Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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So Much Absurdity, So Little Time...
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   09/08/2006)

Absurdities pile up faster than the rational mind can sort them out.

* Quicker than we can digest Bush / Cheney's latest efforts to tie the mess in Iraq to Osama bin Laden, the president acknowledges we've been holding prisoners for “questioning by experts” in secret prisons around the world. He says such questioning—a euphemism for torture—has prevented acts of terrorism by these very bad men.

Well, there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. What else do you need to know about?

International law? Forget it. Constitutional protections? Writs of habeas corpus? Facing one's accusers? Bills of alleged crimes? Calls to attorneys? Hey, who needs a Constitution when you have a George? Our Founding Fathers had King George III. True, they got rid of him in favor of Constitutional Law, but that was in the pre-9/11 world.

We have George W. Bush. The Decider. If he doesn't like a law, he issues a signing statement. Would you believe 750 times or more? He wiretaps in secrecy, kidnaps in secrecy, tortures suspects in secrecy, launches wars in secrecy, blows the cover off unfriendly American spies in secrecy, then attacks the press for reporting it. If he doesn't like a court ruling, backers in Congress pass a law around it.

* That state of affairs might end soon. Democrats appear poised to take back the House come November. So now it gets scary. With his army tied up in Iraq, his polling in the cellar, his budget stretched to the breaking point, what does a George do? Even with national media to protect him from his own worst enemy—himself—it appears Bush has but one bullet left in his political arsenal, and that's to ratchet up fear regarding Iran--almost to the bombing point.

* Speaking of which, the way our media parrots Bush's distortions of history should be a scandal. So much disinformation gets out, it's a wonder any of us can think straight. For instance, he never mentions that the very people now banging the drums for confronting Iran helped that country acquire nuclear technology in the first place. Back in 1976, when we considered Iran an ally, according to articles by Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post, the Ford Administration loudly backed Iranian plans to go nuclear. In fact, Ford pushed through negotiations promoting a multibillion deal to provide Iran with large quantities of plutonium and enriched uranium. Key officials in the Ford Administration at the time? None other than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. But hey, who knew the Shah would go down?

* Sound familiar? Truth be told we were even more complicit in aiding Saddam Hussein in Iraq during his war against Iran, and in funding the Taliban and pre-al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan. Maybe you've seen the famous photograph of Rumsfeld and Saddam shaking hands. Many sources show we provided aerial targeting maps to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, while secretly providing Iran with anti-aircraft weapons. One could argue, dubiously, that our intentions were good, but the results have been disastrous—including about 1.5 million casualties. So why aren't we better students of history?

* Maybe we don't go back far enough. There's a list of so-called “Islamo-fascist” crimes circulating on the Internet that would have you believe the history of the world began in 1979, when Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy. The list conveniently ignores the 1953 coup we instigated that unseated a democratically elected government in Iran. Nor does it mention crimes committed by the Shah we placed in power. For that matter it doesn't go into the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a huge piece of treachery that carved up the riches of the Middle East for Western powers following WWI.

* Don't expect revisionist history to end soon. ABC is set to air a program blaming Bill Clinton for 9/11. Yes, it may be true that Clinton missed precious opportunities, distracted by endless investigations and impeachment proceedings over his fib about an affair. But it's a damning fact of history that 9/11 happened eight or nine months into the Bush Administration. Scant weeks before 9/11, Bush held a paper in his hand stating that bin Laden intended to hijack planes and attack American cities. History shows not only that Bush refused to implement an anti-terrorism strategy, but refused even to meet with anti-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke. It makes about as much sense to blame Clinton as it would to blame President Reagan, who inadvertently helped set up the Taliban and al-Qaida in his efforts to throw the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan—or Bush 41, who provided bin Laden with a pretext and much popular support by invading Iraq during the Gulf War and using what some considered the sacred Muslim soil of Saudi Arabia as a staging area. Given this cynical history, blaming Clinton for 9/11 is more than absurd. It's treacherous and evil.

But don't get me started.