The Campaign for Global War

[This is an edited version of a column from 2004, still applicable.]

 

John F. Kerry wanted terrorism to be reduced to a nuisance.  George W. Bush was and is hyping and nudging terrorism to become a world war. 

 

That, in a nutshell, is the monstrous situation facing ordinary people in America today. We have someone in the White House doing something so demented, dementia with a case of giantism to boot, that normal public discourse almost contains no words to characterize it.

 

As time passes, Bush faces an increasing possibility of impeachment. More and more information is coming out that demonstrates that every argument used to justify invading Iraq was a pretext. The pretexts, furthermore, were developed and coordinated both inside and outside the administration, with private individuals including media persons as well as government officials.

 

Meanwhile, prudent undertakings that could improve safety or reduce vulnerabilities are being neglected at best and actively undermined at worst. Rather than adopt intelligent diplomacy, the White House has thrown gasoline on the flames, partly by making offensively provocative personnel appointments. Rather than secure domestic sites, the administration has neglected to safeguard borders and ports, nuclear and chemical sectors. Genuine security experts still point out major gaps in aviation security, with AVSEC breaches continuously reported.

 

Rather than adopt consistent measures to stop up security breaches including financial chicanery from top to bottom, the administration turns a strangely blind eye to managerial ties that bind contractors in even our most sensitive sectors to foreign businesses and foreign governments.

 

That anyone like Bush could pretend to protect and defend the American people is Orwellian, although not merely Orwellian. He’s using his biggest weaknesses as weapons, the old guerrilla tactic in reverse (without being an underdog), since in “wartime” genuinely patriotic individuals are reluctant to point out lapses. Like envious Iago the petty, he traps critics with their own virtues.

 

The tactic is an assault on the polity, penalizing most those people who most care about participatory democracy. It benefits someone who wishes to undo every achievement left by the New Deal and producing a large and self-confident middle class, including a strong Social Security system, corporate regulation including a Securities and Exchange Commission, and retirement pensions and health insurance for ordinary people.

 

Domestic policy and foreign policy are often discussed as though they were separate. In this administration, the two are blatantly part of one picture. The objective of treating 19 skyjackers as though they were the late Soviet Union is the same as the objective of tearing down the economic safety net at home:  these guys are pocketing our peace dividend.

 

One ironic result is that immense pressures have been piled upon the general public, the press and the loyal opposition, to sweep 9/11 under the rug. Vice President Cheney said many months ago on Meet the Press that we should put 9/11 behind us (a statement overlooked by major media outlets). The White House opposed forming any investigative commission as long as it could, stonewalled every congressional and commission request for key information, and is opposing 9/11 litigation to prevent discovery. Individuals willing to enrage the public by undermining every kind of investigation, through any avenue, are not going to give up easily.

 

Eventually, thinking people in the news media and in academia and in public office are going to have to face the key question: why would an administration so eager to exploit 9/11 be so intent not to investigate it?

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