Friday, September 9, 2016

Context and Perspective

The continued focus on Hillary Clinton’s email, distracts serious national debate on matters of far greater national importance. It has becomes a drumbeat of conspiracy fired by innuendo and rumor, ignoring public discussion already costing in the millions of dollars and thousands of Congressional hours, without indictment, arrest or arraignment.  It has become a virtual industry unto itself, rivaling the the second-shooter in Dallas, the alien space ship crash in Roswell and the Twin Towers conspiracy.  And, as with all conspiracy theories it lives in the shadows without context or perspective.

So, let’s take a moment and search out some relatively easy data points from which we can extract both context and perspective and see where it takes us — further in or out of the morass.

First up, you choose the number of emails Clinton is alleged to have mishandled — and let’s be clear — the issue is mishandled, not lost.  But choose your number.  I keep hearing 30,000.  Let’s go with that.  If you really don’t like her, double it.
  
Now, let’s hop into the Way-Back Machine for quick ride to January 24, 2008, when the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism released a study which said (and this is just part of it):

“President Bush and his top aides publicly made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001."

"In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”

The study says Bush made 232 false statements about Iraq and former leader Saddam Hussein's possessing weapons of mass destruction, and 28 false statements about Iraq's links to al Qaeda.

The quotes in the study include an August 26, 2002, statement by Dick Cheney to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," Cheney said. "There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al Qaeda," the report reads, citing multiple government reports, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the 9/11 Commission and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, which reported that Hussein had suspended Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to revive it.”

But, don’t take my word for it, read the whole thing yourself at: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/23/bush.iraq/

A quick Wikipedia search shows U.S. Armed Forces deaths in Operation Iraq Freedom of 4,424, with another 31,952 wounded; also killed were 16,623 Iraqi soldiers and police fighting on our side.  Additionally, another 155,000 to 174,000 CIVILIANS were killed, their greatest transgression being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But what the hell — let’s err on the side of being conservative because those are the people doing the most yelping about the Clinton emails: we’ll just count the 4,424 U.S. deaths for now.
  
Again, don’t take my word for the numbers, here they are: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

So, that’s the context.  Here’s the perspective.
  
In 2007 the Bush Administration, same one see above, got into a Congressional beef about firing eight U.S. attorneys.  Subsequently it had to disclose that not all White House emails were available and that up to 5,000,000 emails might have been "lost."  Clinton, mishandled.  Bush, “lost.”  30,000  emails we can find but were mishandled vs. 5,000,000 we can't find and were "lost."  
  
By 2009 the 5,000,000 "lost" emails had risen to 22,000,000 "lost" emails and it was further disclosed:

"The [Bush] administration officials had been using a private Internet domain, called gwb43.com, owned by and hosted on an email server run by the Republican National Committee, for various communications of unknown content or purpose. The domain name is an abbreviation for “George W. Bush 43rd” President of the United States. The use of this email domain became public when it was discovered that J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, was using a gwb43.com email address to discuss the firing of the U.S. attorney for Arkansas. Communications by federal employees were also found on georgewbush.com (registered to "Bush-Cheney '04, Inc.") and rnchq.org (registered to "Republican National Committee"), but, unlike these two servers, gwb43.com has no Web server connected to it — it is used only for email."  

Again, read for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_White_House_email_controversy
 
So, let’s see if we can connect the conspiracy theory dots here which make the Clinton email fiasco the greatest digital transgression of our time: 

Bush et al lied like Donald Trump at a tent revival to get Congress to greenlight the Iraq invasion; not only were there no WMDs, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, which was the reason for the invasion to begin with; the invasion resulted in the deaths of 4,424 servicemen and wounding 31,952 more.  When it appeared that emails which likely included this same period were going to be released, the emails were mysteriously "lost" from a private server which the Bush Administration had been using since Day One.  22,000,000 deleted emails — not just mishandled — which could have easily demonstrated those 4,424 lives need not have been sacrificed because there were no WMDs and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Of course, that's just speculation because the emails which could have proven it one way or the other were "lost."  But only 22,000,000 of them -- not the same as the enormity of Clinton's mishandled -- but not lost -- 30,000 emails. 
  
The Bush Administration had an email controversy all right — they likely had evidence of war crimes; Clinton's emails aren’t a controversy by any sense of historical perspective.  Not even close.  Those pushing it are doing so in an ongoing dodge to distract from what’s really important and that is this: the courage for voters to act for the greater good, even if it is not all of YOUR own greater good at this exact point in time.
  
By no objective measure, nor rational knowledge base is Donald Trump qualified to hold the position of President of the United States.  He arrives at the Masthead of the Republican Party by bullying 16 feckless cowards too afraid to stand up for their own beliefs, never mind those of their country.

But there is a big difference between a candidate and a voter: a candidate can lie to us; but we cannot lie to ourselves.  We know Trump is not qualified; HE knows he is not qualified; the entire world knows he’s not qualified.  The trick now is not to continue to lie to your kids about the Tooth Fairy once they figure out. 

There is an enormous list of important issues facing America in this election: economic growth, immigration reform, race relations, educational equality, foreign relations, judicial reform, to name but a few.  None of these include solutions which will be even slightly impacted if Hillary Clinton mishandled 30,000 emails on a private server or 60,000 emails; it doesn't matter pick your own number, because nothing in any of those emails intentionally lead us into war and they did not cost us the lives of thousands of servicemen nor billions of dollars. 
  
You want to hate Hillary Clinton… go for it, it's been a growth industry since around 1992.  But don’t make the rest of the country pay for it by voting for Donald Trump.  I suffered through Jimmy Carter — you can suffer through Hillary Clinton.  Mick Jagger was right, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try real hard, you just might get what you need.”  

Right now we need Hillary Clinton if for no other reason than because too many people have sacrificed too much over the past 240 years to turn it over to the living embodiment of what our country fought so hard not to be.

1 comment:

  1. Can there be any hope of serious debate/discussion of important issues with the Republican Party candidate in the mix? I agree with your assessment of the email tempest, but it's symptomatic of a much bigger problem.

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