Monday, July 11, 2005

Timely terrorism: Death and destruction knock Bush's woes off the front pages

By Kéllia Ramares
Online Journal Associate Editor

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July 11, 2005—During the morning rush hour of July 7, London's transportation system was rocked by several explosions. Three blasts hit the Underground, London's subway system and a fourth hit a double-decker bus. More than 50 people have been confirmed killed and about another 700 were wounded. The death toll is expected to rise as more blown-up subway cars are evacuated.

British Prime Minister and current G-8 President Tony Blair has linked the explosions in London to the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, which was temporarily interrupted while Blair attended to the emergency in his capital.

But is this "timely terrorism" perpetrated by criminals run by US and or British covert ops to distract attention from George W. Bush's political woes? In looking at major alleged terrorist attacks or threats of such attacks, it is critical to watch how Bush is fairing politically.

The Downing Street Memos indicate that Bush wanted war in Iraq well before September 11, 2001, and that "the facts were being fixed around the policy." A Zogby survey of likely voters, taken after Bush's "recruitment" speech at Ft. Bragg, shows that 42 percent of voters believe that Bush should be impeached if he lied to get us into war. (Margin of error was plus or minus 3.3 percent)

Bush's poll numbers are dropping like a stone. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released on June 27 showed that 53 percent of the respondents disapproved of Bush's job performance. (Margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent) The 53 percent overall disapproval rating was the highest this poll has recorded since Bush took the oath of office in January 2001. But when individual issues are polled, Bush continues to score highest on his handling of the so-called "war on terror."

The war in Iraq has grown more deadly and expensive. The web site reports 1,751 dead American soldiers as of July 7, with an additional 90 UK soldiers and 100 other coalition troops killed since the invasion began. And that doesn't count wounded troops or dead Iraqi civilians. The National Priorities Project says that the cost of the Iraq war is over $179 billion dollars. Add in the cost of war in Afghanistan and appropriations requests for future operations and the cost of these wars is around $300 billion.

Remember being told that the Iraqis would greets us with flowers and sweets as liberators, and that the war was supposed to be over quickly? Remember Bush declaring major combat over on May 1, 2003? What else might we be able to do with $300 billion besides killing and maiming people, and spreading depleted uranium around?

Members of Congress and others are calling for an exit date. And Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill attempting to codify the White House claim that the US does not intend a permanent military presence in Iraq.

The Zogby survey of likely voters taken after Bush's speech at Ft. Bragg showed that he did not get a bounce in popularity from his televised attempt to convince the nation that it's important to keep fighting in Iraq.

The Detroit News is reporting that the Army has ordered another $5 billion of work from Halliburton, even as questions linger over Halliburton's billing of previous work. Dick Cheney claims he has nothing to do with Halliburton getting so much war business, but does anybody with a functional brain really believe the former Halliburton CEO who quit that post to run for vice president? Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld recently said that it could take 12 years to defeat the Iraqi insurgency. That would make Halliburton, Bechtel, and other Bush friends billions and billions more.

Twelve years? How about never? The truth is that standing armies don't defeat resistance fighters. The resistance knows the lay of the land and has popular support against foreign occupiers. Meanwhile, the US Army has missed its recruiting goals for 4 consecutive months, amid reports of hardball and even illegal tactics by recruiters trying to make quota. And then there are the torture scandals, from Attorney General, and possible Supreme Court nominee, Alberto Gonzales calling the Geneva Conventions "quaint," to the photographed goings-on at Abu Ghraib prison.

While the Pentagon has an open checkbook, domestic needs are being unmet as state and local budget deficits mean cuts in programs for schools, housing, transit and health. But people are seeing Bush's plan to rip off Social Security to benefit Wall Street for the reverse Robin Hood transfer of wealth that it is. His poll numbers are worse on Social Security than on any other individual issue.

