I really don’t feel one way or the other about Edward Snowden. Seems like he’s a guy who wound up in a place that he was going to have to either say something or bail on his personal beliefs, and he chose to say something. It doesn’t hurt that he’s young and filled with more righteous fervor and intolerance for injustice than a hundred thousand old farts in front of their TV sets. As C.S. Lewis famously observed, “the young, being innocent, want justice. The old, being wicked, want forgiveness.”
So here’s Snowden, and oh boy, have I heard an earful about his ee-vile ways. “Nightmare”. “Spy”. “Narcissistic criminal”. “A bad guy” (thanks to Mensa member Donald Trump for this astute observation). “Business punisher”. And so on.
Well, let’s see. The government engages in a surveillance program that is to all appearances in direct contravention to the Constitutional right to privacy. This Snowden character blows the whistle. And for some reason, this equates the end of America.
1) America is doing fine so far as you ignore that stupid “shining city upon the hill” crap that Reagan popularized. Remember, the phrase “American exceptionalism” was coined by Papa Joe Stalin himself. There’s work to do, sure – but generally, I’d say most people (aside from elected officials) tend to be reasonable and sensible. Example: virtually everybody in America, excepting a tiny, noisy anti-choicer coterie, would prefer to keep Roe vs. Wade intact, and have abortion remain a PERSONAL decision. But then we have elected crazy people who keep cluttering up the statistical national preference with their own agendas. This is NOT supposed to happen.
2) American politicians lie to Americans so routinely that it is almost anticlimactic. Let’s see: Korean war? Built on pure bullshit: the infamous “domino theory”: if one country goes Commie, then the next one does too, and so on down the line. Unlike evolution, the domino theory was a concept that had zero supporting evidence from any quarter whatsoever, yet was bought into wholeheartedly by paranoid citizens afraid that Communism was going to invade at any moment. (The similarity to current righties who say “Muslims are massing at the border getting ready to firebomb your Safeway” is clear. Scramble-headed paranoia knows no time period.)
Then there was Viet Nam. Remember the horror of the Gulf of Tonkin incident? In short, an American destroyer fired on Vietnamese patrol boats (280 artillery shells’ worth), and then blamed the Vietnamese for firing on them first. Then they made up a second incident in the same area where supposedly Americans were attacked AGAIN.
Except they weren’t. No attack.
And this supposedly happened 28 MILES from the North Vietnamese coast. That’s not very far – I can picture the American reaction if there were Chinese destroyers patrolling 28 miles off the coast of California shooting artillery at the Coast Guard. There would be hell to pay.
So, basically, the entire Viet Nam War was built on a cast-iron LIE.
Let’s come a little closer to home. I was riding in a car with a pal of mine up by Sandpoint, North Idaho, and Ruby Ridge was pointed out to me. Remember the Weavers, the ATF, the military sniper, etc? People died, and a giant government finger-pointing moment arrived. Not everything was lies on the government side, but a lot of it was. To the point where the then-FBI Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson wrote a memo:
Something to Consider
1. Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.
2. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.
3. Vicki has no charges against her.
4. Weaver’s defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was
barking at. Some guys in (camouflage) shot his dog.
Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the
shooting [of Degan]. He [Weaver] is in pretty strong legal position.”
Read up on it: you can check it out yourself. The feds lied their asses off about the whole thing. While you’re at it, check out the Wounded Knee episode from the 70’s. And Waco. And Grenada. And Arms for Hostages. And Iraq (yellowcake uranium and WMDs, anyone?). Valerie Plame.
So here’s my problem. I would LIKE to believe what the FBI and the CIA tells me, but I would be a flaming idiot if I did. They kind of compromised their credibility too many times already. If anybody is relying on those agencies to give them the straight scoop on anything besides the price of lettuce, I would have to question their conclusions. So when some moronic partisan legislator gets all puffed up by having access to “special information”, it causes me to laugh sadly. After all, these are also the guys who see comedy segments from the Onion and report them back to their constituents as fact.
Oh, the humanity. The lying, self-serving, self-preserving, self-stroking bureaucracies that we allow to guide our nation.
Lesson: Don’t be suckered by this Snowden crapstorm. He’s just a guy, doing something because he thought he should. No agenda. No special goal. It is what it is. And if we ever do get Snowden’s story, it won’t be through torture, waterboarding, or murdering his family in questionable “accidents”. It will be because HE spills it.
I am willing to wait.