Published on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Minnesota)
America, The Naive
Listen to the President's Soothing Words, and Ignore Those Who Disturb Your Rest.
by Bill O'Brien
Sleep, America, sleep. Sleep the dreamy, undisturbed sleep of the contented. Breathe deeply to the cadence of our president's lullaby: "We are strong, you are safe, go to sleep."
Ignore the distant sirens and 2,000 dead in Iraq with no end in sight. Ignore that tonight, as you slumber, three more will die. They are your neighbors' children, not yours.
Plug your ears to the voices that agitate you, to Brent Scowcroft -- hawk in the first Gulf War, former Air Force general and national security adviser, best friend to George Bush Senior. Shut your eyes tight to his rebuke of our Iraq policy, and to his alarm that we are fueling, and not quelling, jihadists around the world bent on harming us.
"We are strong. You are safe. Go to sleep."
Sleep, America, the sleep of the righteous even as visions of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib haunt your rest. Shut out the meddlesome plea of John McCain to stop, for the sake of our own troops, the torture of the prisoners we take. Listen instead to Dick Cheney's soothing baritone, making the case for flouting the Geneva Conventions, for legalizing torture. We are America the free.
Ignore the disquieting dreams that disturb your rest: that you were lied to in order to justify a preemptive war. Pull the quilted covers tight around you and dispel the troubling notions that there are no weapons of mass destruction, no imminent nuclear threat, and no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaida. We are America the brave.
Close the shutters to the memory that the architect of your safety and security, Don Rumsfeld, trumpeted that we'd be embraced as liberators in Iraq, that the insurgency -- now in its third year -- was the last gasp of "a few dead-enders."
And, by all means, America, do not rise to investigate those bumps in the night that cause you to startle. Do not wonder, for instance, where Osama sleeps and why he too sleeps peacefully.
You are safe, America. Lullaby and good night.
Bill O'Brien lives in Minneapolis and is a workplace lawyer.
© 2005 Star Tribune