|May 25, 2006|
The Fairies That Set Our National Security Policy
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
The first play I ever went to was Peter Pan. I was five or six years old. The emotional peak of the play is when Tinker Bell, who was played by a small light that darts around the stage, is dying. Peter, who was played by a woman, turns to the audience and explains that every time someone says they don’t believe in fairies, another fairy dies. So Tink' is dying because some terrible person somewhere said they don’t believe in fairies!
But if we believe in fairies then we can make Tinker Bell live!
Peter asks the audience to clap if they believe in fairies.
Believe me, it was a very moving situation, and as a six year old I clapped frantically. As did all the other children and their parents. And we saved Tinker Bell! Or, to state it another way, a stagehand turned up the rheostat on the pin spot.Now we are told by General Hayden that every time someone tells the truth about an NSA operation, another fairy dies. He is not alone in telling that fairy tale. President Bush says the same thing. Attorney General Gonzales now mutters that reporters who expose secret programs should be criminally prosecuted, presumably for the underlying crime of fairy killing.
It’s fair to call them fairies because no one says exactly who those people are who have died or offers facts about programs that have failed. If our leaders mean that a person has died because a secret has been compromised, they ought, at some point, to say so, to actually name the person and demonstrate the actual linkage. If they mean that one of the programs failed, someone ought to get specific and there, too, demonstrate an actual linkage, a genuine cause and effect.Of course, in the magic world where fairies live, telling means more dying. So the General, the President, the Attorney General, and all, can’t tell which fairies died and how.
Theoretically, they could tell in closed session without killing Tinker Bell, and theoretically, we the people, could have someone inside that closed session who evaluated their claims and then report back as to whether the warnings had real merit. Our witness would to be tough enough to stand up to accusations of fairy killing due to disbelief and bright enough to demand a certain level of proof and a realistic view of cause and effect. Based on past history and what we’ve observed in the hearings, the requirement that our witness exercise critical intelligence means he or she would have to be drawn from outside the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The fairy tale that a critical word will kill one of our men and women on the front lines is not limited to the Hayden nomination and to the defense of wiretaps without warrants and collecting data on all of our phone calls. It is used to stifle all criticism. It is, in particular, used to crush any questions about the War on Terror. That’s unfortunate, because, although terrorism is real, the War on Terror contains many fairy tales.
One of the founding ideas, one of the essential ideals of this country, is that if something is true, then there’s nothing wrong with criticizing it, because the criticism can be refuted with facts. If something is a fairy tale, it ought to be criticized, because spending time and money on the basis of fairy stories is a waste. Sending people off to kill and be killed for a fairy story is a tragedy.
So clap if you believe in fairies!
But please, if you think that the people in power are telling you fairy tales, speak up! Don’t be afraid that you will kill Tinker Bell. She is only a little pin spot darting around a set, manipulated by a stage hand.
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