Cheney’s Scare Tactics
Vice President Dick Cheney recently warned that if Americans don’t make the right decision on November 2, it could result in another terrorist attack:
It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.
Pan to Richard Clarke, who wrote (in Against All Enemies, p. 244):
In the end, what was unique about George Bush’s reaction to terrorism was his selection as an object lesson for potential state sponsors of terrorism, not a country that had been engaging in anti-U.S. terrorism but one that had not, Iraq. It is hard to imagine another President making that choice.
Bush and Cheney say they deserve reelection because they are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we won’t have to fight them in America. More jargon and verbiage, despite the fact that they invaded Iraq unconstitutionally, or that they failed to reduce America’s vulnerability to attack, or that there have been far more major terrorist attacks by al Qaeda and its clones in the three years since September 11 than in the three years prior to those attacks.
Meanwhile, you can forget about Bush or Cheney dealing with the underlying causes of terrorism – the rising Islamist ideology, or the security vulnerabilities in a highly integrated global society. It is, as Clarke has noted, as if Osama bin Laden had been engaging in long-distance mind control over George Bush, chanting “Invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq.” Substitute “Iran” for “Iraq” and you have the latest obsession in the current administration.
For many Americans, the federal government has become a symbol of someone attacking rather than protecting their civil liberties. Despite Bush’s “War on Terrorism,” Americans are more vulnerable to terrorism than ever. Our borders are just as porous and our chemical plants just as unprotected as before 9/11. The same Bush who in 2000 charged that American peace-keeping missions had overstretched the U.S. Army has mobilized for extended service most of the maneuver brigades in the Army, not to mention the National Guard and Reserves personnel. As reenlistments plummet, talk of a draft will turn into action, especially if North Korea continues to threaten us with war. The “humble” foreign policy of Bush the Candidate has gone belly up. The U.S. is now looked upon as the world’s superbully, and even Mr. Bush is now clamoring for international mechanisms that he once condemned.
I once heard it said that a horse that has been led out of a burning building will by a strange obstinacy sometimes break loose from its rescuer and dash back into the building again to perish in the flames. By the same sort of stubborn tendency the neoconservative leadership in our nation is moving us back toward the precipice. As well try to instruct cancer out of a man’s body as to try and teach these neo-imperialists the error of their ways.
Mr. Cheney was right about one thing, however. It is indeed essential that in eight weeks from now we make the right decision. As Americans, it is up to all of us to be as well-informed about the issues as we possibly can be, and to hold our elected officials to their pledge to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
September 9, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book is Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.