Last thoughts inside the box

In less than 12 hours I'll be winging it out of this country for the first time in many years. The last time I flew out was Jamaica in high school. Since then, I've driven into Canada and Mexico, which is an entirely appropriate way to learn how the country ends at a line. I've given a lot of attention to what happens elsewhere but i haven't been elsewhere in so long, which is plainly negligent or even hypocritical.

Meanwhile, rumors are flying that Al-Qaeda bombed Madrid in retaliation for Iraq, an entirely reasonable idea when we remember that Al-Qaeda means "the base." So who knows what branches of the base might be involved in bombing European public transportation? There have been bomb threats against French trains, as well. It is safe to say that the security apparatus will be out in full. I haven't flown since 9/11. I'm a little edgy that there might be another incident in London during this season of the unexplained.

Yet that is why it's so important for me to go away for a while. The negative forces on the TV tell us that order is crumbling all around, that The Terror is On Our Doorstep. We Must Cower, they say.

Before Madrid, I saw that the dark thunderclouds of baseless fear and malicious disinformation were finally starting to drift away in this country.

It feels much better to step out when things are finally turning the corner than when the forces of evil blow right on your back. America this spring already seems a safer place with the idea of another four years of Bush Imperium sounding more farcical and remote by the week. Their nasty vision is falling apart.

So with that, let me round up a few key things to look for:

Wait for the good Colonel, Lt Col Karen Kwiatkoski, to start making the rounds on cable TV. The bombshell piece "The New Pentagon Papers" in Salon.com is part of a grand liberal media offensive incorporating Salon.com and the UK's Guardian. Her writings thus far, including the regular column, are an excellent expression of profoundly alarmed everyday conservatism. "Soldier for the Truth: Exposing Bush’s Talking-Points War ." Funny how it sounds like the whole Iraq war (mainly via the Salon piece) was propelled by one Straussian (Mr Shulsky) deploying an array of threatening talking points memos.

There is the unfolding story of the stolen Congressional computer documents.

There is (another) Halliburton investigation.

Juan Cole puts it all too well when he asks: "US Intelligence Follies: Why Haven't Cheney, Feith and Chalabi been Impeached?

Whatever happens on this trip, by the time I return, I'll be changed. It will be a before-vs.-after experience, no matter what happens. And what better moment for the clean break than now?

I might see more clearly these things which puzzle me so. I have to go.

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