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UQ Wire: The Attack Has Been Spectacular

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Unanswered Questions : Thinking for ourselves.

The Attack Has Been Spectacular
A Commentary

by Maureen Farrell
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"The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning."-- CIA Intelligence Report for President Bush, July, 2001 (60 Days Prior to 9/11) [See... LINK ]

"President Bush and his top advisers were informed by the CIA early last August that terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden had discussed the possibility of hijacking airplanes." - The Washington Post, May 16, 2002 [See... LINK ]

"Family members of victims of the terror attacks say the White House has smothered every attempt to get to the bottom of the outrageous intelligence failures that took place on its watch."--, June 18, 2003 [See... LINK ]

"If I did anything like this as a policeman, and killed 3,000 people, with this much evidence against me, I'd spend 100,000 years in jail." -- former New York City police officer Bruce DeCell, the Nation, June 19, 2003  [See... LINK ]

* * *

On September 11, 2001, when most were too numb to contemplate much of anything, Newsweek told us what to expect. "As a small army of fire fighters struggled to put out the flames at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington," Peg Tyre wrote, "federal law enforcement agencies had already begun marshaling agents, readying them for what promises to be the largest criminal investigation in the history of the nation." [See... LINK ] Nearly two years (and two wars) later, however, this huge investigation hasn't panned out. Attempts to uncover  intelligence failures have been routinely thwarted; Halliburton has accomplished more in Afghanistan [See... LINK ] and Iraq [See... LINK ] than Bush's "dead or alive" doctrine; and sadly, the CIA's "spectacular attack" pertains not only to the trauma of 9/11, but to subsequent assaults on Americans' faith and trust.

Regardless how anyone frames it, the White House duped us. From "they hate us for our freedoms" to "solid evidence" of Al-Qaeda/Iraq connections, the Administration skirted some issues and manipulated information on others. In short, Bush Inc. lied and pressured others to do the same. The game plan succeeded, however, as polls repeatedly indicated that more than half of all U.S. citizens were consistently conned into believing Iraq was an immediate threat and that Saddam was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. Meanwhile, millions of well-intentioned souls, unaware of how deeply Bush cronies are lining their war-profiteering pockets [See... LINK ], still trust promises of Iraq's "liberation" -- even if hourly ambushes on US soldiers [See... LINK ] suggest Iraqis aren't exactly dancing in the streets.

Nicholas Kristof, fresh from a trip to Iraq, told NPR's Terry Gross that women and Christians are especially vulnerable now that Iraq's Islamic fundamentalists "are winning" [See... LINK ], while Canada's Globe and Mail reported that Iraq's children are in even greater peril -- with Iraq's child mortality rate, already astronomical after 12 years of sanctions, possibly "even higher since Saddam Hussein's regime fell and the United States took over governing the country." [See... LINK ] Given the circumstances, Iraqi rage, and the subsequent attacks, should have been foreseen. "It was predictable," Iraqi political scientist Saad al-Jawwad told the Guardian. "To any man or any woman or anybody who's living in despair what could he do? He has nothing left but to carry arms and defy the people who are here occupying his country and doing nothing for him or his family. Where is democracy? Nonexistent. Where is stability? Nonexistent. Where's electricity? Where's water?'' [See... LINK ]

The attack has been spectacular, hasn't it?

Despite ample evidence that Bush misled the nation into a pre-planned war (and denounced anyone who tried to paint a realistic portrait of the aftermath), sets of razor-sharp teeth that bared for the slightest Clinton transgression have rescinded, and assorted bootlickers are now busily concocting doozies to cushion the Deceiver in Chief from blame. "Bush's reasons for invading Iraq seem to contradict reality," the Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman recently wrote. "But if those claims do prove false, he won't be the first U.S. leader who has skewed evidence." If those claims prove false?

Polman's "thank you, sir, may I have another?" tone notwithstanding, he chronicles a few of Bush's more blatant lies, including the president's Sept. 7, 2002 assertion that "Iraq was 'six months away' from building a nuclear weapon" ("I don't know what more evidence we need," Bush said, citing a report that was apparently drafted in Brigadoon); his Oct. 7 charge that Iraq was planning "missions targeting the United States" via unmanned aerial vehicles (an impossibility, given the UAVs' limited range); the infamous State of the Union address in which Bush claimed Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Niger (though the CIA had long since told Cheney's office the documents containing this information were forged); and Bush's assertion that Iraq was trying to buy "high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production" (also discredited beforehand). [See... LINK ] Polman missed several other fibs, however, including one of the most creative -- that American soldiers had found Iraq's weather balloons of mass destruction. [See... LINK ]

The attack has been spectacular, hasn't it?

