David Wyles, who lived on the Santa Monica-Venice border, until he moved to Playa del Rey.
I first met Wyles when we were freshmen at Yale.
A working screenwriter, he now has a second career as a “cyber warrior“ on the Internet, writing e-mail commentaries about the failings of the Bush administration with links to significant articles.
Wyles also “blasts” pertinent cartoons, photographs and articles about current events from the web to the nation’s leading mainstream reporters and editors, hoping to “inform” their coverage with views from beyond the Beltway.
Wyles began his career as a journalist on the Yale Daily News, with a column, “From the Mountaintop.” Its graphic was a stylized lightning bolt.
Wyles’ roommate at Yale, and editor of the Yale Daily News was Joe Lieberman. Now the Senator from Connecticut receives almost daily e-mails from the self- styled cyber warrior and provocateur.
Wyles said he was inspired by Tom Paine, Revolutionary War pamphleteer, author of “Common Sense” and “The Crisis,” who circulated the ideas that sparked the revolution to farmers and intellectuals alike. Equally important to Wyles was the work of I.F. Stone whose I.F.Stone’s Weekly exposed the futility of the Vietnam War throughout the 1960s.
A descendant of Revolutionary War general “Mad” Anthony Wayne, whose army was victorious at the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, ending the power of British forces in this country, Wyles noted that another of his ancestors was a sheep thief, who ended his life at the end of a rope.
A screenwriter who admits to being a Luddite, slow to accept the computer and known for writing his scripts in long hand, Wyles now spends hours every night crafting blistering e-mails aumed squarely at the Bush administration.
In a recent letter to Lieberman, he wrote:
“…This American imperial arrogance and ignorance has to stop. Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and the other neocon angels of death, oil, and empire must be cast out of office and power.
Joe, you have it within your power to be on the side of our better angels, on the side of a good and just and generous America.
“Please turn back toward the light of peace (with security), rather than continue to support the terrible darkness in this, our present Adminstration’s nature – as described accurately, if ironically, by our own homegrown Lucifer and Vice President, Dick Cheney – a government that is dishonest, corrupt, shameless, and reprehensible…”
Wyles regularly includes historical references, such as a 1918 poem by World War I era poet Siegfried Sassoon:
To The Warmongers
I’m back again from Hell
With loathsome thoughts to sell,
Secrets of death to tell;
And horrors from the abyss.
Young faces bleared with blood,
Sucked down into the mud,
You shall hear things like this,
Till the tormented slain
Crawl round and once again,
With limbs that twist awry
Moan out their brutish pain,
As the fighters pass them by.
For you our battles shine
With triumph half-divine;
And the glory of the dead
Kindles in each proud eye.
But a curse is on my head,
That shall not be unsaid,
And the wounds in my heart are red,
For I have watched them die.
The first generation of his family to attend college, Wyles recalled that his first vote for President was a protect vote in 1968 for Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, who later “unfortunately became a born-again Republican and a maker of codpieces.”
Although no Democratic candidate since ’68 has been as liberal as he is, Wyles has been a Democratic precinct captain since George McGovern’s 1972 candidacy.
Describing himself as a “passionate amateur,” Wyles says he feels obliged to communicate his opinions about the Bush administration’s “disastrous” handling of the Iraq war.
“I am just a single voice, but there are a growing number of us, and soon this country will swell with the sound of our chorus of righteous, patriotic rage at what this Administration is doing to our nation.”
As Theodore Roosevelt remarked: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
As the Washington rumor mills churn out the latest rumor — Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld will resign in January, and will be succeeded by Joe Lieberman, Wyles has his work cut out for him.
In a recent e-mail to Senator Lieberman, Wyles wrote: “Bush may name you Secretary of Defense and you may still believe this war was worth it to get rid of Saddam. You may also paint rosy pictures about what’s going on there now and in the future, but please don’t think for a minute that what Bush did in Iraq was either patriotic or necessary for the security of the United States.
“Bush lied to get us into this war — and you’d have to put on blinders and declare that Saddam was an evil, cartoon King Kong capable of hurling aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds across a vast ocean– to think otherwise.
“Do what you want and what you believe is right for yourself and for America. Just don’t expect me or other Americans to believe that what Bush tells us is the truth.”
Wyles believes that Lieberman has not changed his political views from his days at Yale. “ Joe is a Scoop Jackson Democrat (Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, 1952 – 1983), strong on defense yet progressive on civil rights and basic human rights.”
Wyles’ cyber war will probably continue through the remaining days of the Bush administration, as he said, “This effort really energizes me. It really does. I‘m just trying to add my voice to the growing chorus.”