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20 Things learned after 9-11

by Bernard Weiner Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2002 at 7:54 AM

Twenty Things We've Learned Nearly A Year After 911


As we approach the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it might be

useful to see how far an ordinary citizen's knowledge has progressed one year

on. So here, in the way of a summing-up, based on journalistic documentation,

is a list of things we Americans have learned since last September -- some of

which might prove useful in the run-up to the November elections.

1. We've learned that Bush & Co.'s "war on terrorism" has morphed from finding

and destroying those responsible for the 9/11 mass-murders (15 SAUDIS) to a

worldwide campaign to install a Pax Americana, by force if necessary. In other

words, neo-imperialism, reminiscent in many ways of the old Roman Empire or,

closer to our own time, the British Empire.

2. We've learned that Bush & Co. has no desire to rethink any of its policies

abroad, the same policies that isolate it and that generate hatred, suspicion

and terrorism in so many regions of the globe. Rather than reconsider its

policies, or try to accomplish its ends through diplomacy and alliances and

cultural/economic initiatives, in its arrogance it continues to bully and

threaten others, insult its European and other allies, disregard international

treaties and courts, engage in unilateral actions without regard to the

national interests of others, and, in general, simply throw its massive weight

around. The prevailing attitude seems to be: We are the one Superpower, get

used to bending to our will.

3. We've learned that Bush's national-security leadership was alerted months

ahead of 9/11 (and, it has admitted, no later than August 6) that a major air

attack from al-Qaida was in the works, along with the likely targets, but did

nothing to try to prevent those attacks or warn anyone about them. Caught in

their own lies, they blame "the system," especially elements in the FBI, for

"not connecting the dots." More than 3000 Americans died as a result of this


4. We've learned that plans already were in the works prior to 9/11 for the

evisceration of Constitutional guarantees of due process of law. The White

House hustled the so-called USA PATRIOT Act through a frightened Congress in a

patriotic blur, just a few days after the attacks, with few, if any, of the

legislators having had time to read the final version.

5. We've learned that prior to September 11, the Bush Administration was

negotiating with the Taliban about a pipeline desired by a U.S.-led energy

consortium that would cross through Afghanistan. When the Taliban balked, the

U.S. negotiators told them they either could accept a "carpet of gold" or face

a "carpet of bombs." The Taliban backed away from the deal and refused to hand

over Osama bin Laden; shortly after the terror attacks of 9/11, the U.S. began

bombing in Afghanistan. The devotion of BUSH to OIL/GAS/ENERGY/ENRON type

agendas are not laudible.

6. We've learned that now with the Taliban having been overthrown, and a

U.S.-friendly regime installed in Kabul, the pipeline project is back on track,

designed to carry energy supplies across Afghanistan from the Caspian Sea area

to near India. Hamid Karzai, the new leader of Afghanistan, formerly was a

consultant on the payroll of the pipeline folks; likewise, the new U.S. special

envoy to Afghanistan.

7. We've learned that Bush & Co.'s Homeland Security Act includes programs that

bear an amazing resemblance to totalitarian programs from the fascis/communist

end of the spectrum: getting the military (restricted heretofore to activity

outside the U.S.) involved in domestic policing, signing up neighborhood and

block snoops to work for the central government, investigating what books

citizens are checking out and buying, denouncing those deemed insufficiently

patriotic or suspicious because of their views, etc. Remind you of Stalin's

Russia, Castro's Cuba, Hitler's Third Reich, the Stasi of East Germany? (There

also are prototypes of patriotic youth leagues being tried out in cities, which

could become a national program.) A kind of martial-law coming to a

neighborhood near you. (Not odd as The Gehlen Org spawned Bush way back when,

in his early OSS days, that is NAZI spies brought here to work in CIA) Once a

Nazi always a Nazi, I guess.

8. We've learned that Ashcroft/Bush are shredding Constitutional due-process

guarantees in their move toward total control: already they have compromised

attorney-client privilege, removed habeus corpus protections, locked up folks

with no charges, secreted citizens at military installations which puts them

out of reach of the judicial system, violated privacy in rifling through

personal telephone and email communications, etc. etc. When the

ambiguously-worded PATRIOT Act was first brought up, Ashcroft and Bush told us

not to worry, promising that these rules would affect only non-citizens. Since

that time, American citizens have been handled in similar fashion. Coming to a

neighborhood near you.

