The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

The "Red Dawn" Effect

What is our goal in Iraq? Bush has mentioned a lot of things which we are trying to accomplish there, including getting rid of Saddam, forcing democracy on the Iraqis, getting rid of the biological and chemical weapons he might have, etc. All of this is supposed to make us safer, to prevent the kinds of attacks that occurred on September 11th. Bush says that preventing that kind of attack is his top priority.

And that is clearly bull. This is a case of having to separate Bush's words from Bush's actions, something the press seems congenitally unable to accomplish. Just like "Compassionate Conservative" and "uniter, not divider", they seem under the spell of Bush's words and are unable to peer through to his actions to see what he is really about.

Let's pick through Bush's actions to see how they stack up against his claim that he wants to prevent another September 11th. Imagine that you are the leader of a large, populous, rich, free society, which has just been attacked by a group of criminals using low-technology methods. What do you do?

Well, first I think you would look for the causes of the attack, I mean the real causes, not the "They hate us for our freedoms" shinola. What Bin Laden and Al Qaeda object to is our foreign policy, specifically the presence of troops in Saudi Arabia, but let's say it is our foreign policy in general. The first thing you might do if you wanted to prevent attack from that same quarter is to evaluate your policies and decide which of them were inflammatory, and then decide which of them you could afford to alter in a mitigating way, and which you had to keep because they were too valuable. So let's give Bush the benefit of the doubt and assume he did that and found that he couldn't alter anything (that's being pretty generous to Bush, but ok, let's be generous. And by "Bush" here, I'm talking about the evil hive-mind of people who are actually running the show, of course).

Second, the attacks were a result of a real breakdown in intelligence and coordinated law enforcement activity. Clearly, more diligence on the part of the executive branch is required. Have they been more diligent? First, we all know of their failure before the attacks. Sandy Berger warned Condoleeza Rice about having to spend most of her time chasing Bin Laden (she didn't). Cheney shelved the Hart-Rudmann report on terrorism and its threats, saying he was going to start his own commission (he didn't call one meeting). People like John O'Neill and Colleen Rowley were not supported in their efforts to fight terrorism. O'Neill, tragically, resigned in disgust over the administration's efforts to get him to back off of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, only to be killed in his first day on the job as head of security for the WTC. So, before the attack, the Bush administration did not seem to care very much about preventing these kinds of attacks. Since then, who knows? Bush at first blocked the establishment of Homeland Security, then the Republicans tried to block it because its workers would have been protected as civil servants in unions. Union-busting was more important than preventing another attack. Hopefully, there is more coordinated information sharing by the intelligence agencies involved. Certainly, our civil rights are being curtailed at an alarming rate. Do we feel safer? So, we'll call this a wash. This administration may have created a bureaucratic response of some kind to the attack, which I hope is better than no response at all.

How about actual physical security? By all accounts, our harbors and ports, our airports, our water supply, our public spaces, are all vulnerable to more terrorist attacks. And the Bush administration has been pushing in words for more security at these critical points. But they have not provided the money to make a difference. They have submitted two budgets since the attack, and in neither have they committed nearly enough money to help states and cities deal with their security needs. Tax cut priorities have trumped those needs. And NYC has been stiffed out of the money they were promised to help recover from the last attack. So by that measure, this administration has definitely only been playing lip service to increased safety.

Then you would probably want to go after the people who actually attacked us, so that they didn't do it again. Of course, on that score, we have a big zero. Osama Bin Forgotten is living happily in the west of Pakistan, as predicted, and our unfulfilled, ill-advised promise of "smokin' him out dead or alive" makes us look like fools. We did manage to topple the government of the country he was in, though (though, they too didn't so much lose as just creep into the woodwork), and install our own puppet government. Go USA!