Also, the nomination of John Bolton to be the anti-UN ambassador to the UN has run into trouble. The USA PATRIOT Act is up for reauthorization and that has met with a bit of resistance as the House narrowly agreed to the Sanders amendment which takes libraries and bookstores out of the purview of the infamous Section 215, allowing the FBI to gather personal records without a warrant.

Even the G-8 meeting was no picnic for Bush. The United States is the only G-8 nation not to ratify the Kyoto protocols on climate change. Bush is claiming that the protocols would have "wrecked" the US economy. Once again, here's the United States standing alone claiming special privileges. All the industrialized nations implementing the protocols, including Russia, Japan, France and England, would have to make some economic sacrifice in an effort to reduce global warming. But here's Bush, who has only recently and most reluctantly acknowledged the reality of climate change, acting as if the US economy, the world's No. 1 oil consumer, is the only thing on earth that matters.

Then there's perhaps the scariest thing of all for the neocons: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald might be closing in on the identity of the senior White House official who outed CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame. She was named after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, went to Niger and reported back that documents showing that Iraq wanted to purchase yellowcake uranium from the African country were crude forgeries. Was it White House Deputy Chief of staff Karl Rove who illegally leaked Plame's identity? Itメs been confirmed that Rove was a source for a July 2003 online story by Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Ambassador Wilson's trip to Niger. Cooper wrote: "Some government officials have noted to Time in interviews . . . that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." If "Bush's Brain" was the leaker, could he be forced to resign in disgrace and face criminal prosecution?

Cui Bono?

So now we have these mass murders knocking all of Bush's political woes off the front pages. How timely. How convenient. Now Bush can again pose as a war president before the government's lapdog corporate media and the American sheeple. And Tony Blair, who got a third term as British PM with a greatly reduced parliamentary majority, due largely to British discontent with the war in Iraq, can also strike a dramatic pose.

News reports say a hitherto unknown group called "Secret Organization of al-Q'aeda in Europe" has allegedly claimed responsibility. (A group called "al-Q'aeda in Europe" claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombings). Supposedly billions are being spent on security and intelligence; we've been warned that there are thousands of sleeper terrorist agents in Europe, and yet the acts were committed by an "unknown" group?

Yet, maybe there is no such group. An MSNBC translator, Jacob Keryakes, claimed that the message allegedly sent by the "Secret Organization of al-Q'aeda in Europe" contained an error in one of the Koranic verses cited in the message. The translator said this suggests the claim may be phony. "This is not something al-Q'aeda would do," he said. Al-Q'aeda itself is likely a straw man. While, no doubt, there are people on the ground in colonized nations who are willing to use violence in a bid for their people's freedom, "terrorist" organizations can be co-opted and run by the intelligence operatives of the terrorists' purported targets. Osama bin Laden himself has a long history with the CIA.

With the unpopularity of the war in Iraq growing, and with Bush's political troubles mounting, bombing London now makes no sense for "honest terrorists," i.e., terrorists not being run by the US, which has used terrorism as a tool of foreign policy for decades. Why risk increasing Bush's popularity when it is at an all-time low? The way to get European troops out of Iraq is to get the Americans out. Would Denmark stay if the US left? Attacks in Europe strengthen Bush's "resolve" to stay the course, and the few nations who have not joined "the coalition of the leaving" would stay with the Americans. (Conservative Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi announced on July 8 that Italy would probably begin its withdrawal in September. Italy has been talking about a withdrawal for several months).

While it makes no sense for alleged extremists to attack now, it makes all the sense in the world for the neocons to order an attack, even on the soil of America's closest ally. There has to be an actual attack from time to time to keep the fear level up. And what's a few more lives taken when these war criminals have squandered so many thousands of others? If an attack distracts the press from Bush's political woes, ups the fear level in the American and British populace and makes increases in war spending and decreases in civil liberties easier for legislatures to vote for, so be it. You can't make an omelet if you don't break some eggs.

Copyright © 2005 Kéllia Ramares. For Fair Use Only.