Nonetheless, Senators Jim Jeffords and Robert Byrd were among those who detected Bush's dissembling early on. "I am very disturbed by President Bush's determination that the threat from Iraq is so severe and so immediate that we must rush to a military solution. I do not see it that way," Jeffords said in October, 2002. [See... LINK ] "We are rushing into war without fully discussing why, without thoroughly considering the consequences, or without making any attempt to explore what steps we might take to avert conflict," Byrd warned. [See... LINK ]

But they, like other conscientious patriots, were up against a rising tide of coercion. Jeffords was subjected to frequent briefings by Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, President Bush and other top officials; Dick Cheney breathed down CIA necks [See... LINK ]; and the White House reportedly pressured a State Department chemical and biological weapons expert to "tailor his analysis on Iraq and other matters to conform with the Bush administration's views." [See... LINK ]  General Wesley Clark was also encouraged to engage, sans evidence, in Sept. 11 spin. "I got a call on 9/11," Clark told Tim Russert "I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. . . This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.'" [See... LINK ]

The attack has been spectacular, hasn't it?

This assault didn't come solely from the White House, however. Last December, the Guardian's Brian Whitaker wrote an article on "how the American media [were] softening up public attitudes to war with Iraq," detailing ways the Washington Post, Reuters and most specifically, the New York Times' Judith Miller, spread disinformation. [See... LINK ] Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern credited Miller's legendary aluminum tubes scoop with providing the impetus for war -- just as the bogus "babies in incubators" story [See... LINK ] convinced the Senate to vote for war in 1991 "[The administration] looked around after Labor Day and said, "OK, if we're going to have this war, we really need to persuade Congress to vote for it," McGovern told William Rivers Pitt. [See... LINK ] Saying that the Bush administration realized that the hyped al Qaeda-Iraq connection would best resonate with traumatized Americans, this 27 year CIA veteran also concluded that, without reliable evidence, the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency would never "come around" to the administration's view and would "undercut" Bush's agenda. So the administration, McGovern surmised, said, "What have we got? We've got those aluminum tubes!"

Though Daniel Ellsberg implored government insiders to expose Bush's lies [See... LINK ] and Scott Ritter tried to shed light on WMD deceit, they, like "old Europe," were vilified as a chorus of pundits targeted anyone who tried to tell the truth. "Americans broadly agree on two facts about the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq," Daniel Pipes wrote, "its brutality and the danger it poses to themselves, especially the danger of nuclear attack." While few doubted Saddam's cruelty, those who didn't blindly accept mushroom cloud propaganda were smeared on Pipes' tattle tale Web site. [See... LINK ] But like the FBI supervisor who thwarted field agents' attempts to search Zacarias Moussaoui's computer and was later handed the "Presidential Rank of Meritorious Service" award, [See... LINK ] Pipes was nominated by President Bush to the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace.

The attack has been spectacular, hasn't it?

If these incidents weren't sufficiently alarming, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (of which Ray McGovern is a member) speculate that WMDs might be planted in Iraq [See... LINK ]. Bush apologist Andrew Sullivan is holding out, however, hinting that two criticisms of the Bush administration's "exaggerations" (i.e. those concerning Iraq's nuclear capabilities and Saddam/Al Qaeda ties) may be premature. "I think we'll soon know more about both arguments," he added. Others believe we'll know more, too -- most likely in time for the 2004 election. [See... LINK

But even if WMDs aren't found (or planted), the Inquirer's Dick Polman assures that "Americans might overlook Bush's claims because the war in Iraq was brief and had few U.S. casualties." As a matter of course, Polman also compares George Bush's lies to Bill Clinton's, as if saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" is somehow comparable to spilling both blood and treasure. Given that thousands of Iraqis and more than 200 Americans have already lost their lives (even as US soldiers are ambushed and murdered daily) and that the illegal occupation of Iraq is expected to last somewhere between 5 and 60 years, weighing the consequential trauma of Monica's soiled blue dress against the long-term consequences of Bush Doctrine-related fabrications is like wondering if Martha Stewart is as criminally diabolical as John Wayne Gacy.

With uranium sickness [See... LINK ] already a factor and depressed soldiers aching to go home, the number of people who will inevitably suffer from Bush's lies outweighs Clinton's victims on a scale of hundreds of thousands to one. "I've been in the Gulf for five months and I'm tired of all of this," one American soldier told the BBC. "We have become a target now." [See... LINK ]

The attack has been spectacular, hasn't it?

