The malfeasance of the Bush administration's dismissing early and very late warnings on the 9-11 attack and both the Bush deception on the rationale for the Iraq invasion and subsequent catastrophe as well as congressional votes on this crime have earned a national reconciliation assembly. Perhaps patterned after the South African post-apartheid commission work.
These two events, now far more that Watergate, have caused a deep and continuous lack of confidence in our political leaders and system as well as endless suffering among the victims. This includes the families of the Towers, Pentagon employees and families of crew and passengers on the 9-11 flight #93 that went down in Pennsylvania. It also includes the electorate lied to by the Bush/Cheney administration and mal-served by all those in congress voting to go to war in Iraq on well known bogus, contrived so-called evidence of harm to our country. This also includes the thousands who gave their lives for this lie, hundreds of thousands forever damaged physically and psychologically by the war and millions in the middle east killed or displaced as a result of this crime.
There is now irrefutable evidence of longstanding economic damage created by both national security over reaction and debt incurred as a result the war.
It is my assessment after years of contemplation that the harm these two events of governmental incompetence, outright dishonesty and cowardice to face up to facts and reality have maybe forever compromised our democracy and ability to continue the great American experiment with public support. We have been a despondent and non-functioning democracy ever since. A significant portion of the electorate are now alienated from the process and not participating, or are angry at the wrong things with abandonment of critical thinking or believing outright proven untruths.
A solution to at least partially repair our broken system and nation would be to create a program of national reconciliation, since there seems to be little national stomach for criminal, political and civil accountability for the perpetrators. The political class responsible are either enjoying a plush retirement while the rest of us struggle or continue to hold office, irrespective of party. And they continue to deliver fraudulent narratives on well documented evidence to the contrary. Again, while we struggle.
One of my struggles continues to be my nagging doubts about even those in my party who voted for the Iraq invasion and horrific occupation and supported grossly overreached national security measures. Early on that included Kerry who in a Texas living room I challenged on his Iraq vote and he had the audacity to ask us if we did not join him in believing Bush's assertions on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Sadly, later I became cynical about the intellectual capabilities or honesty of both Biden and Clinton on their Iraq votes and support for overreach on the surveillance state. Many other fellow citizens have dropped out and opted out due to their lack of trust.
Such a national reconciliation program would not suspend future criminal or civil action as the law might allow. But by impaneling a Reconciliation Council of respected non-office holding citizens with expertise on the two major issues, such as academics, clergy and retired jurists to conduct widely publicized public hearings, we can have a start at restoring an honest national conversation about these events, come to closure on our failings and make a plan to prevent their repetition.
These hearings would hear testimony from willing perpetrators and their critics for a full airing. Those that own up to their malfeasance or dishonesty would be given the chance to apologize to the nation and the Council would grant forgiveness. Those perpetrators failing to participate and apologize would be called out by the Council and hopefully shunned by the media and electorate.
No doubt there are refinements that can be made to such a process based on what we might learn from South Africa's experience and perhaps other examples.
Anything would be better than the current national limbo and amnesia we are experiencing.