Posted by andreas from p3EE3C39F.dip.t-dialin.net (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, September 12, 2002 at 1:33AM :
HOW RELIGIOUS FERVOUR HAS BLINKERED
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO THE
UNLEARNED LESSONS OF SEPTEMBER 11
When President George Bush finally returned to the White House days after the terror attacks of September 11, one year ago today, he received a welcome visitor.
It was the evangelist Billy Graham, a long time friend of the Bush family; indeed the President’s own father had called the charismatic preacher “our spiritual adviser”.
In that guise Graham sat with the understandably shaken president. They spoke for a long time about the evil of terrorism and the bible’s “righteous wrath” permissible to destroy it.
There was one passage which struck a cord with the President:
“Thus saith the Lord. Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart; therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will stretch out my hand upon the Philistines. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.”
The words of the prophet Ezekial became a leitmotif for George Bush. The rallying call for all he would say and do in the months to come.
Today, twelve months later, the words remain the substance for his War On Terrorism. The justification for his attach on Afghanistan. For his forthcoming war against Iraq. For other wars just beyond the horizon.
Ezekial, that biblical man of Iron, had infused Bush with a similar strength.
That it compensates for a clear-cut and fully reasoned-out policy as to why he must go to war with Saddam Hussein is not an issue for debate with the President. The Iraqi dictator is his Philistine.
At the end of the meeting, Graham gave Bush a pocket-sized bible. The evangelist had taken the time to annotate it – using a marker to highlight all the Scripture passages which reinforced the right to use “righteous wrath”.
Bush, like Bill Clinton, and other past presidents, was not short of bibles. He had grown up in what he liked to call “God fearing country” – that great swathe of the southern states known as the Bible Belt.
No shack, house or stately mansion is without its bible. On the Bush Texas ranch, and in his office when he had been state governor, a bible stood on a table close to the furled flag of the United States.
How well George Bush knew his biblical texts before September 11 is a matter of debate.
But equipped with the bible Billy Graham had presented him, the President, in his mind, had no doubt God was on his side as he launched his global War On Terrorism.
For Bush it would turn out to be the single greatest factor in his decision making process. He would not only see Saddam as a mortal enemy, but would judge all those Arab nations, if only by their tacit silence, as supporting Saddam. This became the first great unlearned lesson of September 11.
Since then, the President has shown no understanding of Arab culture or the complex nationalism which ties Saddam’s neighbours to him.
The result has been that the intelligence Bush should be depending on is simply not available.
The CIA and FBI have almost no meaningful contacts with the intelligence services in the region – apart from Israel’s Mossad.
At best their contacts with Mossad have given them a skewed view of events of the past year. From that has come serious miscalculations in Washington: the refusal to heed warnings from King Abdullah of Jordan that if it came to war, Arab leaders would not be able to hold back their peoples. Egypt’s Hoshi Mabarak has said the same.
Most important has been Mossad’s constant appraisals that Saddam has restocked his bio-chemical arsenals – and is close to producing at least a crude nuclear weapon.
European intelligence services – notably MI6 and the German BND – have rejected those claims as far fetched.
But they have fuelled Bush’s conviction that Saddam poses the greatest single threat to the United States since World War Two.
In the days which followed September 11, aides have said Bush learned a new word and a new phrase.
Jihad, holy war; this is part of the battle cry Islamic terrorists have hijacked from the Moslem faith. Another is: Allah akbar walillahi’l-hamd” (“Allah is great and to Allah we give praise”).
Bush confessed it was beyond his comprehension how Allah could endorse such a terrible massacre as had happened on September 11 in New York and Washington.
It was an insight into his thinking. Another came with his admission that he wanted bin-Laden “dead or alive”. It was a small proof you can take Bush out from the cowboys but not the cowboy out of Bush.
Further evidence of his mindset came when he spoke of “an axis of evil” – Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The phrase had a strong biblical connotation.
In the past twelve months, he has peppered his speeches to Congress; to his military commanders; in his folksy weekly radio talks to the nation; to world leaders and, of course, to his ever-growing list of terrorists: to them all he has drawn upon one passage or another in Graham’s leather bound gift to reinforce that the War On Terrorism has the total approval of God.