9. We've learned much about the dangers of religious fundamentalism in Islam,

but we've also learned about dangers posed by our own religious fundamentalists

-- eager for a Christian theocratic society, symbolized most recently by a

Secret Service agent scrawling on a Muslim suspect's refrigerator "Islam Is

Evil, Christ Is King" -- and the extraordinary power they wield within the Bush

Administration, represented most openly by John Ashcroft, who in frame-of-mind

resembles a Taliban mullah.

10. We've learned that the FBI, focusing now on foreign terrorists, doesn't

seem energized with the same zeal to catch domestic terrorists, such as

abortion-clinic arsonists -- and especially the anthrax-dispenser. Though the

FBI seems to know that the anthrax villain probably worked at a government

bio-lab, nobody has been arrested, or even targeted as a prime suspect. (THEY

TELL US that after going thru his trash bin, no powder was found, So all bets

AND THE GUY...are off the hook,) It may not be likely, but the unsaid is

finally being asked: Could this dangerous terrorist actually be working for the

government? HUH? OUR GOV kill a Nat'l Enquirer reporter who'd written up the

BUSH gals as doped up trash? NAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. The White house Used as a

personal vendetta? C'mon!

11. We've learned that the HardRight of the Republican Party has taken control

-- of the House leadership, of the Supreme Court, of the White House, of much

of the conglomerate-owned media -- and has demonstrated its willingness to do

nearly anything to maintain that power. (Only the courageous defection of Sen.

Jim Jeffords from GOP ranks is standing in the way of HardRight total control

of all three branches of government.) More and more truly objectionable

HardRight judges are being nominated by Bush in an e ffort to stack the

judiciary for decades to come. This by a man who lost the election by more than

half-a-million votes, coming into his White House residency, with no popular

mandate, only because his supporters on the Supreme Court installed him there.

12. We've learned that to break the momentum of the HardRight, all energy for

the upcoming November elections (less than 90 days away, let us not forget)

must be expended in electing Democrat candidates and defeating Republican ones.

The objective conditions are just not ripe yet for anything more than trying to

move the country back toward the middle of the political spectrum. We

progressives more in tune with the Greens (Green candidates are being supported

secretly in many states by the Republicans, to try to defeat Democrats) will

have to wait. The difference between Democrats and Republicans may seem small

to Greens and others, but, as we've learned in a painful way under Bush&Co.,

that difference is immense when it comes to foreign and domestic policy and its

actual effects on real people, here and abroad.

13. We've learned that Cheney is up to his ears in Halliburton irregularities,

and may well be liable for indictment for participating in financial fraud. In

addition, we've learned that Cheney, who was the head of the task force that

came up with a corporate-friendly rather than a consumer-friendly energy

policy, has refused to turn over to Congress the requested documents that will

reveal how that policy was arrived at and which industry leaders (other than

Enron's Kenny Boy) helped shape it.

14. We've learned that Bush knew in advance, as a member of the Harken Audit

Committee, that Harken Oil was going to release negative financial news, and he

was a true insider, who knew that his Poppa's war on IRAQ (like the next week),

would cancel the Harken Drilling contracts. Curious George and sold his shares

before that, reaping a fortune. He may be liable for indictment for

insider-trading and other Harken irregularities. (Even if Bush and Cheney are

not indicted, they are the last people on earth who should be speaking about

corruption in the corporate financial world, as these hypocrites benefitted

from that very corrupt system. As did most of Bush's corporate-derived cabinet.)

15. We've learned that Bush & Co. were mightily opposed to any reform of

corporate financial reporting, but when more and more companies were caught in

such corrupt practices and the mood of the country shifted -- mainly because so

many folks, especially seniors, lost huge chunks of their pensions and

portfolio holdings when the Stock Market tanked as a result of investors'

losing confidence in the numbers provided by corporations -- they jumped on the

bandwagon and pretended they were reformers all along. In the background, they

are trying to help their corporate supporters water down, and otherwise get

around, the new rules. To that end, Bush&Co. have appointed Harvey Pitt and

Larry Thompson, two tainted corporate types, to head up the "investigations" of

corporate wrongdoing. Break out the whitewash and let the FOXES paint the

bloody HENHOUSE!

