April 04, 2004

The Book on Bush

Another book I finished reading Friday night while I sat for an hour waiting for Justin's track team to return to the school is "The Book on Bush" by Eric Alterman and Mark Green. I previously reviewed (and really liked) Alterman's "What Liberal Media?", and like that book, this one is a thorough, well-documented and extremely compelling case. I also quoted an excerpt about Bush's personality from "The Book on Bush" here a couple of weeks ago.

For example, all the stuff now coming to everyone's attention as a result of Richard Clarke's new book and his testimony before the 9/11 panel is right there, chapter and verse, in thorough detail in "The Book on Bush", written and released months ago. Of course, the authors go further into chilling detail, like in this passage about the terror warnings put out by the administration shortly after 9/11:

Recall for a moment the degree of panic Americans experienced in the fall of 2001 following the initial attacks. In early October, the first of at least five envelopes containing deadly anthrax was opened at news organizations in New York and Miami. More mailings arrived at Capitol Hill later that month. Simultaneously, the media reported on possible al Qaeda plots to launch a "dirty bomb", or radiological weapon, in Washington, D.C. Twice that October the attorney general and FBI director went on national television to warn about the possibility of additional attacks.

With alarming consistency administration figures terrified Americans with near-certain, but curiously vague, warnings about upcoming attacks. Vice President Cheney explained that such an attack was "almost a certainty" and "not a matter of if but when". [...]

US authorities issued separate warnings that al Qaeda might be planning to target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. As a Time writer noted of the fearmongering: "Though uncorroborated and vague the terror alerts were a political godsend for an administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for an investigation into the government's mistakes subsided."

Makes you wonder what they'll try to do this time to shut down the investigation. You know they haven't exhausted all of their options yet. Not nearly. Alterman continues on the credibilty of the warnings:

Indeed, the national security historian John Prados found "ample reason to suspect that some of these recent warnings of terrorist threats have been made for political purposes." In the case of alleged "dirty bomber" Abdullah al Muhajir -- a former Chicago gang member who was born Jose Padilla -- Prados notes that the subject was apprehended on May 8. "A desire to allay public fears should have led to an immediate announcement of the arrest. Instead the act was kept secret, allowing Donald Rumsfeld to have his cake and eat it too: The administration could raise the specter of al Qaeda nuclear attacks while not revealing that the man who constituted the threat was already in custody. Thus the arrest was only revealed when it offered maximum opportunity for turning attention away from inquiries into what went wrong before 9-11."

I know, I know, shocking stuff. The Bush administration actually putting politics above what's good for the country. Whodathunkit? Then there's the recklessness of the war itself, ostensibly fought to make America safer, but the intelligence we had suggested that invading Iraq would only put us in more danger and make desperate actions by Saddam more likely. As it was, he was contained. Not a happy ending, but it worked for a long time. Bush was so eager to kick some ass, though, that he avoided obvious precautions:

Before the war began, according to a secret report released by the White House as part of its postwar propaganda offensive, the CIA and other agencies were perhaps most concerned with the danger that Iraq "probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the U.S. homeland if Baghdad feared an attack." The agency even believed that Hussein was likely to use biological weapons in this case and had instructed his intelligence service to do so. The Bushites went ahead with the war anyway, leading one to the conclusion that either they did not believe their own intelligence reports or they were so committed to attacking Iraq that they were willing to risk the possibility of biological attacks against the United States in order to achieve their aim.

Reckless. Malign. Dishonest. Mean. Divisive. Cynical. Corrupt. That's the kind of administration in charge of this country right now. It is supremely amazing to witness the contempt they hold for the American people, especially the Moron Americans who still support them.

Posted by Observer at April 4, 2004 07:54 AM

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