The Bad Guy

George Tenet, Bill Moyers, Dick Durbin and Me

What a great couple of weeks for Iraq finger pointing! I’ll start off with Bill Moyers who blamed everyone in the media (except Knight-Ridder) for not questioning the march to war.

Then George Tenet’s book came out where he claims that he was the sole sane voice in the room. He claims that he was misrepresented about his “Slam Dunk” comment. What he REALLY meant was that the Iraq War would need to be presented as a slam dunk.

What I saw was a man who was having a Robert McNamara moment. If you have seen Fog Of War you know what I am talking about, if you have not, I will tell you more. In Fog Of War, Robert McNamara makes a try at a giant mea culpa for all his mistakes with the Vietnam war and more. He starts off well, and he spills his guilty and tortured soul for all to see. The problem is that he stopped short of taking full responsibility. Every time he made a confession, he pulled back and blamed someone else, the system, ignorance…Anything.

What George Tenant did on “60 Minutes” made McNamara seem 100% sincere by comparison.  Just a tip to George Tenet.  No one believes a guy who prefaces his story by proclaiming how truthful they are…Especially not a guy who obfuscates for a living.

Even Sen. Dick Durbin got into the act when he claimed that he felt bad about not telling the American public about how much he (and the entire House Intelligence Committee) knew…Facts that contradicted the official story supported by the White House.

Why Sen. Durbin can talk about it now is unknown to me. Best case scenario is that everyone else in the room was on the same page about misrepresenting the facts to the public and his hands were tied. The worst case being that he also went along with the story and only felt guilt now because of the failure of the war.

And what about me? What was I doing during all of this? And why am I even bringing myself up? During the build up to the Iraq War I was high. Very, very high. I’m talking “Out of my mind, in a crystal meth haze that makes you understand EXACTLY what was going on during every moment of A Scanner Darkly without any help because you lived it” high. That’s right, like many Americans, I could have cared less about the war as long as I had my stuff.

The night the war began I was working the graveyard shift at the peepshow and we were closed on account of the protests. Things were getting ugly in San Francisco and the thinking was that if the police kept making arrests people might riot, and no one wants a riot bleeding into a peepshow…Hence why my boss decided the best idea was to have me show up at my job without actually having to do my job.

So I sat at the front desk with the doors locked for eight hours listening to CD’s, NPR, drinking sodas, talking with friends on the phone and waiting for my dealer to show up with my baggy full of crystaly goodness. When he showed up at 1:30 a.m., I was not disappointed. It was a great bounty that could last me…Three, maybe four days if I was careful. So with the peepshow secured I headed to the staff bathroom and crushed myself up a line of a lifetime. It was shaped like the Van Halen logo and I snorted it all in one breath.

My eyes played TV static in front of my head, I felt like I was spinning, my nostrils were burning and I headed back to the front desk not giving a shit about the war, the President, ulterior motives, conspiracies or anything. All I knew was that I was high and that was good. For the rest of the night I cleaned the peepshow, listened to my Van Halen mix CD and told customers that we would be open at 9 a.m.

A lot has changed for me since those days. I quit drugs in May of 2003, I no longer work at the peepshow and I do give a crap about what goes on around me and in my world. I’ve taken responsibility for the mistakes I made during that part of my life and I have come to peace with them.

Of course I don’t have the weight of thousands of souls on my conscience. That weight could throw a man into a fit of depression so severe that only the sufferer could understand why he or she was waffling between taking responsibility while also pawning it off on someone else. And while I find myself disgusted at the media and many of our leaders for their handling of things during the build up to war, I’m also severly disappointed in myself for how I handled myself during that time.

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May 1, 2007 - Posted by | 60 minutes, Bill Moyers, Dick Durbin, drugs are bad, george tenet, Iraq, meth, News and politics, Robert McNamara, Van Halen

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