16. We've learned that Bush & Co., having placed its chips on Ariel Sharon,

continues to have no real desire for a just peace in the Middle East. All it

wants is for the area to be quiet and controlled (thus giving carte blanche to

the Israeli Army's police-state occupation and oppression), so that it can

continue its plans for overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And, of course,

there has been no declaration of a State of War by the Congress, neither

against Afghanistan nor against Iraq, and no real debate about the wisdom of a

war against Saddam -- even when the top brass at the Pentagon and in Great

Britain have expressed their opposition to such military adventurism.

17. We've learned that there will be no peace now in the Middle East because

the U.S. is not fully engaged in the peace process, also because neither

extreme in the area wants peace: Sharon thrives on war and brutality, Hamas

needs Sharon's bloody policies to justify its campaign of terror. There are

signs that moderate Palestinians finally are starting to speak out in favor of

a peaceful solution, and there are plenty of land-for-peace Israelis (supported

by many liberal Jews in the U.S.), so the outlines of a peace are out there.

But until the U.S. and U.N. make the commitment to separate the warring

extremists and arrange an equitable treaty both Israel and the Palestinians can

live with -- secure borders for Israel (and an end to suicide bombing), a

viable state for the Palestinians, abandoning of the settlements by Israel,

reparations for Palestinians who lost their homes and property -- there will be

only more bloodshed. And more fertile ground for new generations of terrorists,

in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Islamic world.

18. We've learned that Bush & Co. has been a total disaster for the

environment, in every way: from reneging on its campaign promise to cut

carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, to backing away from higher

fuel-efficiency in cars (we could cut our dependence on foreign oil 20% just by

increasing fuel efficiency by 5%), to giving breaks to corporate polluters all

across the country, to permitting increased arsenic levels in the water,

thumbing nose at Kyoto conference, etc. etc.

19. We've learned that Secretary of State Colin Powell -- who sees the world in

something other than simplistic black-and-white, us-versus-them dichotomies --

is a man imprisoned in the Bush Cabinet, forced to alter his principled

opinions in the service of Bush & Co.'s stupidly aggressive and ultimately

self-defeating foreign policies. Powell, a moderate conservative, looks like a

raving progressive when measured against his masters. He should resign but

probably won't. That would take NIXONIAN shame which he has none of, having an

IQ of 80

20. We've learned that the tax-cuts provided to the most wealthy are not only

payoffs to the corporate sector that provides support for Bush & Co. By locking

in those tax cuts for ten years (and with humongous chunks of the budget spent

on the "war on terrorism"), Bush & Co. have ensured that innumerable social

programs that aid the less well-off will be cut or eliminated. In short, a

rollback of New Deal/Great Society programs, so hated by the HardRight. (The

HardRight movement to detach prescription drugs for seniors fr om the Medicare

program, and, especially, to privatize Social Security -- even in the face of

recent stock-market disasters -- is part of this same desire.)

Even after all the above shorthand summaries, no doubt I'm leaving out lots of

Bush & Co. dirt, but this list can provide a starting point, and a handy

compilation of enough low and high crimes and misdemeanors to warrant their

removal from power, either through the ballot box or by resignation or


Finally, as we enter August, we know that one of two things will happen in the

summer-doldrums, with the Congress on vacation: Either Bush & Co. will start

its Iraq war and carry out more under-the-radar attacks on important American

social programs, or the media, bereft of their usual Beltway stories, will use

the down time to engage in hard-hitting investigative reporting that will

reveal in even more stark relief the machinations of Bush & Co. illegalities

and other scandalous behavior. But, given the corporate nature of our

corporate-owned media, don't count on it. Instead, we'll probably be flooded

with this summer's Condit-like sex scandal. ___

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught American politics and international relations

at Western Washington University and San Diego State University; he was with

the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly 20 years.

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