Osama, Bush and the Thrust for Power
Guest Blogger: Dave Amos, Arcadia, Calif.
Without 9-11 and Osama bin Laden, where would George W. Bush be? Back in Texas, that’s where. There is no question that without Osama bin Laden Bush would have clearly lost the 2004 presidential election to the lukewarm Sen. John Kerry, or for that matter, anyone the Democratic Party would have offered as their presidential candidate.
It is equally true that Osama needs a Bush type mentality in the American White House in order generate foolish responses by Islamic extremists. The majority of Arabs, and Muslims around the world, feel the United States and the western world are doing their best to oppress them. Bush’s invasion of Iraq confirmed that Osama bin Laden is right.
This effectively symbiotic relationship between Bush and Osama goes a long way to explain why Osama still runs free. It is not at all unreasonable, when one understands Bush’s and the GOP’s reliance on the continuing existence of Osama bin Laden, to suppose that Bush has no real intention of eliminating Osama – he needs him too much. In short, without Osama, Bush would no longer be in power.
Until 9-11, Bush’s approval rating was in the doldrums: well under 50%. He was a lackluster president who irritated the majority of American voters by betraying his pledge to be a “uniter” and making little attempt to form a consensus in the body politic and doggedly pushing a hard-line neo-conservative agenda that, in the main, most found offensive. With 9-11 Bush was able to promote himself as the “America’s Protector” (this, in spite of the fact that his Administration was totally asleep at the wheel when the 9-11 attack took place). Fear motivated many American voters to throw away their differences with the Bush Administration and accept the notion (carefully propagandized via the media) that Bush was a strong and decisive leader who would keep us safe from terrorists.
Bush (or, is it Karl Rove?) moved quickly and the tawdry Patriot Act was put before Congress for a vote (with little time allowed for congressmen and senators to actually read the bill, which few did) and any opposition to this blatant grabbing of executive power timidly shrank away due to fear of not being on the side of “Good Americans” in Bush’s self-declared “war on terror.” Very few brave souls (only the ones in very safe Congressional districts did) objected.
When it was seen how easy it was to bulldoze the opposition, Bush (again, was it Karl Rove?) continued to move at a record pace by gearing up for an “invasion” of Afghanistan when the Taliban leaders refused to deliver Osama – in keeping with medieval Pathan concepts of honor – whose concepts, one should assume, were well known to intelligence consultants in the Bush Administration.
Having no real way to counter American air power in concert with the power of the northern warlords, the Taliban quickly collapsed. With this, Bush had a “victory” to bolster his standing with the American people. Osama, however, somehow managed to get away.
In the meantime, using the excuse of 9-11 (and grossly misleading the American public) Bush advocated a war with Iraq. This is spite of the fact that the foreign policy and military experts, both Republican and Democratic alike, advised against such a folly, making the case that Iraq has never been a unified country and the suggested invasion would result in a vast quagmire of competing forces--Shi'a, Sunni, Kurds, and secularists--that do not share the same goals. Professional foreign policy observers saw a huge internal political sandpit and an anchor around the neck of the American military. How prescient they were.
But Bush insisted that the invasion was necessary to continue his (and, now our) war on terrorism, and the American people, for the most part, believed him. Osama, in the mean time, was still, and continues to be free.
Everything about American involvement in Iraq is a lie; a lie generated by George W. Bush and his policy advisors. The imagined existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was a lie. And most of all, the relationship of the invasion to the war on terror was a lie; a lie that is repeated even today, over and over again by the Bush Administration. They cannot abandon that lie, for to do so is to admit the utter ruthlessness of the Bush team as they strive for absolute power.
Part Two on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2006