As Freud once said, “Sometimes an idea is just an idea.” (That would be Fred Freud, my neighbor.)
My plan to inspire one million pissed-off Americans (the “madder’n hells”) to descend upon the U.S. Capitol on September 26, demand Congress hold hearings on the Downing Street Memos (DSM), and then attend said hearings while re-swarming the building daily, has met an early demise.
‘Tis sad, but true: the madder’n hells are deader’n hell.
The DSM, of course, are the leaked highly classified British government documents that show, for those Americans for whom critical thinking skills are an esoteric concept, the Bushies clearly were fixated from the get-go on “regime change” in Iraq and determined to invade Iraq whether it deserved it or not. (Not.)
In the official obituary I e-mailed to the small but passionate group of madder’n hells who registered on our short-lived website, I noted it was becoming increasingly apparent we were going to land a bit south of the million mark, a point driven home by an e-mail I received from VoteToImpeach.org. While announcing they’d secured permits for demonstrating outside the White House on Saturday, September 24, to demand Dubya’s hard-earned impeachment (finally: something he’s actually worked for), this well-coordinated organization predicted their event would attract “tens of thousands.”
The madder’n hells “organization”? Well, there was Lois (the webmistress)…and myself. Not only that, but my coordination has always been a little suspect. (I can’t speak for Lois’s, although her patience is apparently limitless, judging by the way she electronically handheld me through the website-building process from her home in Oregon.)
When the plug was pulled on the madder’n hells, we had eleven “swarmers” and three supporters. (And I thank each and every one of them for their belief in the dream.) Some may say I drained the tub too soon, but I’ve always been told the last 999,989 are the hardest to get.
The whole experience, though, besides introducing me to some of the finest folks I could ever hope to meet, has certainly given me a greater respect for the importance of organizing.
I’ve also acquired a fresh appreciation for the value of sanity. Especially mine. I’d bitten off far more than I could chew with my attempt to rouse one million people and consequently got a little, well, um, crazy, for lack of a better term. (Like “maniacal.”) I knew I was wigging out when I found myself sleeping in the closet. (Though I didn’t literally find myself in the closet, of course, because this would have meant there were two of me, which would have wigged me out even more. Or both of us, most likely.)
OK, so enough about me (ha!; as if that could happen). The late madder’n hells’ driving purpose was to bring as much public attention as possible to the thoroughly damning DSM, pressure Congress into shining the light of day on them, and then stick around D.C. en masse to make sure the fascist Rethuglicans and gutless Democrats held bona fide hearings. Though the madder’n hells may have gone to Discarded Movements Land, the memos are still very much existent and it remains imperative to push for their maximum exposure.
The red-hot story of late, of course, is Rovegate, which, after percolating for years on the ‘Net, the whoreporate media has at last deemed reportable. Without a doubt, Karl Rove’s despicable outing of a CIA agent is definitely front-page stuff, but there are still other column inches available below the masthead. Turd Blossom’s treachery and the DSM are not mutually exclusive bombshells.
I will admit, it has been wildly and weirdly entertaining watching Snotty McClellan’s arrogant ass getting mercilessly spanked by the White House press corps. Or, rather, by whoever those folks are who’ve suddenly and unrelentingly begun asking pointed and intelligent questions, since it sure can’t be the same bunch of cowed and wowed “reporters” who’ve sat, zombie-like, in that same room the last four years. Maybe the post office accidentally delivered a package of real journalists to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue rather than to its intended destination like, say, Great Britain. Or perhaps the original White House snoozies, er, newsies, were kidnapped and are now being held for ransom. Regardless, from wherever these new, doggedly inquisitive notepad toters hail, I hope they stick around for a while; I like ‘em. (Note to kidnapers: I wouldn’t spend my money just yet.)
But just as we in cyberspace did not let the Rove/Valerie Plame story die, we must also, all of us, be diligent about keeping the heat on regarding the DSM. To better facilitate this, I would suggest taking some time to better acquaint yourself with the documents, if you’ve not done so already. Get to know them. Maybe take one out to lunch. You will soon discover each has a distinguishable personality all its own; you know, very much like a cat or quite unlike, say, Senator Bill Frist (F-TN).*
There are (so far) eight of these documents collectively known as the DSM; we’ll take time today to focus on the one dated March 14, 2002.
