Sunday, September 11, 2005

George W. Bush has presided over three national debacles

Eric Margolis: 'George W. Bush has presided over three national debacles: 9/11, the war in Iraq, and now Katrina's destruction'
Posted on Sunday, September 11 @ 09:57:03 EDT
This article has been read 569 times.
By Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun
After the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington four years ago today, U.S. President George Bush insisted "there was no way we knew they were coming." Just before the attacks, the White House cut spending on anti-terrorism.
Last week, Bush insisted, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breaching of the (New Orleans) levees." Last year, the administration cut spending on levee heightening.
Welcome to no-fault government.
We now know from administration insiders that the Bush White House and National Security Council received a stream of warnings of imminent al-Qaida attack but were asleep on guard duty. A "black" surveillance operation run by U.S. Army intelligence inside the U.S. reportedly identified 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta in early 2000 and warned he was plotting to use civilian aircraft in a massive terrorist attack.
But the Sept. 11 Congressional Commission -- a shameless political whitewash -- claimed there was no evidence of Atta or his plans. Not a single Bush administration official was held to account.
A federal commission warned flooding of New Orleans was the third gravest disaster facing America. But as Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast, the White House remained fixated, as ever, on its faux war on terrorism. The main National Guard units of the three Gulf states were in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Compare the humiliating New Orleans hurricane fiasco with a powerful typhoon that lashed Japan last week. More than 300,000 people were efficiently evacuated by that government from coastal areas. There was no panic, disorder or looting.
The Bush administration has now presided over three national debacles: 9/11; the $6.5-billion-monthly, unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and now, strike three, New Orleans.
Yet the White House claims the right and duty to bring good government to benighted foreign nations. Nation-building begins at home. Better U.S. troops should bring clean water and food to the poor blacks of the American South.
The 9/11 attacks plunged normally decent, humane America into a period of temporary madness. Beating war drums allowed the White House to usurp national power, paralyzing the other two arms of government, Congress and the courts. America's democratic system stopped working.
Anyone who opposed the war or criticized its promoter, Bush, was branded a traitor. Mainstream media became a mouthpiece for the White House and war party. The Orwellian Patriot Act was enacted to curtail liberties and free speech.
National war fever and the lust for revenge that followed the 9/11 attacks allowed a small group of closet totalitarians, a cabal of neoconservatives and end-of-world religious fanatics to assume a dominant role in the Bush administration. They hijacked its foreign policy, and steadily pushed the U.S. into war.
We now know the Iraq invasion was based on lies. Those CIA veterans, regional experts and veteran journalists (like this writer) who dared oppose the Big Lie campaign were scourged and often silenced.
None of the media pundits who promoted the Iraq war and misled the public lost their jobs.
By next spring, Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost at least $260 billion (US). Add some $200 billion for 9/11; and now a $100-billion-plus cleanup bill for Katrina, and even the mighty America is staggering under huge financial blows. These, and Bush's reckless deficit spending, are producing an onrushing tsunami of inflation.
We may even be seeing the fulfillment of Osama bin Laden's oft-stated strategic plan, begun by the 9/11 attacks, of goading the U.S. into overseas wars that bleed it financially until it can no longer afford to deploy power across the globe. Bush swaggered right into this trap.
Final irony: Iraq's oil exports plummeted because of the U.S. invasion, contributing to today's shortages and high prices. Consider this when next refilling your car.
Copyright © 2005, Canoe Inc.
Reprinted from The Toronto Sun: