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.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Time to get serious about Bin Laden

More Tinfoil Hats Watch

All the conspiracy theories about this administration have turned out to be true, or worse then originally imagined. So let's address some of the more far out theories. People who have felt under the yoke of this administration have long joked that Bush would pull an "October surprise", like when Bush I traitorously bargained with the Iranian government not to release the hostages to President Carter in 1980. What would Bush II's October surprise be? Some have maintained that they would pull Osama Bin Laden out of a hat, just in time for the election. Others, that there would be a terrorist attack (pretty much allowed to happen by them), and that they would either call for the election to be "delayed" or just ride a wave of jingoism to the polls. Ha ha, we laughed nervously to ourselves, it would be just like these guys to try something like that.

Turns out that both possibilities are figuring big in the Bushies plans as well. Having spent a huge chunk of their campaign war chest on poorly executed smears on Kerry, which haven't worked, they are moving on to plan B, theft of the election. We've already looked at the Florida voter rolls, being cooked even as we speak in exactly the same way as they were in 2000. And we've also seen the story on the memo sent by DeForest Soaries, asking "gee, what WOULD happen if the terra'ists attacked before the election?" Now it seems that Tom Ridge is asking that question, too, seemingly giving Soaries, a Baptist minister (with all of the fair-mindedness that implies), the power to decide whether elections should go forward if the Bushies should somehow mysteriously slip up and allow Al Qaeda to attack again. Gee, I'm sure they'd work real hard to stop it from happening. The story is can be found here and here. Buzzflash also has an editorial.

Now, if that isn't frightening enough, here is an article from the New Republic, detailing requests from our government to Pakistan to finally get serious about capturing Bin Laden so he can be handed over to the US, preferably during the Democratic National Convention. Now, it may come as something of a surprise to the families of the 3000 murdered people on Sept. 11th that the US government has NOT been pushing the Pakistanis to do all that they could to capture Bin Laden before this, but then there was that Iraq war to wage. Who had the time?

So, if you are feeling a little paranoid about the state of democracy in the US, don't worry. The truth is even worse.

Campaign Satire Watch

Here is a fun group, Billionaires for Bush, that dresses in tuxes and furs and takes limos to protest events, to protest "for" Bush. Good for a laugh, they are doing great work.

Scapegoat Watch

Finally, many of you may have noticed that the media has rushed to scapegoat the CIA for the intelligence failures in the hurry to the Iraq war. So says the 9/11 commission, apparently, and so would the Bush administration desperately have you believe. But just because Tenet is out the door is no reason to take this accusation seriously.

Much has been made of Tenet's remark to Bush, reported in Woodward's last book, that the intelligence against Iraq was a "slam dunk". But that was in December of 2002. Cheney had been making outrageous claims about Iraq for at least six months at that point, and Bush had been talking up their nuclear capabilities since that fall. So even if Woodward's story is true, Bush and Cheney had been lying in public for months before that, with no idea of what the actual state of intelligence was. (And we are supposed to pretend that they actually would have cared, in any case.) Bob Somerby points this out.

Somerby also points out that the NIE, the national intelligence estimate which comes from the CIA and is supposed to guide Congress's decisions on matters such as this, was not even prepared until October of 2002 - the administration had not even bothered to ask for one. And then we find that Condi Rice didn't even bother to read the NIE (which, by the way, shot big holes in the administration's warmongering tall tales - read more about THAT scandal at http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh072103.shtml). How the 9/11 commission can blame the CIA on any of the bad decision making is beyond me.

Here is Digby on this point (read this, it's excellent):

George Tenet is not responsible for the fact that the administration's claims that Saddam's WMD and terrorist ties were bogus --- the president, vice president and secretary of defense are. George Tenet is personally responsible to the extent that he was a good little soldier instead of resigning as he should have when he realized that they were just making shit up. That particular form of integrity seems to be as out of fashion as firing people for incompetence.

People note that according to Bob Woodward, Tenet responded to the "skeptical" president that the WMD was a "slam dunk," which is taken as some sort of proof that Bush was hoodwinked against his own better instincts. This is nonsense. As Bob Sommerby has pointed out, this conversation took place in December of 2002, three months after Bush had begun riding his white charger all over the country proclaiming that we had to "disarm Saddam Hussein." He rode that horse to a narrow midterm victory for the GOP, flanked by flags and teary eyed country troubadours to great effect. If he wasn't sure of the evidence, he certainly didn't show any sign of it when he was calling the Democrats a bunch of cowards who didn't care about national security and warning them that they would be punished by the voters if they didn't vote for war.


The situation is summed up nicely in this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow.

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