Holy War – the Jihad of Islamic fundamentalism – had taken on a new meaning. All else would – and has – flown from that in the President’s actions.
It would culminate in late August with Bush stating that White House lawyers had given him a legal green-light to attack Iraq. Implicit in his words was that God was still on his side.
Such messianic certainty seemed to many to be a poor substitute for any evidence that Iraq, or indeed any member of the “axis of evil” was about to launch any attack on anybody – let alone the United States.
President Bush’s insistence he must conduct a pre-emptive strike against Iraq is also deeply rooted in the failure of his key men – and one woman – to predict the attack of last September 11.
Yet, instead of sacking any of them, he has allowed them freedom to plot and plan – to try to make up for the failure which they are collectively responsible for last September.
They can collectively be called, without offending their beliefs, as “the sword-of-wrath-is-mighty Christians”.
Donald Rumsfeld, the stiff-backed Secretary of Defense with an acerbic tongue, has barely concealed contempt for European nations who do not tow his line.
He wants to go to war now. Any American who opposes that is “unpatriotic”. The more their numbers grow, the more Rumsfeld says they are “trying to embarrass our country”.
He has said in one way or another, there is no time to look at the failures of September 11.
“That is history”, he has rasped from his Pentagon briefing podium.
The fact is that there was, and remains, a stunning collapse of US intelligence leading up to September 11 – and very little has been done to remedy matters.
Both the CIA and FBI are woefully short of linguists to translate the worldwide electronic eavesdropping of the National
The CIA has managed to get only a few field agents in place in the Middle East.
Most are in supposedly “friendly” nations: Saudi Arabia and Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
But in those countries – as well as Bahrain, Oman, Egypt and Qatar – Iraq has strengthened its intelligence presence.
Tension has increased in the region because Bush has ordered his senior advisers to send an uncompromising message to all Arab states: if you do not support us we will treat you as our enemies.
Dick Cheney, is the Vice-President with a heart condition that has not stopped him setting hearts pounding in other world leaders – except seemingly Tony Blair – with his soft-voiced bellicosity. It has become more threatening as the months have passed since last September.
Cheney has pronounced himself satisfied that America is now ready and waiting to deal with any threat.
Asked to explain why it took so long for the most powerful nation on earth to subdue Afghanistan, he dismisses it with the same phrase Rumsfeld uses. “It’s history”.
It is not. What happened in Afghanistan is clear evidence that America is manifestly not equipped to fight a war in Iraq all by itself.
It may in the end win. But at what price? Untold thousands of innocent Iraqis killed. And body bags returning to America at a rate approaching a lost generation of young men from Vietnam.
That war is also history – historical proof that in the end America could not win.
Colin Powell, is the Secretary of State, whose shifts of position are as bewildering as the tactics of the biblical king David.
First Powell backed a no-holds barred assault on Osama bin-Laden and anybody who was helping him. In Powell’s eyes there was only one: the Anointed One, Glorious Leader, Direct Descendant of the Prophet, Field Marshall of All His Armies, Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Doctor of All Laws, Great Uncle to his people, President of Iraq – Saddam Hussein.
Now Powell is a clipped-wing dove. But still ready to go to war – because, like Bush, he believes that is what the Good Book justifies.
Condoleeza Rice, the only child from what was a racially segregated Birmingham, Alabama, is the President’s national security adviser. For her the bible is “the pillar of my Baptist faith”. It has, she admits, played its part in her unwavering support for the War On Terrorism – and what is to come: the conflict with Iraq.
She, too, does not “seriously believe” there are a few “significant lessons” to be learned from what happened last September. “Then was then, now is now”, she has been quoted as saying.
Given that Rice has unfettered access to the President, and acts as a filter for all those trying to lobby him, she wields huge power. But the core of that power is the strong religious conviction she shares with Bush that the War On Terrorism must be waged on all fronts – no matter if America has to go it alone.
She believes this with the same passion she has for classical music and power dressing. With more authority than any black woman has previously wielded in an Administration, Condi Rice says that the “lessons” of the past year have been preparation for the coming war with Iraq.
Like others around Bush, she has not elaborated on what those lessons are. We can only speculate that from the beginning Osama bin-Laden’s attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were seen merely as the overture for the war with Iraq.
