call me crazy, but i’ve always been a bit of a skeptic on a lot of things. i work in scientific research, so if someone doesn’t provide a verifiable citation, you can’t be sure he’s telling the truth. this is the way i’ve felt about the terror alerts we’ve received for the past three years, and now knowledge of a possible motive has led me to seriously consider the possibility that they might be cooked.
generally, these sorts of thoughts are dismissed out of hand. what i ask then, is that you refrain from doing that, and if you don’t think the so-called war has been has been in any way a hoax, please reason along those lines.
since i’m bringing up the point, i’ll take the liberty of providing a few arguments in favor of considering the war on terror to be used as much as a tool for control by the current administration as it is for catching terrorists.
i’ll start with a list of things they may gain by over-politicizing the terrorist threat. first, they gain political favoritism. when you want to be reelected, one way to help your campaign is to make sure everyone is afraid of something and that they believe you can save them from it. another side effect is that you can make the people believe that they need to give up some of their rights to protect themselves better, and you gain greater control over them.
the rest of the motivation is more specific and has to do with us hegemony in the world. the project for the new american century (pnac) believes it is the responsibility of those in power in this country to see to it that the us achieves and maintains a position of global dominance. to do this, they advise discouraging all potential competitors, limiting the influence of foreign governments on us actions, and maintaining strategic and ecomonic interests worldwide. you may be familiar with them, as in 1998, they sent several letters to the clinton administration and members of congress asking them to consider going to war with iraq. current and former members include dick cheney, donald rumsfeld, paul wolfowitz, richard perle, dan quayle, jeb bush, i. lewis libby, and william kristol.
how this ties in: creating a culture of fear in the us would allow them one giant excuse (terror) under which they can launch any number of elements on their agenda. these include taking out iraq (and iran, whom we’ve recently threatened), pushing the israeli agenda in the middle east, limiting the power of the un, and backing the us out of various international defense treaties.
so now that we’ve layed down some possible gains from what i propose is happening, let’s look at some evidence of how they might be politicizing the war on terror rather than doing what they can to keep us safe.
one of the glaring problems with the terrorist threats has been their lack of specificity. i’m not convinced that the american populace knowing anything about potential terrorist attacks can do anything to prevent them, but if it can, wouldn’t it help to know what sorts of things to look for, or perhaps where they’d heard the information? the impossibility of verifying the source in all these cases makes me healthily skeptical, but nothing has been shown to dispel that skepticism. there have been no significant attempts at attacks in the last three years. and a few weeks ago, the first big democratic stump speech was interrupted so that homeland security could tell us that, while they had no new evidence to suggest it, we should all be aware that something might happen during election season. also, they floated the idea of postponing the elections in the event of a terrorist attack. it seems a bit convenient, all things considered.
shortly after the 911 attacks, condi rice told the national security council to “to think about how do you capitalize on these opportunities to fundamentally change american doctrine, and the shape of the world, in the wake of september 11th…i really think this period is analogous to 1945 to 1947 when fear and paranoia led the us into its cold war with the ussr”. pnac, in their “rebuilding america’s defenses” (page 51), said:
they got their new pearl harbor with the attacks on september 11th. the motto of the administration’s press relations became “in a post september 11th world” any time they were challenged by journalists. they could finally attack iraq, as they’d been waiting to do for about 8 years or so. they could finally use something to keep americans questioning anyone with the gall to question their actions, and hide anything under the umbrella of “fighting terrorism”.
so, i’m not trying to argue that terrorism is not a legitimate threat. what i’m saying is that if we were legitimately fighting terrorism, would it have been done so half-assed? would we have sent so few troops after al qaeda, and then convinced the world that iraq was involved in 911? if this isn’t just the new cold war, the “new pearl harbor” that many of the administration’s top executives were waiting for, in short, wouldn’t we be fighting the “war on terror” to actually win?