Next, you would want to bolster our international relationships with our allies and even our enemies around the world so that we could count on the community of nations to help us find and bring to justice other murdering criminals. That would only make sense. Here we see the biggest defeat of trying to make us safe, and the tissue of lies behind Bush's claims of being interested in doing so just falls apart. Everything this administration has done on the foreign front has been a disaster for our international relations. We have torn up long-standing, stabilizing treaties. We have snubbed the UN and NATO (NATO!). We have antagonized everyone. This does not make us safer from attack. It encourages attack.

Finally, the attacks were carried out by a fundamentalist Muslim group, against a country which is officially atheist but which has a large Christian majority and happens to have a fundamentalist Christian leader, in no small part due to religious grievances (US forces on hallowed Saudi ground). The stabilizing move would have been to remove all religious aspects from our response. But our littlest dictator then had to go and call it a "crusade". Then he insisted on attacking another Muslim country against the advice of the entire world. And now, Franklin Graham is ready to storm on in to Iraq behind our soldiers, proselytizing, ministering, and winning converts over to Baby Jesus. That definitely doesn't make us safer.

Also, if you were going to invade said country, you might do it in a way that was swift, overwhelming, and led to as little loss of civilian life as possible. That opportunity was also missed, so now we see articles like this one, "Iraq War Boosts Militants' Recruiting" and "Once reviled, Hussein now winning many Arabs' support". Perhaps this was inevitable in a war of this kind (though not unpredicted, as opponents to the war have been pointing this out for literally years), but it seems no effort has been made to mitigate it.

Finally, (I keep using that word) you would want the circumstances surrounding 9/11 to be examined quickly, thoroughly, and fairly. Bush has been slow to appoint a commission, tried to get Kissinger himself appointed as the chair of he commission, has underfunded the commission, and has delayed the commission by not getting them the security access they need to do their job. These surely are not the actions of someone who is serious about protecting our country against further attacks.

So, in sum, we see by Bush's actions, if not his words, that he actually doesn't care a fig about our "safety" or whether we suffer similar attacks to September 11th. He has done nothing, except allow Ashcroft to abridge our civil liberties, which might help to prevent such attacks, and he has gone a long way to making matters worse. And in the end, why shouldn't he? September 11th was the best thing that ever happened to his presidency, and I'm sure that he thinks that more attacks would rally the people around him, as it did the last time. We certainly weren't rallying around a certain last-elected-ex-president that I can think of, when he was preventing such attacks, so I can't really fault Bush's logic.

However, that means that the war in Iraq is not being fought for our safety. There must be some other reason, and that is that it is a war of conquest. I weep for what America has become.

My PNAC buddies and I Know Better Than Any KKKlinton Army Generals Watch

Josh Marshall again on the fatal rift between Strangefeld and top Army brass.

Also this devastating article by Sy Hersch about Rumsfeld's poor planning.

Another one of those damned, peace-loving hippie generals denounces the war plan.

Chosen By God Watch

A Buzzflash editorial on the latest amazing piece of propaganda about Glorious Leader, this time from USA today.

Operation Keep Bombing Them Until they Love Us Watch

Why can't the people of Iraq see that we are good and pure and holy? Why don't they love us?

The "Red Dawn" Effect Watch

It seems that some Iraqis just aren't beside themselves with joy that their country is being invaded. Gee, who could have anticipated that? Some analysis of the situation in Basra from Liberal Oasis.

Help is on the Way Watch

Thanks to Marti for this long but fascinating article on our military resources and how they are stretched.

9-11 Watch

Read the part in this OpEd from the NYTimes where it says "Reasonable people might wonder . . . " They might, indeed.

Playwright's Watch

Tony Kushner on our Little King.

Our Fellow Thugs Watch

Americans are rushing at the chance to act like thugs towards their own neighbors. This is an opportunity many of them haven't had until now, and by god they really want to punish some people. If I were a psychologist, I might wonder what the source of all this misplaced anger was . . .

Humor Watch

Again from The Onion, "Bush bravely leads 3rd infantry into Battle". Enough said.

This picture at the top gives us a look at what happens when Christianity, jingoism, and QVC collide.

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