I know most people are sick of hearing about the election, including yours truly. But I cannot ignore the history that is being made. The first black president will be stepping into office in a couple of months. I am both excited and frightened. He has a grace about him, a certain composure, that is very admirable. He will have his downfalls, no doubt. He will get into trouble. But I won't be ashamed to call him my president. He won't create words or fall asleep at dinners or act like an arrogant cowboy. I also am scared for his safety. Being compared to Robert or John Kennedy is indeed a great compliment. But those revolutionary men met opposition in the worst way. I pray that this man is given a chance to change things, to move things around. I believe that he can.
That being said, it's time to hit the history books. I haven't updated in a while because I forgot my password and I hadn't been reading much history. I was going to do an entry on the Miracle at Dunkirk and on Winston Churchill, but, again, I lost my password and didn't feel much like writing.
I started a new book on biological weapons called GERMS by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad. That first name sounded familiar to me. She was the New York Times reporter who had helped the American public buy into war with Iraq. I listened to a book about a year ago called HUBRIS, which focused on the Bush administration's selling of the Iraq war. She took the faulty information Cheney and his cronies had and published it in articles. So, I went into this book a little wary of the things she said.
The idea of biological weapons themselves are not entirely too interesting. You get some germs. You get some viruses. Put 'em in bombs. People die. But the history is interesting. The book begins with the first terrorist attack with biological weapons. A religious cult in Oregan sprinkled Salmonella on salad bars. Pretty brilliant. Their thinking was that if they could get a certain amount of voters sick, that they wouldn't vote and the cult could get their candidates into office. It didn't make a ton of sense. But what cults do?
The part that especially sparked my interest is the Gulf War. Remember George H. W. Bush was in office at this point (1989-1993). Biological weapons weren't being manufactured for use for this war, at least not on our side. Nixon had banned them in the 70's. Instead, the United States wanted to prepare for an attack, in case Saddam got ballsy. The government wanted to protect the military, as well as Saudi civilians and soldiers from a possible attack (We operated out of Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War).
Evidence suggested that Saddam could very well have had biological weapons. The University of Baghdad had bought a pretty sizeable order of anthrax from our American germ bank. There had been reports of this and that, but no hard evidence. Sound familiar? What really caught my eye (or rather, my ear), was the list of names involved in this that I've come to know and fear. Secretary of Defense at this point was none other than Dick Cheney. Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was Colin Powell. And guess who was in the Pentagon with Cheney? Our old friends Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby. The government even hired a woman to figure out a good method of defense from a biological attack. Her name is Condoleezza Rice.
Shouldn't we have seen this coming? Anyone over the age of thirty should have put the pieces together. Every single one of these men and women were somehow involved in the Persian Gulf War. They were there in Iraq, but couldn't pin Saddam. So what do they do? They sit pretty for eight long Clinton years until the can re-emerge and take care of business. Is it coincidence that they all showed up on George W. Bush's cabinet? Maybe he just made good friends with them while his daddy was in office. The moment we saw him gather this group of hard hitters, we should have known what was coming. All they needed was a good reason (September 11) to get their claws back into Iraq and finish the job.
I'm not saying that our goverment was responsible for the attacks on 9/11. But if fit their needs perfectly. I am not a Bush hater. I am embarrased by his attitude, yes. And as an American, I think he and his posse should be tried for crimes against humanity. For lying to the American people. So many laws were broken, as I'm sure they are broken by every president. In this case, at least, he should be held accountable for his actions.
So, here's to a new president. May he be wiser and more just than our last. I know he will make mistakes, and he will make decisions that will upset us all because that's what presidents do. I look back on Bush's years and shake my head and wonder how the hell we got into this mess. But no matter what happens, whether we succeed and change or crash and burn, I will look back on Barack Obama's presidency and say, "Man, at least we tried." And I will be glad that we took that step.