Hovering in the wings are two more men who cling to their religious faith as a prop to reinforce their decision making.
Robert Mueller is the FBI director who stepped into the post only a week before September 11 changed forever the perception of the agency. No other director has found himself more in need of spiritual support than the coldly austere Mueller.
These past twelve months have seen him forced to make a succession of admissions of failure to predict the assault on the Twin Towers. Memos from experienced field agents about Arab radicals taking flying lessons.
In its 94-year history there had never been such a shambles. Aides said that Mueller has found solace in his bible.
George Tenet, the director of the CIA since 1997, also found himself at the sharp end of criticism that the CIA had failed to warn about the attack. It did not help that he and Mueller had developed a barely concealed antagonism. Tenet, a regular churchgoer, told friends that he prayed for help to guide him through “the stormy seas of Washington” as he struggled to cling on to his job.
From Vice-President Cheney downwards, these are the men who have continued to drive President Bush’s War On Terrorism. In the process they have continued to ignore the mistakes that led to September 11.
Underpinning this truth is that President Bush has now encouraged Israel to publicly promote its readiness to launch a pre-emptive strike against Saddam.
Bush sees Israel nowadays almost in mystical terms. He has told his inner circle that Israel is the Holy Land that America must protect by a very unholy war.
In the initial shock of last September’s massacre, one persistent notion lodged itself into the mass psyche of America.
It is best summed up in the phrase: “why could our leaders have not seen it coming?”
In the aftermath, and in mitigation, Bush and his advisers all sang from the same hymn book: no one could have anticipated such an attack.
Certainly its sheer audacity in its use of kamikaze-style aircraft and its equally mind-numbing death toll, made most Americans exculpate the President and his team.
But gradually the sheer extent of America’s unpreparedness and vulnerability came into sharper focus.
The question as to why it had not been predicted took on a frustrated tone which finally overflowed into a surge of sustained anger as it became clear that there had been a monumental failure – one that has still not been properly addressed.
There has been no serious answer to such deeply disturbing questions as:
How could the Osama bin-Laden network, known to the US intelligence community for more than a decade, still remain at large, and dangerous enough to strike with such deadly aim as it did on September 11?
Who was responsible for such a failure? It is not enough to allow Tenet and Mueller to bicker publicly. It is not enough to have Rumsfeld joust with Powell in public. It is not enough for Vice-President Cheney to travel around the world promoting the War On Terrorism – saying that every country must join in.
It is not enough to claim that Saddam Hussein was behind September 11. It is not enough to promise that the evidence to support this will be published “when the time is appropriate”, promises George Bush, with a ready echo from Tony Blair.
Saddam has indeed much to answer for. But there is not any evidence he helped to plan and execute the attack of September 11.
Through the months Bush had been in office prior to that, he had been given ample evidence that not only was such an attack predicted but almost inevitable.
Bin-Laden had already attacked American embassies and warships. He had even tried to destroy the World Trade Centre in 1993.
How prominent were the warnings of the threat of Islamic terrorism. Here is one:
“The crater beneath the World Trade Centre and the uncovering of a plot to set off more gigantic bombs and to assassinate leading political figures have shown Americans how brutal those extremists can be”. The warning was written by Salman Rushdie. He is no Ezekial. But for once, just once, the President and his men should pause and consider how many more craters will open up before the open-ended War On Terrorism runs its course.
MINDFIELD documents and details illegal mind control and germ warfare experiments carried out by the CIA on US citizens. It is a shattering account of how the dark side of science collaborated with sheer lunacy to create a chilling tour de force of terror. Based upon impeccable research, it shows how our elected governments lied to the people for over fifty years – and continues to obscure the truth. It is a story of murder, inhuman experiments and torture. It is supported by a wealth of never before published evidence; personal interviews with those doctors involved in the work that mocks their oath to do no harm to their patients. It is also the story of a brave man, William Buckley, the longest serving agent in the CIA, until his own terrible death at the hands of a doctor trained in the techniques the CIA pioneered. Buckley was a close personal friend of the author. -
get the lowdown with the download - www.gordonthomas.ie/mindfield.html
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