Reliving the September 11, another wave of memories of that day....The headline is perhaps, even more revealing:
Pentagon Releases Video of Plane Hitting Building on 9/11.The video assuredly does not show a plane hitting the Pentagon.
With the Bush administration under assault for their flagrant and now exposed intrusions into Americans' privacy, failing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and polls numbers now in the 20's, a wave of 9/11 memories is exactly what was thought was needed now. To the White House, it has been clear for sometime that the justification for all the secret programs, executive orders and Congress-subverting signing statements needed to be re-established in minds of the American public.
Less than a week after USA Today broke the story of yet another secret NSA telephone monitoring program, this one "drift-netting" millions of domestic phones calls, a scan of media outlets reveals that, other than George Bush claiming "we do not listen to domestic phone calls," the story has all but evaporated from the general reportage. Practically nothing about Iraq is obvious, despite a fierce fire fight yesterday that resulted in another downed helipcopter (pg. A12 of the NY Times). At Fox, we are treated to breathless accounts of polygamists gone wild, soccer hazings, the Duke rape case, 'Da Vinci' protests, alligators on the rampage, another missing cruise passenger, Ward Churchill misconduct, and Hugo Chavez taking a wizz on the White House again.
In place of any significant follow-ups on the NSA issue, enormous discussions of Bush's immigration speech and the Flight 77 video release have crowded out secret surveillance programs and wars. And while the motivation for the release of the 9/11 video is patently obvious, the immigration discussion now enthralling an easily distracted media and its attendant chattering class is something that has been on the back burning for sometime -- on slow burn -- just waiting for the proper time for Bush to finally enter the fray and really stir things up. With recent approval numbers in some cases hitting 29%, that time appears to be now.
Even the "impending threat" that Iran supposedly posed to Israel and, by proxy, the United States, has lost its appeal, or rather, has been displaced by a more localised, homegrown threat. Though Dick Cheney may yet harbour glorious, bomb-laden visions of an attack on Iran, as news that military action was becoming more and more of a possibility, a sense that Americans were of no mind for yet more war became redolent. An insurgency of brown people pouring across a barely restricted border would come to be portrayed as the latest threat to America. Though we have heard neither Bush nor the Republican Congress fret so vocally about illegal immigration for most of Bush's time in office, with six months until the 2006 elections and with Republicans at all levels fearing lost seats and possibly one or both of their Congressional majorities, immigration would be the designated go-to issue that would drum up a conservative base that hopefully comprised more than just fundamentalists twitching about gay marriage and abortion. Of course, Bush's tack in this matter should not surprise us. This White House knows not how to address any problem except with the pointed barrel of a gun, and Bush's proposal to militarize the border by sending some 6,000 troops there has been met with a wave of criticism from, not only Democrats and Republicans, but border security officials themselves as being either inadequate or entirely useless.
Nonetheless, national attention has been redirected and strenuously so. The White House does not appear to know what to do about illegal immigration. Bush's "plan" hardly appears to be much of a plan at all. But the effect of it has been sufficient to steer a great deal of attention away from increasing revelations about White House complicity in Iraqi intelligence failures, failing war efforts and attending military criticism, NSA surveillance and monitoring programs, and even Iran's nuclear program, the previous grave threat of the week.
The Bush administration thrives on threat or at least perceived threat and it is something they will not relenquish, it being one of two arrows in their meager quiver, the "memory of 9/11" being the other. Filled as it is with political and corporate cronies, they know they do not possess the policy competence to effect real, long term solutions. But it should be clear at this point that this administration is really not interested in solutions to anything. They simply want to retain the power of the White House and Congress (such as it is under Bush) and their best and only way to do that is to play up threats at every necessity and hope no one notices that, as far as actual governance is concerned, they have no idea what their doing. The raison d'etre of the Bush White House has never been about actual governance.