Bush and Cheney seem hell-bent to expand their crusade into Iran before they leave office, and it isn’t likely that the nattering nabobs in Congress or the quiescent corporate-press-corp will do much to stop them.

    But as I postulated in this forum years ago, there is one group that might halt this descent into madness: the military. And now that the misunderestimation and ineptitude of this administration have decimated the capabilities of our fighting forces, that appears to be a somewhat more likely scenario.

    Don’t expect any Seven Days in May coup attempt; it is likely to be passive resistance against the chickenhawks, stalling while talking the problem to death. Should that fail, however, there are those in charge of the military who understand the consequences of a war with Iran far better than do the chickenhawks, and their resistance may take more overt forms. Certainly, Admiral Fallon has made it plain that “hell no, we won’t go” on his watch.

    Of course, Fallon could be Shinsekied, and some military version of Alberto Gonzales put in his place. On the other hand, it may be that ambitious younger generals will be reluctant to run that risk — sucking up to this administration is likely to be the kiss of death for their careers with the next administration.

    We can all pray that at long last Bush and Cheney have run out of fools.

    More on the subject here: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20071112_at_the_mercy_of_our_military/

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