The specter of an international terrorist threat is a fabrication of the Bush Administration. They have invented this myth and promoted it with relentless propaganda, explicitly in order to justify war profiteering, constraint of civil liberties, domestic spying and government secrecy.
The ‘reasonable’ opposition has accused the Bush Administration of fighting terrorism too aggressively, of compromising Constitutional liberties in their vendetta against terrorism. But in fact Bush&Co have compromised nothing. A domestic police state is their agenda, and the loud proclamations about terrorism are merely a means of achieving that end.
There. I’ve said it.
I heard Bernie Sanders on Air America last week, doing his Friday appearance with Thom Hartmann.
Sanders was proud to be the first Senator announcing opposition to Bush’s appointment of Mukasey as Attorney General. In Judiciary Committee hearings, Mukasey would not make a clear statement that he opposed waterboarding as a cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the constitution.
“Let me be clear. Of course the United States government must do everything that it can to protect the American people from the dangerous threat of terrorism, but we can do that in ways that are effective and consistent with the Constitution and the civil liberties it guarantees.” [from Sanders's Congressional web page]
Sanders is probably the best Senator we’ve got — an independent from Vermont, a former Socialist, who still refuses to join the Democratic party. He’s one of a kind. Bernie is an outspoken critic of Administration policies, and for this he deserves our thanks and support. So it is all the more disappointing when he won’t stand up to the Administration’s tortured view of reality.
Paul Krugman (with Frank Rich) is one of two remaining New York Times columnists who regularly call the Administration on its lies. Krugman’s column this week was about fearmongering: He lambasts the Right, and reminds us “there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism.” But then he concluded the column saying,
“Just to be clear Al Qaeda is a real threat...” [NYTimes column]
This is the legacy of six years of Bush harping on terrorism in every speech, while the opposition focuses on his boneheaded policies rather than on his distortions of reality. It has saturated the minds of Americans of all persuasions that something has to be done about terrorism; after 9-11 the world will never be the same, and anyone who says otherwise just ‘doesn’t get it’.
Bernie Sanders won't stand up to the hype about terrorism. Not Sanders or John Conyers or Russ Feingold. Not the New York Times. Not even The Nation or the New York Review or In These Times. There is no one in the Democratic Party and no one in the mainstream media who is willing to say that the Emperor is naked. Terrorism is a bogeyman, an excuse to keep the country in fear and to creep ever closer to martial law; to channel billions of dollars into military contracts, to suspend constitutional rights; a way to keep the entire country intimidated and paralyzed, unable to join with our fellow citizens and put a stop to what is happening.
If the American people learned what was going on behind closed White House doors, we would bring the Administration down in short order. Secrecy is absolutely essential to the continuity of the Bush regime. Secrecy is justified by our national need to fight a war against terrorism.
A domestic surveillance program is awfully convenient for an Administration desperate to keep the opposition from congealing. Warrantless wiretapping, political spying, and infiltration of the political opposition are important tools for maintaining despots in power. The Administration has no interest in covert action against terrorists, but they well appreciate the importance of suppressing political dissent.
Meanwhile, we have an ‘opposition’ party and a ‘liberal’ press too brainwashed or too intimidated to tell the truth. (Or maybe they’re just too corporate.) The Administration says that some sacrifices of civil liberties, some compromises with the Constitution are necessary for an effective War against Terror. Our best representatives will defend the Constitution and even fight for saner priorities, but they will not impute Bush’s motives. They will not name the Administration’s crime.
Restrictions of liberties are not being proposed in order to more effectively oppose terrorism. Rather, the police state tactics are necessary to consolidate the power of the Regime, and terrorism is being promoted as an excuse to make the transition palatable to the American public.
And what about 9-11? A genuine response to the lessons of 9-11 must begin with recognition that all we know about those attacks and their connection to Al Qaeda has been filtered through the Administration. We know what they want us to know. Anyone who earnestly seeks the lessons of 9-11 will want to begin by declassifying thousands of hours of Congressional testimony. Video footage of the Pentagon explosion, audio records of stewardesses on hijacked airliners, and primary records of air traffic controllers have all been seized and classified, or destroyed outright. We the public have no primary evidence to substantiate the official account.
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