Wednesday, July 15, 2009

American Assassinations, Inc

Two Pieces of Sophomoric Advice and Consent

Recently there have been stories about a secret assassination program being run, allegedly, by former Vice President Dick Cheney. One example can be found here: Lawmaker won't deny CIA program was Cheney assassin ring.

It brings back memories about a column written at The University of Montana's Kaimin newspaper, by journalism student, Jacob Baynham. Most of his opinion piece was rather benign, but his final sentence boiled my blood. "It can be messy to try to remove brutal dictators, but sometimes it is the only just option." His piece can be found here: The Picture Beyond the Frame: Bread, brutes and the sanctity of an international border

The following is what I wrote as a letter-to-the-editor for the Kaimin:

Brother Baynham’s final statement in Wednesday’s Kaimin is bold, decisive and profound, “It can be messy to try to remove brutal dictators, but sometimes it is the only just option.” It demonstrates how short sighted the Founding Fathers were when they didn’t create a cabinet-level Department of Assassination of Brutal Dictators. To be a just country we must push for that department.

The best choice for secretary of the department would be a decider—someone who is bold and decisive. Brother Baynham has those qualities, but since George W. Bush is already “The Decider,” Baynham would have to be “The Decider’s Apprentice.” In that position, Brother Baynham would be able to use his pen to tell others to use their swords.

This is great! Although Brother Baynham is probably too young to remember, it brings back those heady days of the 1970s and 1980s, when death squads roamed Africa, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. They weren’t afraid to limit assassinations only to brutal dictators. If the words of priests and nuns got in the way of political expediency, they were cut down. If a newspaper worker sharpened his pen without engaging his brain, he was removed.

Assassination is a dirty business, but sometimes it is the only just business. The problem is it addresses only the product of the product. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, when one is removed, it becomes two, two become four, four become eight. . .

What is more profound is that the lead in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was Mickey Mouse, not a decider.

As I read the articles about Cheney and recalled the words of a college student, I find myself wondering who was more sophomoric? Thirty years after Frank Church lead a democratic change that brought transparency to black ops, we are revisiting the situation. It's possible that we have already gone where Church warned us not to go:
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge... I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
Compare to Solzhenitsyn's words here: Two Terrorisms

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