OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - Seven True Things You Aren't Supposed to Say (about Iraq)



It feels strange, at this point in my life, to find myself biting my tongue. And yet there it is. It's not as if I feel overtly threatened. My e-mail might be screened, and my telephone calls monitored, and my bank transactions scanned, and my medical records accessed, but nobody is likely to come looking for me (since I'm neither Muslim nor of Arab descent).

I don't work in the media (like Bill Maher or Phil Donohue), so I probably won't be fired. I'm not an entertainer (like the Dixie Chicks), so I probably won't be boycotted and shunned. I'm not in politics, so I won't be derided (like Howard Dean) or abused by Ann Coulter and a host of right wing hatemongers.

No, it's just that I'm aware of a mood, a climate, a state of mind, that labels my contrarian opinions as unpatriotic. Even unspeakable. If I want to remain an ordinary Joe in good standing, I can hide these ideas like Anne Frank's family in the attic of my mind, but it would be dangerous for them to show themselves on the street.

Grant the Bush administration this: They've been great at mind control. If facts and logic indicate the administration has lied about one thing or another—say Iraq, to take an obvious example—, you may, like me, find yourself hesitating to say so at work, or at church, or over the backyard fence.

So, like a patient in group therapy, struggling to make his way to health, I have a need to say the unspeakable, and to say it with the forcefulness I actually feel. Here are seven true things about Iraq it's not okay to think, let alone speak:


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