The Strategy of Atonement

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The Strategy of Atonement

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reacts as she is introduced by incoming House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) (R) and takes the House podium for the first time after she was elected the first ever female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on the first day of the 110th Congress in Washington January 4, 2007.

It’s hard to hear speaker Pelosi claim that “we will not abandon the troops” because the abandonment happened a few years ago. Congress abandoned the troops - and the Constitution - when they handed absolute authority to an obviously compromised sensibility. By any standard this was not the executive to whom congress should have deferred responsible decision-making. But they did and in so doing they abandoned the troops and the troops are now held hostage.

It’s not only for sentimental reasons the troops should come home. Yes – moms, dads, wives, children will heave a sigh of personal relief – but so will the country because we will no longer be at the mercy of what the troops might be forced to do by orders, circumstances and other pressures. If they do it – we do it – and what happens to them is happening to us.

Pelosi wore purple on her historic day. Purple is the mix of red and blue – as in red and blue states. She wore synthesis, which can be construed as either surrender or cooperation. But cooperation at this point is surrender. And the truth is, the surrender already happened and they that surrendered are now in charge and sounding defiant - and hollow. The defiance is moot. The proud declaration that we will not abandon the troops is only sad.

The troops have been abandoned to an illogical and corrupt consciousness. Cutting funding for the war would not be abandonment – it might be the beginning of atonement.

At this point, all we have before us is correction and atonement. Nothing can be made right by shift of troops, strategy or money. The core of the endeavor is misbegotten and corrupt. The mission, in truth, is unavailable for and impervious to new strategy. The reason there are so many shifts is because all that can be done now is to atone – in an international and meaningful way.

Winning is an absurd and sophomoric enticement to a frazzled population. Winning to some means keeping the war going because that keeps the flow of cash going in their direction. To others, winning means killing all the right people.

Some group seems to know who needs killing and in their scenario more bullets, bombs and soldiers will do the job. It’s not quite a genocide – just “pacifying” “neutralizing” the ones revealed to be dangerous to our mission. The number of those who threaten our mission may surge as the killing goes on but we will meet those numbers with our numbers and the two surges will create the shape of a boomerang. Each one throwing is its own target.

We knew – Colin Powell knew, Hans Blicks knew, Scott Ritter knew, millions of protesting citizens, referred to by Bush as “focus groups,” knew. And it still happened – it was a crime then and a crime now that gains interest and yields grotesque dividends. We can’t “finish the job” because the job has a fatal, moral flaw and “finishing it” is a black hole.

It sounds moralistic to suggest atonement, but then morality is real – practical as well as metaphysical. The regime should not run out its clock – the regime should simply be run out – legally, orderly, morally – and then the atonement, and perhaps the end of it, can begin.

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis is a playwright.  Archive of his Common Dreams' articles here. His personal website here.

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