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Superpower Gone Bad

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"We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counter-weapons." --President Kennedy at American University, 1963


George Bush has been appeasing the 9-11 fugitives since the day he declared his military response to the 9-11 attacks a "crusade." Nothing could have satisfied bin-Laden's deadly provocation more than having his attacks met with such a validating response from the 'leader of the free world.' No longer was the opportunistic terrorist a mere murderer; the 9-11 orchestrator was elevated by Bush to an adversary recognized by the U.S. government as equal or greater than all of the nations our country had spent decades constructing elaborate, powerful defenses against.

It wasn't good enough for Bush to just pursue the 9-11 suspects until capture. For the White House cabal of Cold War dinosaurs, the attack was a validation of their paranoid fear of enemies everywhere who, they've convinced themselves, are jealous and resentful of our way of life -- our freedoms -- and are just waiting for any opportunity to tear them down and replace the values of our democratic society with their own aberrant ideology; much like our government's reflexive response to communism and communists as monumental dangers to the 'free world.'

President Kennedy, in 1963, offered his insight into the fears he supposed our adversary, the Soviet Union, harbored which might mirror our own:

"It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims," Kennedy told the students at American University, "such as the allegation that " American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars…that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union…(and that) the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries…(and) to achieve world domination."

"It is sad to read these Soviet statements - - to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning," Kennedy said, "a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodations as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats."

Effective with Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq, fears from residents in the Middle East-- no less vivid than Kennedy expressed in 1963 -- of the unleashing of an American, imperialistic crusade for world dominance which would enslave and repress their economic and political aspirations became reality. Effective with the illegal invasion, occupation and overthrow of the sovereign government of Iraq, and the occupation of Afghanistan, George Bush validated bin-Laden's justifications about an imperialist America bent on the destruction of the Muslim way of life and the imposition of our own aberrant ideology through the deadly force of our military.

By the time Bush decided to push the U.N. aside and invade Iraq -- even as the administration advantaged themselves of U.N. resolutions as justification -- the hunger among the cabal of former military industry executives for conquest was barely satiated by the ordinance and materials which were squandered with abandon in the initial ham-handed pursuit of the 9-11 perpetrators, and later in ongoing skirmishes with the Taliban.

The only major obstacle the Bush administration could see to their strident military advance into Iraq was Saddam's army -- and they'd disbanded and gone into hiding. 'Shock and awe' was the order of the day, nonetheless. They thinned out the Pentagon's candy store and, lo and behold, bombs and weaponry were big business again. Deployed troops need supplies, so contractors were brought in. Of course we would have to rebuild the infrastructure our bombs needlessly destroyed, so more contractors, more pay offs for the cabal . . . a regular cottage industry.

In his first inaugural, George Bush declared that, in his view, America was "one of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer."

In two years however, he would abandon all restraint and warning to zealously persuade an insecure nation to engage in a war with Iraq; admonishing Americans that the "peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people" now depended on them. He sought to reassure a skeptical opposition and world community in his declaration that he had no ambition to possess Iraq. He proclaimed: "We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people."

So dubious was the threat posed by Iraq, so tenuous was the distinction between the enemy and those "oppressed" who were to be liberated, that Bush was reduced to praising Iraq's citizens for their "great civilization" and for the "religious faiths they practice," and at the same time, scorning them as 'enemies' who had "no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality."

But the invasion of Iraq wasn't a confident expression of a secure nation defending freedom or promoting democracy. It was a reflexive reaction of fear by the White House, in response to the insecurity Bush felt after his administration had allowed such an uncomplicated, yet, historically deadly attack to take place on their watch. Bush, along with his British toady Blair, felt the example of their invasion and occupation of Iraq would serve to "draw a line in the sand" and intimidate others in the region from attempting any future attacks.

It was the ultimate expression of the fear Bush displayed right after the 9-11 attacks in zig-zagging around the nation in Air Force One to, as Karen Hughes put it, "keep out of harm's way." It was that same fear, right after the attacks, that compelled Bush and his republican enablers in Congress to approve expansions of the Executive's power to expand their terror war against domestic targets.

It's a similar fear which led Congress to legalize the illegal tortures Bush and his henchmen used against terror suspects as the administration scrambled to prevent the details of their sordid renditions and detentions from being exposed in testimony to the damning effect the photos from Abu-Ghraib had on our nation's reputation around the world.

"We can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard," Kennedy said of the Soviets. "And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people - - but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

"The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war," Kennedy said. "We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough - - more than enough - - of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it."

Years after waging a war he started -- by choice -- Bush is still not ready to stop. As President Kennedy noted of his generation in 1963, this generation of Americans have had enough --more than enough -- of his contrived aggression against Iraqis behind the unprecedented sacrifices of our soldiers. Bush is afraid. He's said that he fears that if he stops, the horror he's unleashed will confront him (us) here at home.

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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