This is a wake-up call that we are about to experience another 9/11-WMD experience.
The wake-up call is unlikely to be effective, because the American attitude toward government changed fundamentally seventy-odd years ago. Prior to the 1930s, Americans were suspicious of government, but with the arrival of the Great Depression, Tojo, and Hitler, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Americans that government existed to protect them from rapacious private interests and foreign threats. Today, Americans are more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to government than they are to family members, friends, and those who would warn them about the government's protection.
Intelligent observers are puzzled that President Bush is persisting in a futile and unpopular war at the obvious expense of his party's electoral chances in 2008.
In the July 18 Los Angeles Times ("Bush the Albatross"), Ronald Brownstein reminds us that Bush's behavior is disastrous for his political party. Unpopular presidents "have consistently undercut their party in the next election." Brownstein reports that "88% of voters who disapproved of the retiring president's job performance voted against his party's nominee in past elections. . . . On average, 80% of voters who disapproved of a president's performance have voted against his party's candidates even in House races since 1986."
Brownstein notes that with Bush's dismal approval rating, this implies a total wipeout of the Republicans in 2008.
A number of pundits have concluded that the reason the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush's follies is that they expect Bush's unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory next year.
There is a problem with this reasoning. It assumes that Cheney, Rove, and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts or are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his warmonger-police state fling. "After me, the deluge."
Isn't it more likely that Cheney and Rove have in mind events that will, once again, rally the people behind President Bush and the Republican Party that is fighting the "war on terror" that the Democrats "want to lose"?
Such events could take a number of forms. As even diehard Republican Patrick J. Buchanan observed on July 17, with three US aircraft carrier battle groups in congested waters off Iran, another Tonkin Gulf incident could easily be engineered to set us at war with Iran.
If Bush's intentions were merely to bomb a nuclear reactor, he would not need three carrier strike forces.
Lately, the administration has switched to blaming Iran for the war in Iraq. The US Senate has already lined up behind the latest lie with a 97-0 vote to condemn Iran.
Alternatively, false flag "terrorist" strikes could be orchestrated in the US. The Bush administration has already infiltrated some dissident groups and encouraged them to participate in terrorist talk, for which they were arrested. It is possible that the administration could provoke some groups to actual acts of violence.
Many Americans dismiss suspicion of their government as treasonous, and most believe conspiracy to be impossible "because someone would talk."
There is no basis in any known fact for this opinion.
According to polls, 36% of the American people disbelieve the 9/11 Commission Report. Despite this lack of confidence, and despite the numerous omissions and errors in the report, it has proven impossible to have an independent investigation of 9/11 or to examine the official explanation in public debate. Even experts and people with a lifetime of distinguished public service are dismissed as "conspiracy theorists," "kooks," and "traitors" if they question the official explanation of 9/11. This despite the fact that war in the Middle East, a long-planned goal of Bush's neoconservative administration, could not have been initiated without a "new Pearl Harbor."
That powerfully constructed steel buildings could suddenly turn to dust because they were struck by two flimsy aluminum airliners and experienced small fires on a few floors that burned for a short time appears unexceptionable to a majority of Americans.
Moreover, people have talked. Hundreds of them. Firefighters, police, janitors, and others report hearing and experiencing a series of explosions in upper floors and massive explosions in the underground basements. This eyewitness testimony was kept under wraps for three or more years until the official explanation had taken root. The oral histories were finally forced loose by Freedom Of Information Act suits. The eyewitness reports of explosion after explosion had no effect.
Larry Silverstein, who received billions of dollars in insurance payments for the destroyed buildings, talked. He said on public television that the order was given "to pull" building 7. His stunning admission had no effect.
The Bush administration is preparing us for more terrorist attacks. The latest intelligence report says that Al Qaeda has regrouped, rebuilt, and has the ability to come after us again. "Al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here," says the report.
Security operatives, such as Michael Chertoff, and various instruments of administration propaganda have warned that we will be attacked before next year's election. Chertoff is not a person who wants to be known as Chicken Little for telling us that the sky is falling.
Bush has the Republican Party in such a mess that it cannot survive without another 9/11. Whether authentic or orchestrated, an attack will activate Bush's new executive orders, which create a dictatorial police state in event of "national emergency." [See here. ]
The UK government is hand-in-glove with the Bush administration and will provide cover or verification for whatever claim the Bush administration advances. So will the right-wing governments in Canada and Australia. That takes care of the English-speaking world from which contrary explanations might reach the American people.
It is possible that Bush is now too weak, that suspicion is too great, and that there is too much internal resistance in the federal bureaucracy and military for any such scenario. If so, then my prediction prior to the invasion that the US invasion of Iraq will destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement will be proven true. The Democrats' strategy of doing nothing except making sure Bush gets his way will produce the landslide that they expect.
However, this assumes that Cheney, Rove, and their neoconservative allies have lost their cunning and their manipulative skills. It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous assumption for Democrats and the American people to make.
Once the US experiences new attacks, Bush will be vindicated. His voice will be confident as he speaks to the nation:
"My administration knew that there would be more attacks from these terrorists who hate us and our way of life and are determined to destroy every one of us. If only more of you had believed me and supported my war on terror these new attacks would not have happened. Our security efforts were impaired by the Democrats' determined attempts to surrender to the terrorists by forcing our withdrawal from Iraq and by civil libertarian assaults on our necessary security measures. If only more Americans had trusted their government, this would not have happened."
And so on. Anyone should be able to write the script.
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Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.