Fear this!

So it is now being revealed — now, right before the surge in Iraq, right before the State of the Union address, right when Bush needs some serious fearmongering — that “insurgents reportedly tied to al Qaeda in Iraq” were planning to “orchestrate a new attack on American soil”. And apparently it was all quite 9/11-like. You know, with student visas and what not.

First, what does this even mean? Who are these so-called “insurgents reportedly tied to al Qaeda in Iraq”?

Second, how serious was it? How advanced was the plot?

Third, according to ABC News, “the plot was discovered six months ago”.

Six months ago. Now, former NSC counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, whom I generally like, seems to buy it: “This appears to be the first hard evidence al Qaeda in Iraq was trying to attack us here at home.” But — and it’s a huge BUT: “The plan was uncovered in its early stages, and sources say there is no indication that the suspects made it into the United States. Officials also emphasize that there is no evidence of an imminent attack,” reports ABC.

Oh. Well then.

It seems we have nothing to fear but what we’re told to fear, over and over again and at the most convenient political times for the president. If this was known six months ago, why is it just coming out now? Top-notch reporting by ABC? Or a convenient leak?

With the Iraq War going so badly, do you think Bush might just reference this, or something like it, in today’s SOTU? Look out, another 9/11 is right around the corner? Something like that?

Or do you think this might have something to do not just with the escalation in Iraq but with Bush’s declining approval rating? It’s now down to 28 percent, according to CBS News.

And so it’s more of the same, the eternal return of the terrorist threat. That threat may be real, all-too-real, and there may very well be terrorists plotting another 9/11, or worse, but how is one to tell truth from truthiness, reality from rhetoric, with Bush, or his scripted messengers, crying wolf whenever a boost is needed? Fear is a powerful force in politics, and Bush has pushed all the right buttons. But no more. Who does not suspect that whatever passes through his lips is just more spin?

The desperation is palpable. Fearmongering may be all Bush has left.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/steeltowncrew Chuck Prez

    Those who are willing to trade their freedoms for security deserve neither.

  • http://frogsdong.blogspot.com DBK

    I read the ABC article. There is less to this “terrorist plot” than meets the eye. The article says that “insurgents considered” the plot. Nothing more. So they had a discussion and decided, what, they thought it was a bad idea? We don’t know and the folks that revealed the “plot” aren’t saying. How old were the papers and how old was the discussion? Not as recent as six months. That’s when the plot was uncovered. The best info we get on that is that it was “months after Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s No. 2, had requested that Zarqawi attempt an attack inside the United States”, but no date was put on that. So the actual “plot” is older than those six months.

    You know, I would have been impressed if they’d caught Bin Laden at Tora Bora, and I would have been delighted to never know that we had been saved by a quick-thinking president and NSA chief who paid attention to the August 6, 2001 PDB and stopped a terrorist attack from destroying the World Trade Center and 3,000 American lives. But this stuff? They found some papers that said there was maybe a plot but nothing came of it? Sounds a lot like the WMDs of Hussein.

  • http://the-reaction.blogspot.com/ Michael Stickings

    A truly anti-Hobbesian thing to say, Chuck. And I agree with you. Unless you live in the state of nature — and jihadism has not returned us to one no matter what the fearmongers imply — there is no reason for you to give up your precious liberties.

    There’s a great Simpsons episode, “Separate Vocations,” in which Bart becomes an authoritarian hall monitor at school. As he pulls Milhouse of the lunch room, Milhouse says something like: “Sure we have order, but at what price?”

    More of us need to be asking that question.

  • http://the-reaction.blogspot.com/ Michael Stickings

    All very good points, DBK.

  • http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com steve sturm

    while it would be wrong for Bush to hype attacks to try to puff up his ratings (or detract attention from his failures elsewhere) so too is it wrong for those of you who are on the other side to automatically scream that Bush is crying wolf. You are just as responsible for the poisonous environment in which both sides think so poorly of each other and people in the middle have no idea whom to trust. You have no evidence that bush is doing – or has done – what you claim he is doing, yet you are quick to assume the worst of the guy. shame on you.

