A PERSONAL POSTSCRIPT | 2003-04-12
I cannot get those betrayed Iraqis out of my mind. They were too much like me.
Despite all my education and experience, I am not a sophisticated person. As I pointed out when I bragged about saving the Space Telescope that is up there today, I have always been a silly idealist, a believer, a space junkie.
I am that impossible combination, a redneck and a nerd
I am an overeducated guy from Pontiac, South Carolina. And I am deeply proud of it.
But no matter how idealistic and naïve I was I got betrayed in exactly the same way over and over and over, so I learned from it. I cannot believe that today's right wingers are still being betrayed in the same old way.
I am not sophisticated, but I am not a damned fool.
And I am a man with a memory.
I took part in the slippery viciousness of the Cold War and the nasty politics of Washington.
All those years everybody thought they were sophisticated and smart. But they never seemed to learn anything. They ended up being more air-headed than idealists like me.
During all that time I could look beyond the people who thought they were terribly smart and sophisticated. My sacrifices were in late hours and frustration. But I had heroes to look to who paid far, far more.
For my inspiration I looked to people who, like me, were both sane and idealistic. These people were the Freedom Fighters.
The Cuban Freedom Fighters -- like the ones who got caught at Watergate -- were wonderful people to me. Honest Contras were wonderful.
The defiant diggers under the Berlin Wall and other escapees I met were heroic.
Many Freedom Fighters were idealists and they died for it.
Iraqis and Cuban Freedom Fighters died in prison.
A lot of those Iraqis and those Cubans and those Contras were from small towns like me. Whatever the size of the town they came from their culture was also more naïve.
I identify with those freedom fighters who have been sold out decade after decade. Leaders of the freedom fighters wouldn't listen to my warnings about American leaders . I wasn't a Big Man like a CIA Director or a high career official of the State Department. And I hate to think about what happened to the freedom fighters' followers as a result.
Betrayal for me was routine. I got betrayed by Republican moderates. Then I got betrayed by the moderate Republicans' modern successors, the neoconservatives and respectable conservatives. But I got used to it, and I never ended up in a torture cell in our more civilized nastiness.
Freedom fighters had a huge opinion of America. They never got used to betrayal because when you trust an American moderate or an American liberal in a situation like that, you do it only that one fatal time.