The families of September 11 victims certainly don't appreciate Bush's duplicity and callous opportunism, either. "We've been fighting for nearly 21 months -- fighting the administration, the White House," Monica Gabrielle, whose husband Richard was killed in the World Trade Center, told Salon. "As soon as we started looking for answers we were blocked, put off and ignored at every stop of the way." Admitting that she is "disgusted" that Bush is "[using] Sept. 11 and its victims to justify his agenda," Gabrielle echoed the concerns of Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald was also killed at the World Trade Center. "I sat and listened to the State of the Union speech when Bush mentioned 9/11 12 or 13 times," she said. "At the same time, we were having trouble getting funding for the independent commission."

Despite Dick Cheney's request that the Sept. 11 investigation be limited, the House and Senate's bipartisan joint inquiry's findings were, as the New York Times reported, "far more damaging" than expected and Bush may evoke executive privilege to keep the information under wraps. [See... LINK ] "Bush has done everything in his power to squelch [the September 11] commission and prevent it from happening," one anonymous 911 advocate told Salon. "The Administration, and most politicians, really don't want to get to the bottom of it, because they're all implicated in some way, in too many different areas, for too many years," former New York City cop told Bruce DeCell the Nation. But Newsweek explained the Bush strategy most succinctly: "Even as White House political aides plot a 2004 campaign plan designed to capitalize on the emotions and issues raised by the September 11 terror attacks," Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball wrote, "administration officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle to restrict public disclosure of key events relating to the attacks." [See... LINK ]

The attack has been spectacular, hasn't it?

And so, the most devastating event in recent American history, while serving as a GOP political prop, receives less attention than the Laci Peterson case. The New York Times completely ignored the September 11 commission's latest hearings, while Breitwesier has been booked, and then un-booked, on TV several times. "I'm very disappointed in the press," she told Salon. "I think it's disgusting the independent commission is doing the most important work for this nation and it's not even reported in the New York Times or on the nightly news. I've been scheduled to go on Meet the Press and Hardball so many times and I'm always canceled. Frankly I'd like nothing better than to go head to head with Dick Cheney on Meet the Press. Because somebody needs to ask the questions and I don't understand why nobody is."

Amazingly, the American public, who expected the government to investigate everything from the Titanic disaster to Pearl Harbor, doesn't seem to mind -- and the cascade of events that would have rocked our more scrupulous ancestors are met with disinterest. Never mind the manner in which our president was selected (or the questionable help he received along the way [See... LINK ] [See... LINK ]), in the past two years, the government and media have habitually deceived us; our fears and emotions have been manipulated; investigations into Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force and 9/11 have been stonewalled; bunker governments and secret arrests have barely raised eyebrows; the country is "dangerously unprepared" to handle another terrorist attack; and future elections may, like the last one, be rigged [See... LINK ]. Yet public outcry is reserved for whether Ruben or Clay won "American Idol." 

This apathy is baffling, given that U.S. citizens have never been comfortable with deceit, war profiteering or blatant political posturing. In this topsy-turvy world, Truth has gone AWOL, Justice is secretly detained and the American Way has lost its way. The entire country appears to be in the throes of cognitive dissonance, with long-held beliefs about our national character challenged by facts we'd rather ignore. "The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war," John F. Kennedy promised in a galaxy far, far away. And though we just waged our first full-scale preemptive war on "cooked intelligence" and assorted lies, Americans are already poised for the next preemptive war -- Sept. 11 families and U.S. soldiers be damned.

"I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster," Franklin D. Roosevelt warned as WWII loomed. Yet presidential grandfather Prescott Bush forged lucrative alliances with the Nazis anyway [See... LINK ] -- and war profiteering remains a Bush family tradition. [See... LINK ] Does the public realize this? Do they care? "When Kennedy got his highest rating after the debacle of the Bay of Pigs," Gore Vidal wrote, "he observed, characteristically: 'It would seem that the worse you fu*k up in this job the more popular you get.'" Perhaps that explains Bush's approval ratings? They certainly don't make sense otherwise. But then again, few things do. In many ways, tangible and not, this country isn't recognizable anymore. Take a look around. The CIA was right. The attack has been spectacular indeed.

**** ENDS ****

© Copyright 2003, Maureen Farrell

Maureen Farrell is a writer and media consultant who specializes in helping other writers get television and radio exposure.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.ORG: does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the above article. We present this in the interests of research -for the relevant information we believe it contains. We hope that the reader finds in it inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build bridges between our various investigative communities, towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered questions which now lie before us.

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