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Disturbing Questions
Last uploaded : Thursday 20th Feb 2003 at 20:26
Contributed by : John Cory


Saudi Arabia ** Wednesday 19 February 2003

On a recent CNN International broadcast, I watched Tom Ridge being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer lobbed softball questions, picked up the slack and explained the White House position when Ridge was at a loss for words, and then framed several questions about partisan Democrats being at the root of security problems and war resistance.

Blitzer never asked: "Why did you guys run a focus group on your terrorism alert? Doesn't that smack of political manipulation rather than true patriotic concern for America's safety? Did the White House really file a supporting motion in court to block the peace rallies in NY? What scientific studies did Homeland Security use to determine duct tape and plastic were effective against chemical and biological bombs? And how is it that neither the FBI nor CIA gave the "informant" a lie detector test prior to issuing the Orange Alert? Doesn't that show incompetence of two agencies charged with protecting America?"

Blitzer never asked one of those questions. Although, cutting to commercial he did say, "CNN the most trusted name in news." Umm - Okay.

I would like to say that I was flabbergasted by this lackluster GOP-apologist performance, but the truth is, this is all we can expect from the lickspittle smarmy microphone that passes for today's media. How many "journalists" does it take to change a light bulb? None. They get well paid to work in the dark.

A couple of my Arab friends shared two small articles with me from Israeli newspapers. One story said that the US had ignored Israeli intelligence reports that Iraq's WMD capabilities were pretty much ineffective these days and their nuclear program was nil. The other story quoted US sources traveling with Mr. Bolton as assuring Israel that once Iraq was under control, the US would take care of Iran and Syria next. (Guess North Korea will just have to wait its turn.)

Now I point this out because in the entire debate about war on Iraq, I am not hearing the questions that keep rattling around inside my brain. I understand that I am just an average schmoe trying to make a living, and I am no cultured journalist or educated Foreign Service kind-of-guy; but it seems to me that something is missing in all this "coverage."

What does Bush and company get from a war with Iraq? Don't say "oil" because you don't need a war to get Iraqi oil. Dick Cheney and Haliburton proved that already. And the only winners from the first Gulf War were the oil companies. And don't say they get their agenda because the neo-conservatives and theocratic fundamentalists were already succeeding, thanks to milquetoast Democrats.

Everyone talks around the subject but no one makes the White House answer the question: Why, if Saddam has chemical and biological weapons, are you willing to risk thousands of lives by invading Iraq? Don't you think they will use them in defense of their country? Or is that what you are hoping for? Is that why the nuclear option is not only on the table but also in the news?

And therein lies the chilling question. What is going on here?

This White House is obsessed with elections and the installation of the GOP as the ruling party of America. Why would they be willing to risk a war that could run amok and generate thousands of horrible casualties of our military men and women? Their own credibility and coming presidential election is on the line here. What would be the benefit for them? And make no mistake; no calculation has gone unexamined by this cabal of conservative ideologists. So what exactly do they know that the rest of us are not allowed to know?

Has this White House really ignored Israeli intelligence reports? Or have they worked their plan according to these intelligence reports? What is the plan?

Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Potomac, someone has decided that war will be good for America. War will restore America. A good war will erase the stain of Vietnam and with it, the stench of men who failed to serve their country during Vietnam. Men who now step into the spotlight for the greater good of America. Other priorities, too many minorities in combat positions, and other rectum afflictions, are all dissolved in the safety of armchair leadership. Sometimes it is best to run away and fight another day - when you can get someone else's children to fight.

Does anyone really expect that when the troops plow through the desert, that the Iraqis will be there with little American flags waving and smiling with cheers of liberation as tanks and APCs roll into Baghdad? A Movietone moment like WWII? Really?

Will the defeat of an already decimated military and the mounds of "collateral damage" provide the catharsis America needs for 9/11? Will vanquishing a starving population and rag-tag army bring the sweet taste of revenge to America? A decisive and easy three-week war with few casualties will bring relief to America. Glad it is over. Grateful that not many American soldiers were killed. Sorry about the Iraqi civilians but -that's war. Rove knows this will be a hollow victory with little jubilation.

Does anyone remember, during the first Gulf War, the numerous reports of "chemical alarms" that triggered the military to don protective gear? Remember how those alarms were described as too sensitive or typical battlefield activation with all the sulfur and smoke etc.? And recall the government position on Gulf War syndrome, that it was not related to chemical or biological agents because none were used?

Now the nuclear option is available - and exactly how and who will determine the authenticity of the same chemical alarms? What improvements have been made since 1991? Are there "false positives" that could trigger a tactical response? Remember the movie Failsafe?

Will the Bush cadre go quietly when Iraq is conquered and there are no weapons of mass destruction? Or will it march on to Tehran? We have a grudge to settle with them, remember?

This cannot be a T.S. Eliot kind of war that ends in a whimper. This war needs a bang to undo the resistance of those scruffy peaceniks. This war needs a big bang to launch Bush into a second term or cancel the election. This war needs a big bang to bring the GOP glory to all of America. This war needs a big bang to show the old Europe how wrong they were and warn the rest of the world about messing with America ever again.

Something evil this way comes - but no one wants to ask. No one wants to know.
John Cory is 'Truthout' correspondent in Saudi Arabia



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