Thursday night’s highly orchestrated CNN televised debate among Democratic candidates was a good example of how genuine anti-war candidates are treated by the corporate media establishment. They are invariably marginalized, seldom allowed to speak, and rarely quoted. The notion implicitly articulated by Wolf Blitzer that everyone would get equal time did not hold true.
As I expected, Clinton and Obama got most of the air time at the beginning, with Edwards, Richardson, Dodd, Biden, and Kucinich getting much less.
Dennis Kucinich could hardly get a word in. When he did get a chance to speak, he did just fine. My favorite Kucinich comment came when Wolf Blitzer asked him why he was the only candidate who voted against the Patriot Act. Kucinich tersely but humorously replied: “Because I read it.” There was a good deal of audience applause and laughter.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates: “What’s more important national security or human rights?” Every democratic candidate but Kucinich was allowed to answer that critical question. I do wonder why? Kucinich spoke up after all the other candidates had responded. He said: “Hello.” Blitzer told him paternalistically that he would get his chance later.
Kucinich would have replied that policies which protect human rights are essential to American national security.” The two notions should not be seen as diametrically opposed, but rather as interdependent and interrelated. It is a very steep and slippery slope when human rights are seen as getting in the way of national security.
For instance, there is a good case to me made that the US has violated human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have all seen the sad stories and horrible pictures from Abu Graib and Guantanamo, and we’ve all by now heard of the CIA’s secret RENDITION program and the Recent killing of civilians by heavily armed Blackwater thugs. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that many human rights violations around the world, including the recent Musharaf violations in Pakistan, have been justified in the name of “national security.” This includes the bombings, the torture, and the horrible unending nightmare we call the “war in Iraq.”
Don’t the hawkish neo-cons and media commentators understand that when you violate other people’s “human rights” you invariably make enemies that will eventually find a way to threaten your own national security? This is true both at home and abroad. After 9-11, do they really think they are impervious to revenge?
Bush and Cheney’s notion of the “golden rule” is that those who have the gold should rule. This law seems to apply to so called democratic debates – those who have the most gold get to talk the most, and those who get to talk the most usually rule.