Often called the “Mildly Amusing Downing Street Memo” or MADSM (well, often called that by me, here, alone, in my apartment; maybe I should get a fish), it was penned by United Kingdom Foreign Policy Advisor David Manning for Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Written just prior to Blair taking off to spend some time down at the ol’ Crawford, Texas, ranch with Dubya, Manning offers the PM some tips on how to best communicate with our swervin’ cowboy. (“Unlearn English” is not one of them.) Manning’s got a pretty breezy style goin’ on, especially given the communiqué’s topic, and refers to then-National Security Liar, er, Advisor Condosleaza Rica, with whom he’d just “spent a long time at dinner on Iraq,” as “Condi.” It’s all, like, “Condi” this, and “Condi” that. He almost sounds a bit smitten by Ms. War Kitten, but this really isn’t surprising since it’s a sick-but-true fact that, among certain types, mutually cooking up phony reasons to engage in rampant blood-letting can get the blood pumping like you bloody wouldn’t believe.
Manning also informs Blair:
“From what [Rice] said, Bush has yet to find the answers to the big questions:
* how to persuade international opinion that military action against Iraq is necessary and justified;
* what value to put on the exiled Iraqi opposition;
(I may have made that last one up.)
Manning follows this by telling the PM: “Bush will want to pick your brains,” which brings us to the audience participation segment of today’s column. Please, dear readers, provide your own joke here so I don’t have to choose from about a zillion different possibilities.
In an I-feel-the-pain-of-the-insane moment, the UK Foreign Policy Advisor writes that Bush “is still smarting from the comments by other European leaders on his Iraq policy.” Quite touching, don’t you think, knowing that Bush can criminally plan the invasion of a defenseless, fourth-rate nation that results in the slaughter of 100,000 innocents and yet still retain a sensitive side?
What a man. It’s almost enough to make me want to throw, I mean, tear up.
Manning also opines: “I think there is a real risk that the Administration underestimates the difficulties. They may agree that failure isn’t an option, but this does not mean they will avoid it.”
I’d go so far as to proffer that any basket of nutcases throughout history that has attempted to militarily take over the world has “underestimate[d] the difficulties.” (For more on topical imperialistic insanity, see the Project for the New American Century’s September 2000 report “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”) Even the cavalier Manning recognizes the Bushies’ OIF (“obvious incompetence factor”) when he acknowledges the distinct possibility of their immoral scheme coming a cropper. (That’s one of the annoying things about committing war crimes: failure’s always lurking, just waiting to muck things up.)
Manning’s NSADSMAA (“Not So Amusing Downing Street Memo After All”; I changed my mind after conferring with myself), as do the other seven DSM, shows conclusively what millions of us who repeatedly took to the streets protesting the war declared as loudly and often as we could: that the plan to attack Iraq was an unconscionable sham from the very start.
We must pressure Congress to hold legitimate hearings on the DSM. We need the public to hear why, for instance, Manning tells Rice that the pursuit of “regime change” “must be very carefully done” because really, if facts had shown that war was the only option, what was there to be “very careful” about? It surely couldn’t be because such evidence didn’t exist, could it?
Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and other congressional members are holding DSM Town Hall Meetings in various cities on Saturday, July 23. Click here for more info. DSM house parties will also be held throughout America the same day; for the location nearest you, click here. I urge everyone to participate.
I still believe that one million seething Americans surrounding the U.S. Capitol for days on end could be, shall we say, fairly persuasive. My brief experience with trying to spearhead such a mass convergence has led me to conclude such a gathering is most likely to come about in one of two ways: either it is sponsored by a well-oiled, well-heeled organizational machine, or something happens that causes hundreds of thousands of fed-up people to spontaneously swarm a seat of power.
But however such an assembly occurred, this is certain: it would change the country forever, an idea I think even Freud could get behind (that would be Sigmund -- if he were still alive, of course).
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org and more of his writings can be found (and read, even!) at: www.markdrolette.com/. Copyright © Mark Drolette 2005. All rights reserved.
* “F” = “fascist.”
Other Articles by Mark Drolette *
March/Swarm of the Madder’n Hells, Part II
Other Articles by Mark Drolette
March/Swarm of the Madder’n Hells, Part II