  • http://the-reaction.blogspot.com/ Michael Stickings

    Shame on me, huh? Beyond the ABC News piece, what I’m doing here is predicting, not reporting. And the fact is that the Bush Administration has consistently exploited the war on terror to pump itself up. It’s hardly surprising that I, like so many others, are now so suspicious of the president’s intentions.

  • http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com steve sturm

    exploited the war? by doing what? do you have a single, just one, confirmed instance where Bush or anyone in his administration did something – leaked or released a report of some kind, raised the terror level, made some arrests, announced some anti-terror initiative, anything – for the purpose of boosting his ratings? or do you have nothing more than your dislike for bush and everything he does that just convinces you – deep down in your heart where you know you are right – that the guy is evil and that everything he does is wrong?

  • http://www.myspace.com/steeltowncrew Chuck Prez

    Michael,

    It’s basically my stance on the whole war on terror. I’ll be damned if I trade any of my civil liberties to be “protected.”

  • http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com Gray

    “The plot was discovered six months ago, roughly the same time that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by coalition forces. Sources tell ABC News that the suspects involved in the effort to launch the U.S. attack were closely associated with Zarqawi.”

    So, this plot was started when Al Queda moved into Iraq after Saddam was toppled by the US. Before, of course, there was no Al Quaeda in Iraq because Saddam used all his dictatorial power to hunt down any independent group who could be threatening his regime.

    And this is gonna help Bush? That his idiotic Iraq adventure created a dangerous Al Quaeda group there? Ha!

  • Rudi

    Is Steve Strum on the WH payroll, W makes Clinton seem honest. Maybe these terrorists were plannibg to use those sophisticated IED that our intell says are coming over the Iraq border. Nevermind that no physical evidence was ever presented. Maybe al-Qaeda in Iraq will go to Miami to buy boots and other supplies.

  • Kim Ritter

    We probably have no way of knowing whether this is a veritable threat or a PR stunt by the Bush administration to jimmy his abysmal poll numbers. The skepticism here is understandable, given the discrepancies between past hyped up threats and their response.

    In slanting the original intelligence, the president indicated his willingness to risk his credibility and that of the nation. By sending in too small a force and having no post-war plan, Bush signalled to Americans that Iraq wasn’t that big of a deal. By sticking with a failed policy and the purveyor of that policy for more than three years, he showed us that he was divorced from reality on the progress we were making. By going against most military experts, a majority in Congress and public opinion on his proposed surge, he has shown a willful disregard for the workings of a democratic government. By using OSB as a political prop when convenient, and forgetting about him when it wasn’t, he lost the ear of Americans.

    So, who can blame us for not taking him too seriously now?

  • Rudi

    SS The aluminum tube and unman drone with botox are stories as absurd as destroying NY bridges with gas cutting torches. How many Iraq troops are trained and now ready to stand up?

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Chris

    do you have a single, just one, confirmed instance where Bush or anyone in his administration did something – leaked or released a report of some kind, raised the terror level, made some arrests, announced some anti-terror initiative, anything – for the purpose of boosting his ratings?

    Valerie Plame Wilson???

  • Jeff

    This is ridiculous.

    ABC news caught wind of this from congressional testimony back in november AFTER THE ELECTIONS, and investigated it on their own. Even though supposedly the plot was first discovered by the administration six months ago.

    If this was somehow some carefully orchestrated plot to spread fear for political purposes, wouldn’t they have done this before the election? Furthermore, what you’re saying is that the administration got some guy to testify back in november about this, hoping that some news organization will pick it up and report it just in time for the State of the Union.

  • Upinsmoke

    Oh. Well then.

    The plot was uncovered, stopped and prevented……and your reaction is OH WELL THEN?

  • Rudi

    Maybe Lowry at NRO was able to translate these important documents – LOL.