Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Doctrine of Ignorance

The Seattle Times has a powerful piece about the Bush Doctrine of Ignorance. The Bush administration is perhaps the most pointlessly secretive administration the US has ever seen, to the point of "locking the barn after the horse has escaped -- and died of old age", as the editorial describes the re-censoring of fifty-year old public documents dealing with the Cold War, documents which were innoculous enough to have been made available even to the Soviet Union, and which have been openly cited in government heaings, reported on by the media, and even written up in history books.

Anyone who doesn't see a pattern here has not been paying attention. From its 18-hour blackout of news that the vice president had shot a man, to its paying a newspaper columnist to write favorable pieces, to its habit of putting out video press releases disguised as TV news, to its penchant for stamping top secret on anything that doesn't move fast enough, this administration has repeatedly shown contempt for the right of the people to know what's going on. At a time when information is more readily available than ever, this government is working like 1952 to enforce ignorance.

And the people, too many of them, shrug and say okey-dokey. As if we learned nothing from Abscam, Iran-contra, Vietnam and Watergate. As if it's OK for an arrogant and paternalistic government to decide for us what we get to know.

Well, it's not. An informed electorate is the lifeblood of democracy, the ultimate check on despotic ambitions.

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