[sixties-l] Fw: State of the Union: War and More War

From: George Snedeker (snedeker@concentric.net)
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 15:19:08 EST

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    in the 1960s many of us thought fascism was just around the corner. we
    thought that we were living in a police state. at the time, we lacked a real
    external enemy. I know that LBJ once claimed that the Vietnamese were about
    to invade San Francisco. but this was like Reagan's clamed that the
    Sandinistas were about to invade Texas. now we have a real enemy. if Bin
    Lauden did not exist GWB would have invented him.
    ----- Original Message > The following article appears in the Feb. 1 issue
    of the email
    > Mid-Hudson (N.Y.) Mid-Hudson Activist Newsletter, which is published in
    > New Paltz, N.Y.
    > By Jack A. Smith
    > Politically speaking, Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network are the
    > best thing that ever happened to the presidency of George W. Bush. The
    > expatriate Saudi millionaire made President Bush what he is today -- an
    > unprecedentedly popular chief executive who is opportunistically
    > transforming the Sept. 11 terror attacks into a political mandate for
    > pursuing strategic right-wing goals.
    > To maintain this unexpected political momentum, President Bush must
    > continue to convince the people of the United States that their very
    > lives are in immediate danger from "evil forces" bent upon destroying
    > their society by every conceivable means, from an envelope of anthrax to
    > weapons of mass destruction. The more the population fears imminent
    > annihilation, the more it supports a president who promises to take
    > effective action to save them; who will, indeed, even launch a "war on
    > terrorism" to protect them. And if this means huge increases in the
    > already bloated war budget, multi-billions more for "homeland defense,"
    > grave restrictions on civil liberties, tax giveaways to rich
    > corporations and individuals, despoliation of the environment, and
    > cutbacks in social programs--so be it.
    > President Bush's State of the Union address Jan. 29 amounted to a
    > distillation of these themes, accompanied by standing ovations and
    > thunderous applause from a pliant Congress of triumphal Republicans, and
    > all but a few Democrats cowering in the face of the chief executive's
    > 85% public approval rating.
    > The main objective of Bush's speech was to maintain and exacerbate the
    > deep sense of fear, outrage and anger the American people have
    > experienced since a small group of al Qaeda suicide soldiers crashed
    > passenger planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. First he
    > offered the grossly exaggerated prospect of "tens of thousands" of
    > terrorists preparing to ravage innocent Americans. Then he hauled out
    > the big guns: "Time is not on our side," he warned the inhabitants of
    > the most powerful national security state in world history. "I will not
    > wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril
    > draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit
    > the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most
    > destructive weapons."
    > Watching Bush utter these words on television recalled ghost stories
    > told to children seated around a Holloween night bonfire. And just who
    > are "the world's most dangerous regimes" drawing "closer and closer?"
    > He identified them as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a small
    > country experiencing severe economic problems that just wants the U.S.
    > to leave it alone; Iraq, semi-crippled from U.S./UN sanctions that have
    > caused 1.5 million civilian deaths during the last decade; and,
    > surprisingly, peaceful Iran, a favorite Washington enemy of the past,
    > evidently resurrected to compose the trio necessary to refer to them as
    > "an axis of evil," recalling the tripartite Axis of World War 2 Germany,
    > Italy and Japan. Not one member of the "axis of evil" has ever
    > threatened the United States. Not one possesses weapons of mass
    > destruction or the delivery systems for such weapons. Not one has ever
    > been implicated in the events of Sept. 11. Not one is in a position to
    > militarily offend the U.S. without the consequence of instant
    > obliteration.
    > Once the principal element of his speech was delivered -- that is, once
    > Bush certified that the danger was worse than ever and that only his
    > leadership could save the United States from catastrophe -- the rest of
    > his message was essentially empty. He still refused to name the
    > country he intends attack next in the administration's "war on
    > terrorism." He did not utter bin Laden's name in order to detract
    > attention from the fact that the "Evil One" continues to evade capture,
    > despite all the king's horses and men shooting up poor Afghanistan. He
    > did not mention the Enron scandal. He disclosed no plan to extract the
    > country from recession, other than making permanent the tax cut for the
    > rich Congress passed last year, and a call for passage of his
    > pro-business, anti-environment energy plan.
    > Before Sept. 11, George W. Bush was a mediocre and not particularly
    > popular right-wing president who probably would not have won
    > reelection. Now he is an immensely favored Commander-in-Chief of
    > "wartime" America. In reality, all he has going for him is the inflated
    > fear of terrorism sweeping the country and the patriotic unity that
    > often accompanies war, behind which is concealed a caravan of
    > conservative ambitions. Unfortunately, this might be all he needs.

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