The President Who Cried Wolf
The indictments in the Turd Blossom Plame Leak are coming. The president’s approval ratings are in the toilet. More than half of America thinks Iraq is a mistake. Bush’s base doesn’t like his new Supreme Court nominee. Republican congressional leaders are being investigated. People are still talking about the whole Mike Brown / FEMA/ Katrina debacle.
Time for one of those orange terror alerts!
OK, so the recent terror alert citing specific, credible threats to New York’s subway system at a specific date and time using specific methods turned out to be a specific hoax. And maybe it’s unfair of me to jump Bush’s case when it was Bloomberg and the locals calling for the heightened alert. But just where does New York City get its high-level classified international terrorism warnings from, anyway? They’re not printing it in the Post, and I’m pretty sure Bloomberg doesn’t have an enormous international al-Qaeda infiltrating spy ring.
This has all the earmarks of the White House ringing the terror bell again, but being smart enough to keep their fingerprints off of it.
Tonight on Countdown on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann will be examining the correlation between thirteen incidents of bad political news for the president and thirteen subsequent increases in the terror alert level (from yellow to orange to burnt sienna to raw umber to crimson to…) Now, of course, correlation does not prove causation, but it does lead one to wonder about a pattern.
But Russ, what do you expect them to do? If they don’t raise the alert and an attack does happen, then you’ll be screaming about them not warning the public. That’s true. For safety’s sake, I’d much rather overreact to a terrorist hoax than underreact to the real thing.
The problem lies in the lies. I’ve heard so many lies from the Bush maladministration that their credibility is shot. I have no margin to forgive overreaction now, no benefit of a doubt to give, no reason not to believe the terror alerts are anything but politically motivated. Former Homeland Insecurity Secretary Tom Ridge all but admitted as much.
There is no trust in the intelligence gathering capabilities of this maladministration. When there was a real terrorist threat, in August of 2001, when Harriet “Bush is the most brilliant man I know” Miers was handing Bush some intelligence entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack inside the US”, when agents were learning of young Muslim students learning to steer but not land jumbo jets, when Kindasleezzy Lies was saying no one could imagine flying planes into buildings, when we really could have used a terrorism “red alert”, we heard nothing. The intelligence was right, but it was never used.
Then in the run up to the Iraq War, we heard about all sorts of intelligence. Saddam has WMDs. Saddam has ties to al Qaeda. Saddam sought significant quantities of uranium from Niger. All sorts of intelligence that was wrong, but was hyped to the extreme to get us into Iraq.
Then there’s the intelligence used to plan and execute the Iraq War. We’ll be greeted as liberators. It’ll only take six months and cost few lives. The country can pay for its own reconstruction. Mission Accomplished. Once again, bad intelligence.
The maladministration says they’ve foiled 10 terrorist plots. Interesting how we’re only hearing about them now, isn’t it? We really haven’t seen much proof of such a thing, but assuming it’s true, then good for them… and us. Really, it’s not like I sit here wishing for a terrorist attack to come true just to make Bush look bad (or, I suppose, look good by vindicating the rise of a terror alert level). What I wonder, though, is how those ten foiled plots had anything to do with raising the terror alert level from canary to pumpkin? If they can foil these plots without scaring the bejeebus out of us, what’s the point in scaring the bejeebus out of us?
Another maddening thing is how these terror alerts rally the red state masses, but have very little practical effect on the red states themselves. New York City is overwhelmingly Democratic and they not only suffered the most from domestic terrorism, but they also get the brunt of all these alerts. Is anyone in Rexburg Idaho, Ames Iowa, or Pigs Knuckle Arkansas really worked up about terrorism? No. An orange terror alert does nothing to disrupt the everyday lives of your average red state Bush voter. But in the blue urban cityscape, from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego on the left coast to Boston, New York, Philly, and DC on the right coast, and every major city in between, Bush-hating commuters (and even many Bush-loving commuters) have to put up with increased stress, invasion of privacy, police intimidation, security checkpoints, long waits, frustrating commutes, and the worry that maybe, just maybe, BushCo got the intelligence right this time and we might really get blown up.