I don't think there is anything more unsettling when considering the Bush presidency than reflecting on the fact that so many Americans voted for him, twice. Even the 30% or so who still say they support him these days leave more than a few of us wondering who among us in our community or in our workplace could be so ignorant, or more corrupted. There hasn't been a more dangerous administration in modern history -- not just because of their ruthless grabs for power; not just because of the laws they break and ignore, claiming false authority; not just because of their willingness to sacrifice an endless number of our nation's defenders for their autocratic militarism; but because of the way Americans have virtually shrugged off the abuses and allowed Bush to continue unabated.
It was fear which compelled many Americans to rally behind the man who mindlessly presided over the most pernicious attack on our nation since Pearl Harbor. Bush was in the driver's seat when our nation was hit on 9-11, but we kept him at the helm anyway out of many Americans' blind conviction that nothing our government could produce in response to the attacks would be more pernicious than the actions of the perpetrators they entrusted him to pursue.
We were an America whose seemingly unassailable defenses had been breached; but we trusted anyway that, whatever letdown of our guard had occurred, there was someone, somewhere in our bureaucracy who would guide our response and administer justice to re-secure our unsettled nation.
"Afghan Taliban are always welcome, they belong to this country. . . . They are the sons of this soil," Karzai told reporters. "As they repent, as they regret, as they want to come back to their own country, they are welcome."
The Afghan government was overthrown and a U.S. compliant one installed, but the U.S. is no more secure now from the influence of the original terror suspects than was assumed at the outset of our military deployment there. Not only haven't the Taliban and their supporters been eliminated or neutralized, but the original terror suspects have spent the past five years since the 9-11 attacks taunting the U.S. as the mere fact of their freedom from prosecution has influenced and motivated countless wannabe combatants to challenge the U.S., our interests, and our allies wherever the opportunity presents itself.
Bush's war with Iraq was the invention of a banished ruling class - enriched by the selling of the influence of their positions in government - who had nursed their broken ambitions in exile, and had instinctively constructed their sympathetic webs of wealth to obstruct the remedies of the reformers and hatch the next generation of world capitalists who would inherit the patronage of the next conservative presidency.
The invasion of Iraq was a clumsy attempt by Bush to usurp the power from a vanquished nation of innocents; a suffering class of people who were already devastated by the bombing of the first war, and by the economic sanctions imposed by the U.N. at the insistence of the U.S., which served to enrich Saddam Hussein and steadily impoverish and starve everyone else.
This administration pulled the nation into war to compensate for, and to draw attention from, their failure to apprehend the ringleader of the attack on the World Trade Center. Bush made the appeal to the nation in a manner which exploited our deepest fears as he warned the nation about the potential for a future Iraqi assault on our country, or on our allies, of a magnitude that would far exceed the devastation of the horrendous suicide attack in New York.
"The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East," Bush told us before he invaded. "It has a deep hatred of America and our friends and it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaida," he said in his address to the nation.
It was either out of ignorance or a deliberate lie that Bush failed to note that the only 'al-Qaeda' in Iraq before the invasion was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who enjoyed protection from Saddam's stated objections to his presence among the Kurdish fundamentalists, Ansar al-Islam, in northern Iraq by the American-enforced, no-fly zone; a U.S. safe haven for Iraqi Kurds.
It was not out of concern for the slim thread to al-Qaeda in Iraq that al-Zarqawi represented to the U.S. which compelled them to invade. The would-be terrorist provided the administration with the element of fear they had sparked from the flames of 9-11. They knew that such a diversion to invade Iraq couldn't be sold without linking their scheme to the lingering insecurity over their failure to catch the perpetrators. Diverting to Iraq not only provided a way to assuage the publics' anxiety over the inability to catch the suspects, it also allowed the Bush regime to claim to be fighting 'terror' against a presumably conquerable country; "a slam-dunk." But, along with all of th other justifications used by Bush and his minions for invading Iraq, the al-Qaeda linkage to Saddam was a deliberate lie.
Another amazing phenomenon in the life of this administration has been their open closeness with the most depraved, reckless, demagogues among their conservative supporters. It's of no surprise from this America-hating administration to find them publishing the vice-president's interview with American-hating Rush Limbaugh on the White House web page. And it is of no surprise that Cheney took the opportunity to continue the attempt to wrap their nation-building disaster in Iraq around their self-justifying lies about a danger to the U.S. from combatants there who've taken on the moniker of al-Qaeda.
Speaking of al-Zarqawi, Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh that the terrorist "took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaida operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June . . . this is al Qaeda operating in Iraq. And as I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq," he said
"There's no way you can segment out and say, well, we'll fight the war on terror in Pakistan, or in Afghanistan, but we can separate Iraq, that's not really in any way, shape, or form, related," Cheney said, "That's just dead wrong. Bin Laden, himself, has said, this is a central battle in the war on terror."