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Who Is the Enemy?

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One of the lesser-known administration justifications for wholesale, illegal NSA spying is the argument that the domestic United States became a theater of war after 9/11. The fact that this is a dream come true for rightwing interests is merely a coincidence""in the same way and to the same degree that the culture war is merely a metaphor.

Unfortunately, fundamentalists are noted for their literalism. As far as Jerry Falwell was concerned on September 14, 2001, the people who deserved the blame for the attacks on America were "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make them an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way"""that is to say, all the religious right's domestic political enemies. Ridiculous as that sounded at the time""bringing condemnation from both GWB and Chuck Hagel""the list of traitors is only growing.

Democracy Now! reported this week that a California woman was fired on the spot when her boss spotted an Air America bumper sticker on her car. "The country is on high alert," the man said, "for all I know you're al Qaeda." She's lucky he didn't call the FBI or the Pentagon's anonymous tip line: 1-800-CALL-SPY.

The good news is that, five years out from the PNACers' Pearl-Harbor-type event, the man on high alert is the exception to the rule. On the contrary, many staunch far-right opinion-makers are becoming openly uneasy. William F. Buckley, for one, has written an editorial stating flatly that the war in Iraq cannot be won. True, he blames the morally deficient Iraqis for their inability to accept a shot at democratic freedom, but nevertheless.

Francis Fukuyama, one of the architects of the neocon project, has renounced it. It has evolved, he said, "into something I can no longer support."

At the money end of the neocon coalition, Barron's magazine recently concluded that Bush has quite possibly committed impeachable offenses. The editorial warned that "If we don't discuss the [illegal spy] program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy""in the mirror."

The CATO libertarians, including Andrew Sullivan, have had their own rude awakening. "[That] the Thatcher/Reagan legacy that many of us grew to love and support would end this way [with Bush] is an astonishing paradox and a great tragedy." Sullivan also accused Bush of being a socialist, which I find enlightening: if that's what he thinks socialism is, no wonder he's against it. I would be too. Obviously, to a certain stripe of conservative, socialism is tantamount to totalitarianism.

Not that I have anything to crow about. I was just as painfully deceived by my own political illusions. I felt that Bill Clinton did pull off a working synthesis of views. His huge surpluses were evidence of the rightness of his thinking. I ignored the fact that the fundamentalists weren't going away. More importantly, I ignored the fact that Clinton was enacting a program of neo-liberal globalization, which has culminated in the reign of terror of George W. Bush.

The attempted sale of our ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, following the ordeals of Hurricane Katrina and September 11, points out in neon colors this administration's deliberate cultivation of disaster. One can say, without fear of being labeled a conspiracy theorist, and without fear of contradiction by anyone willing to be governed by objective facts, that at the very least the Bush administration has made the terrorist's job infinitely easier.

Economic globalization is the true worldwide terrorist, at the service of concentrated corporate and individual wealth, ruthlessly pursuing its own interests over human rights and human life.

And now, finally, it has come home. Sullivan's fellow libertarian, Bruce Bartlett, author of Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, said that many conservatives shared his very low opinion of George Bush, but they don't like to think about it because "they know this White House is very vindictive."

Vindictive seems too mild a word. Those who disagree with George Bush about exactly who our enemy is, are about to become the enemy themselves. His consigliare, Alberto Gonzales, has trotted out the old red-baiting notion of a fifth column, a movement of citizens who "sympathize" with the enemy. This is an extremely bold move, given that a large majority of the American people""and even of the active military""are against the war.

It's only logical that whistleblowers would be at the top of the list, including FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who came forward with some extremely serious allegations immediately following 9/11. Edmonds alleges

Information [was] omitted and covered up regarding documented and confirmed case of a long-term FBI Informant and Asset who provided the FBI with specific information and warnings in April and June regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Ms. Edmonds is such a high security risk that an interview she did with 60 Minutes has been retroactively classified Top Secret, even though the program has already aired.

Stephen Heller is another hot target. Heller passed documents from Diebold's law offices outlining the various ways that corporation had broken California law. Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley claims that he had to charge Heller with three felonies because "attorney-client privilege is sacrosanct."

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Patricia Goldsmith is a member of Long Island Media Watch, a grassroots free media and democracy watchdog group. She can be reached at plgoldsmith@optonline.net.
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