James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Oops. Missed the obvious

This is one of those slap-the-forehead, "What was I thinking?" moments.

In the piece immediately below this, about a peculiar story in the press, I say I don’t know why the Bush people and its military servants have suddenly created a stink about a (very possibly fictional) alliance between Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the supposed terrorist leader who reportedly is beheading hostages in Iraq, although he may not be in Iraq, probably is not in Fallujah and may even be dead. (Those qualifications will be clear if you read the original essay below.)


The U.S. government has announced plans for a major assault on Fallujah. It is trying to get the Brits to move a substantial number of troops into Baghdad so U.S. soldiers there can be moved out to take part in the Fallujah offensive.

Many civilians are going to be killed and maimed in that assault. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the elderly, women, children are going to die and lose limbs, eyes, organs; they’re going to be burned and blown up and shot. The Bushies need a better excuse for the slaughter than they have now, which essentially is that they’re frustrated that Fallujah is so totally beyond their control.

Also, of course, major military action stirs the juices of the unquestioning "patriotic" faithful who never saw a war they couldn’t love, but that leaves a lot of people out.

On the other hand, Americans have long shown themselves quite willing to support the wholesale slaughter of civilians if it is in the name of killing or capturing some barely human monster, so our leaders have become expert at creating monster images. Zarqawi obviously is the latest addition to the list of such demons. Think Manuel Noriega, think Salvador Allende, etc., etc. Hell, think Saddam Hussein, who was a sadistic dictator but no sort of threat to us.

Isn’t it amazing that the very press that apologized for unquestioningly taking the Bush crowd’s word for the situation that led to the invasion of Iraq is taking the same crowd’s word for the so-called alliance between bin Laden and a guy who may not even exist?

For months I’ve been writing now and then about the coming electoral Fraud-for-Bush. The perpetrators, including the Republican National Committee and brother Jeb Bush already have been caught outright, and more than once, in out-and-out felonious fraud. (Not that prosecution is likely.)

Now a newspaper columnist here and there is picking up on the reality. On Oct. 15, for example, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman cited some examples of the crimes and noted that there is "a pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.’

However, our cowering press has yet to produce a news story tying together the rapidly multiplying frauds and it has failed to put any of the stories on individual crimes where they belong – on the front page of every newspaper in the country. It ain’t going to happen, either.

Know why?

Because the right screams about "unfairness" and "bias" whenever a factual article baring Republican candidate and organizational malfeasance appears. Though they’ve long held the upper hand over news organizations, through use of such intimidation and money, they continue to cry victim and get away with it. And the Democrats fall far short of balancing the GOP screaming act with one of their own. Too polite, doncha know?

Reporters and editors fairly wet their pants in fear of Republican onslaughts and avoid doing their jobs. Somehow, the current crop of "news" people were absent when courage was handed out. We oldtimers are ashamed of and for them.

They might do election fraud articles if Democrats also were shown to be involved in wholesale fraud, but as Krugman pointed out, there is no evidence, not even any hints, of that being the case.

Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Kim Ode made and wrote about a discovery that also should be, but isn’t, on news broadcasts and news pages all over the country.

What she learned is that the "No Child Left Behind Act" contains an unpublicized feature to help the military recruit in public schools.

You know the act. Bush pushed it through, making the federal government (remember states rights?) the arbiter of what schools all over the country must teach, and what tests they must use. Then he deliberately failed to provide promised funds to make compliance possible, although he still is campaigning on how wonderful it is.

What Ode discovered is that a provision of the act requires all secondary schools to, as she said, "serve as vast databases to provide military recruiters with our kids’ names, addresses and phone numbers or risk losing federal funding."

Before passage of the act, individual schools could decide whether or not to let military recruiters on campus and could refuse to provide "directory information" to anyone not connected with the school. Some schools refused, usually because parents wanted them to refuse. Do that now, and federal aid can be withheld.

Parents can request, individually, that their children’s names not be released without parental consent, Ode said, but that takes filling out a form that is presented, if it at all, along with all the other forms, brochures and such at the beginning of a school year.

As far as I can discover, the form actually doesn’t have to be provided unless requested, and so undoubtedly is absent from the info packages in many districts. There doesn’t have to be anything but a mention of the right to withhold permission. And, in fact, the mention doesn’t even have to refer to the military – simply that if parents request it, information on their offspring will not be given to people or organizations outside the school system.

It’s a sure bet most parents will fail to see and/or understand what’s going on.