NOTE: This article was originally published here on 27 August 2004. Republished for the purpose of newsfeed distribution.
This is the title of James Bovard's new book which I will likely order because I certainly liked its first chapter. I didn't see anything there I had never thought of. However, its excellent narrative is way beyond my level, and I kept thinking to myself as I read it that I wished I could have written such a clear, concise and to-the-point summary of the Bush administrations' numerous problems.
Of 9/11 attacks, Bovard writes,
Bush is wrapping himself in a flag drenched with the blood of Americans who died due to the failure of the federal government he commanded. The Bush reelection campaign is running television ads showing an American flag flying in front of the ruins of the World Trade Center towers and a flag-draped corpse being carried out of Ground Zero by firefighters. The Republicans will hold their national convention in New York days before the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Bush exploits the 9/11 dead while he stonewalls the 9/11 Commission. The Bush reelection team seems convinced that Bush�s actions on that day entitle Bush to rule Americans for four more years.This is the point few have made. Essentially, whether you agree with the official version of the events of that day or not, you've got to acknowledge that the administration's activities prior to the event amount at the very best to gross incompetence, if not participation in the events as some claim. But let us assume that the 9/11 Commission Report is absolutely correct,- even though, as I have said earlier, that is unlikely. The Report pretty much indicates gross intelligence failures, incredible lack of action on the administration's part even in the face of dire warnings, "failure of imagination",- in other words, failure to think outside the box and picture scenarios long detailed in various documents,- in short, the Report lists a whole bunch of reasons why this administration ought to be summarily fired from their jobs, not reelected for another four-year term. If the public perception were not so clouded, they would do their best not to remind us of 9/11; yet, the way it is Bush uses it as a reelection platform and to an extent that approach appears to be successful.
And why is the perception so clouded? The answer is simple: fear. "9/11 changed everything", became the administration's mantra. As Bovard observes,
After 9/11, almost every expansion of government became a coup for homeland security. When Bush announced plans to bloat the AmeriCorps �paid volunteer� program, he declared: �One way to defeat terrorism is to show the world the true values of America through the gathering momentum of a million acts of responsibility and decency and service.� While Bush portrays AmeriCorps recruits as heroes, AmeriCorps members busy themselves putting on puppet shows to persuade three-year-olds of the value of smoke alarms, hoeing corn at tourist farms, and sanctimoniously picking up litter in bad neighborhoods. Bush summoned every citizen to give four thousand hours of �service.� After dubious federal statistics showed a marginal rise in volunteering, Bush hyped the uptick as proof that his leadership is morally rejuvenating America.But mostly I like this concise and, in my opinion, very appropriate definition of what is fundamentally wrong with Bush's overall approach to the job of Presidency.
The Transportation Security Administration and its 45,000-member airport occupation army is one of the Bush administration�s biggest shams. Despite more than $10 billion spent since 9/11, airport screeners are not any more competent than they were in 1987. Yet, as long as TSA brags about seizing millions of pointy objects each year from grandmothers and other scofflaws, Americans are supposed to believe that the endless delays are worthwhile. TSA is punishing critics, slapping fines of up to $1,500 on airline passengers guilty of showing the wrong �attitude� as they pass through TSA checkpoint gauntlets.
Bush governs like an elective monarch, entitled to reverence and deference on all issues. Secret Service agents ensure that Bush rarely views opponents of his reign, carefully quarantining protesters in �free speech zones� far from public view. The FBI has formally requested that local police monitor antiwar groups and send information on demonstrators to FBI-led terrorism task forces. Thanks to the campaign finance act Bush signed, Americans have also lost much of their freedom to criticize their rulers � at least in the 60 days before an election.This sounds like a right book that came out at the right time. You can order it here.
President George W. Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and other administration officials continually remind Americans that everything changed after 9/11. But does that include the Constitution? Are the myths of 9/11 undermining the truths of 1776?