The day after the day after 9/11/06
Vice President Cheney claims that his job “is to think about the unthinkable, to focus upon what in fact the terrorists may have in store for us”. And what a good job he claims to have done. Five years after 9/11 and there hasn’t been another 9/11.
Cheney credits the Bush Administration’s homeland security efforts, particularly:
â€“ “the terrorist surveillance program”;
â€“ “the financial tracking”; and
â€“ “our detainee policy”.
â€“ illegal, warrant-less eavesdropping by the NSA;
â€“ an admittedly useful check on money transfers; and
And perhaps a whole lot more.
And yet. Just how successful has the Cheney Administration been? How honest is the vice president?
As the Financial Times has put it, “Cheney repeated assertions on Sunday on links between the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda despite a recent Senate intelligence committee report that concluded otherwise”.
In focusing on this mythical relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, between Saddam and Osama, Cheney, Bush, and their apologists are willfully deceiving the American people. In truth, they are lying to them.
For it is Iraq that is the problem. It is Iraq â€” their war â€” that has detracted from the so-called war on terror, that is, from America’s abilities to deal effectively with the real threat to homeland security, in particular from its efforts in Afghanistan, which is rapidly descending into anarchy. NATO needs more troops in Afghanistan, but so many of the best troops are stuck in the Iraqi quagmire.
And then there have been the secret prisons in Eastern Europe, the torture at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, Katrina, and Portgate.
All this has left America weaker, not stronger, more vulnerable, not less, more hated, not more loved. America is now perceived more and more to be a cause of the problem of terrorism, not a victim, and certainly not a solution.
Which is why The Boston Globe editorialized on Monday that “the reaction of the Bush administration may prove more harmful to the national interest than even these horrific attacks”. Are the terrorists on the run? Yes, and no: “The long war against the insurgency in Iraq has further inflamed Mideast opinion against the United States without enhancing US security.”
Cheney is simply wrong. Dangerously wrong.
For more, go see Steve Clemons, who says that Cheney “did the predictable,” “focused American military power recklessly at the wrong targets,” “[punctured] America’s mystique in the world,” and “[exposed] before our allies and our foes both our military and financial limits.
No, there hasn’t been another 9/11 since 9/11. There but for the grace of God, as they say.