Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Was It All Planned In Advance?

Do you ever wonder whether it was all planned in advance?

Think back to the summer of 2001, when Bush had been in office only a few months. I know it's tough to remember -- it was a whole four years ago! And a long four years they have been. But try to remember the last pre-9/11 spring and summer.

Every week or so, there was a story in the news about how Bush was giving the middle-finger salute to the world. Whether it was about international shipment of handguns, climate change, AIDS and pharmaceuticals, genetically modified seed, or literally anything else, whenever the rest of the world wanted American cooperation on anything, Bush said "No!"

And even though administration spokesmen said "No" to everything, they were especially vehement when it came to the World Court, a new international court in The Hague empowered to prosecute war crimes. At the time we were told that the USA could never support such a court because it could be used by enemies of America to prosecute Americans "for political reasons".

And I actually used to think about that. I didn't spend much time on "How stupid do they think we are?", even though this was one of the first questions that came to mind -- hard on the heels of "What do they mean by political reasons?" and "Aren't all wars fought for political reasons?" and "What could be apolitical about war crimes?"

But these questions seemed largely rhetorical and were quickly dismissed. Instead I wondered "What are they planning?"

America wasn't at war back then. "911" was the number you dialed in the event of an emergency: it had no terrorist connotation. Not yet, anyway. It may be difficult to remember, but if you are having trouble recalling that summer, you really can take my word for it: we were fat and happy, spending our free time e-mailing jokes about how stupid the new president was and how ridiculous the system had looked in 'electing' him. What the heck did we know?

Look at us now, just four years later. We've got unimaginable trouble at home and unspeakable horror abroad. And the mainstream media [which was already weak four years ago] is now so frail that it cannot stand to show us any of it. Network television is utterly disconnected from reality, and the American government continues to move in a very unhealthy direction, at record speed. How could this have happened?

If it was all planned in advance, then the hinge was 9/11.

And guess what? 9/11 was the hinge, even if it wasn't all planned in advance.

But ... do you ever wonder how that single hinge could allow everything to swing so far so quickly -- unless it was all planned in advance?

Does it ever seem to you that our present situation -- and the future it entails -- makes much more sense if it was all planned in advance, than if it wasn't?

Not to put too broad a point on it, but I see it this way: If I were planning to start an endless war against the rest of the world ... If my plans included widespread use of depleted uranium ... If I were itching to violate the Geneva Accords with respect to torture and confinement ... If I were thinking I might enjoy devastating entire cities ... well ... I wouldn't want to be bound by any court with the power to prosecute me for War Crimes.

Oh no, I wouldn't want that if it were me. Would you? I doubt it.

None of this proves that it was all planned in advance. None of this proves anything, of course.

And, in fact, if you read me very carefully, you will notice that I have never said it was all planned in advance.

I only asked whether you ever wonder.

That's all.

Me? Yeah, I wonder.

I wonder about a lot of things.