March 12, 2002 – A day we would be seeing as more the norm than the exception over time. On this day, the Terrorism Advisory was revised and the color chart upgraded to offer more colors, more levels of which to choose how close or real the danger was. How it would stay, hovering between Yellow and Red for months, if not years, to come. This was the new era – the modern world.
And similarly, the drumbeat of war – almost constant now. This day, vice-president Dick Cheney, going on a fact-finding/sales-pitch mission to promote yet another invasion of Iraq; this time to topple Saddam Hussein once and for all. His stops in the Middle-East were greeting with reluctance and indifference by other Arab nations. The Coalition Of The Willing were less willing than they were in the dim-distant past of Desert Storm. Back then, it was “me and my brother against my cousin” and the U.S. were facilitators. Now it was looking like “me and my cousin against the stranger” and we were now the strangers. Hussein was the brutal dictator, but he was the glue which held the region together, for better or worse. Without him, or by not allowing the “natural progression” to take its course, a potential for chaos within the region would be high. But we weren’t looking at it that way. We had Cheney doing his sales pitch, predicting the liberators would be showered with candy and flowers from a grateful nation. We branded Iraq as the nation of “evil-doers” and a hotbed of Terrorism and we were determined to change that. Instability and chaos be damned.
But we had other issues aside from Terrorism and other news to deal with this day – the growing scandal over pedophile Priests within the Catholic Church was taking on overwhelming proportions. Every day, some new revelation of sexual transgressions of the past were bubbling to the surface – some new set of accusations made headlines and cast further shadows on a subject long suppressed and ignored.
And news that the jury in the Andrea Yates murder trial deliberated only four hours before returning a Guilty verdict. Yates, a Houston Texas mother, confessed to the drowning deaths of her five children in 2001. Defense cited extreme postpartum depression and psychosis as the cause for the killings. The jury felt differently about that and sentenced Yates to death. The court felt differently about that verdict and sentenced Yates to Life with possibility of parole in 40 years. Time would tell on that one too.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on this March 12th in 2002 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup and NPR’s All Things Considered.