One Word Defines the Creatures of Evil
On March 21, 2003, I wrote an 800-word column for ESP Magazine. All 800 words were the same: “Shame.” I didn’t copy and paste; I typed out each individual word, just so I could get the full effect. As my fingers were pounding the keyboard, so was my heart, as it was concurrently sinking. My blood pressure was, no doubt, off the scale, my keyboard virtually begging for mercy at each successive keystroke being made with a bit more force borne out of anger, contempt and frustration.
And when I was done, I shut my office door and cried.
I wound up deleting that column, figuring that I owed it to both my employer and my 17 readers to crank out something that required a bit more thought. So I wrote an impassioned piece condemning Bush for the immoral invasion of Iraq that he had launched the previous night. In that one, too, I decided to hit the delete key, but only for the closing line. It read, “Goddamn you, George W. Bush.”
In retrospect, I should’ve left the line in there. In fact, I should’ve added another: “Goddamn you, too, Dick Cheney.”
As if we needed more proof, last week Cheney demonstrated for posterity that he, in fact, has no heart, no soul, no conscience, no humanity, no shred of decency.
ABC News’ Martha Raddatz removed any remaining vestige of doubt last week that somewhere deep down inside, Cheney might actually have a morsel of charity. When she asked him how his assessment that major progress was being made in Iraq comported with the fact that two-thirds of Americans say the fight in Iraq is not worth the cost, he nonchalantly replied, “So?”
With that casual, sneering, condescending middle finger to the republic, he reiterated once again that there is no reason to ever wish anything good on him, to show him an ounce of compassion, to treat him with anything more than utter contempt. To call him grossly arrogant is far, far too kind. To call him a delusional megalomaniac only hints at his true nature. To call him one of the vilest creatures that ever slithered across the planet is getting closer.
We used to do an old Gordon Lightfoot song called “That Same Old Obsession” (the version we learned was a masterful cover of then-Seldom Scene dobro legend Mike Auldridge’s first solo album) that contains a line that goes:
“But the creatures of evil
Have captured her heart
And that same old obsession
Still keeps us apart.”
On those long van rides home after a gig, we’d often wonder what Lightfoot meant by that “creatures of evil” phrase. Obviously, in the context of the song, it referred to something that was keeping his true love away from him, some person or force or thing that had come between them. She was obsessed over this thing, whatever it was, and as long as it existed there could be no “peace in my soul.”
Now, let’s place that lyric in a completely different context. Cheney, obviously, is the creature of evil, and he has captured the heart of the one person on earth who could change our fate, his theoretical superior, George W. Bush. It was Cheney, remember, who’s been obsessed with Saddam and Iraq and controlling Middle East oil all along, and he who convinced a malleable “president” that Saddam posed some kind of threat to the US. It is this obsession that keeps us, the citizens of this once-great land, from being the moral authority of the world, of being the good guys that we’re supposed to be. We were the beacon, we were the country that could be counted upon to do the right thing, the exemplar for compassion and justice, the torchbearer for liberty. But now Bush and Cheney have twisted the thirst for freedom into nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell a despicable war to a compliant nation. Their obsession with victory, with power, with the Thrasymacian notion that might makes right is what is keeping us apart from being the America that we used to know and love.
But let it be known: There can be no victory in Iraq, surge or no surge. Not now, not ever. This war was inexorably lost the moment the first sleeping child was killed, lying helpless in her crib, by a random bomb from above, in the middle of the night of March 20, 2003 in some village near Baghdad. The moment that child died, this nation lost its way.
And for the next five years and beyond, the creatures of evil won. And are still winning.
“There’s peace in the garden
There’s peace in the air
Peace in the sound of the river
There’s peace in the meadow
The sun shines like gold
And if she were with me
There’d be peace in my soul.”
Ogi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, heard Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth on ABC 45 at 6:30 a.m. Fridays and on WMYV 48 at 10 p.m. Sundays.