Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I have been saying for some time now that the problems of the Bush Admin go far beyond "16 little words" and the evidence of all the lies and half-truths is starting to mount. Here's a good article confirming my suspicions:
Iraq is providing the Bush administration with some hard and necessary lessons. One home truth is that frightening the voters only works for a while. George Bush & Co put a great deal of effort into persuading Americans that Saddam Hussein posed a direct threat to home, high school, family SUV and, generally, to the American way of life. Lest we forget, Bush claimed at one point that unmanned aerial vehicles could menace US cities with biological or chemical weapons. Dick Cheney went bigger than big on the supposed Iraqi nuclear threat. Bush adopted the notorious Blair-Campbell "45 minutes to Armageddon" one-liner, as well as the exotic Niger yellowcake fairytale.

Yet nearly two years after 9/11; after two all-out wars; after a deal of extra-judicial killing and illegal incarceration; after attorney-general John Ashcroft's faith-led subversion of the US constitution; and three months after Saddam joined Osama bin Laden and the Taliban's Mullah Omar in the displaced-but-not-deleted category - do Americans really feel any safer?

Many voters must wonder, with Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry, whether increased resources for airline and border security, police, firefighters and a more effective FBI might not be a better bet than spending $3.9bn a month on occupying a country that does not want to be occupied. That total does not include the Afghan quagmire - or the human and political cost of daily US casualties. Another White House contender, Dick Gephardt, says a "macho" Bush has left the US "less safe and less secure".

Even Bush's most obliviously hawkish officials have given up claiming that toppling Saddam has somehow reduced the al-Qaida threat. It is still out there - and may be intensifying.