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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Do something long enough, even the NY Times will notice

It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administrationís response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.
That's the lead paragraph from today's lead editorial in the NY Times. There is truth here, certainly. To simplify and improve: "Much of the Bush administration's response to the terror attacks had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power." But to suggest that this wasn't clear years ago, even just weeks after 9/11, is to suggest that someone isn't paying attention (even to their own newspaper articles). Every action the Bushies took after 9/11 was directed towards augmenting their power, not catching terrorists or preventing future attacks. Hundreds of middle eastern and south Asian people were detained for weeks and months, with basic rights violated. A global "war on terror" was almost immediately declared, an Israeli-like disproportionate and nonsensical step to take--unless, that is, if the goal was to increase presidential power, which wars always do. Rather than launch investigations into what actually happened, the administration actively blocked such investigations, preferring to pursue unconstitutional Patriot Acts instead. The thought police, led by AG John Ashcroft, threatened anyone who questioned the official story, accusing them of treason. The Taliban offered to turn over Osama, if only the US would present evidence of his guilt--but this would have taken away W's war card, which is what he really wanted. Using Gitmo, with its rag-tag collection of the extremely unlucky plus a few terrorists, seems to have been designed specifically to claim extraordinary powers for the pResident. Throw in Padilla, Hamdi, the Iraq war--all designed to grab power for the pResident.

Unless you've been reading this blog very closely for years, you might suspect that I've always been a hard-left radical who has hated every Republican after Lincoln. Not so. My hatred for W is not genetic or conditioned by years of practice hating Republicans--it developed almost entirely in the weeks following 9/11. To me it was as clear as day that he was using a tragedy to pursue a pre-planned agenda which had nothing to do with bringing terrorists to justice (real justice, not the vaporizing by missile fire justice Bush means when he talks about bringing them to justice) or with protecting America. His Stalinesque "you're with us or you're with the terrorists" was so obnoxious, so wrong, and the real purpose of a "war on terror" so transparent, I'm still shocked and awed that so many people don't see it. (In this country, that is--most of the world understands.)

And here's the NY Times, with the wool finally falling from their eyes, pretending that they're the first to see a dictatorship being constructed. Aargh! Even so, they still have plenty of wool over their eyes, all while claiming they don't:
While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.
No one questions? NO ONE?? I certainly do. Most of the links on my blogroll do. About one billion Muslims do. George Orwell did, and he died long before the Supreme Court appointed our current dictator. If they were determined to fight terrorism, they would at least take the time to define it. But that would raise ugly questions, like "Why is Hezbollah firing rockets at Israeli civilians 'terrorism,' while Israel dropping bombs on Lebanese civilians is 'defense?'" Or the obvious parallels in Iraq.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I'm always glad to see another passenger jump on the anti-Bush bandwagon. But it is annoying when they pretend they're the first ones here, especially since they really should know better.