Friday :: Aug 11, 2006

Flying 'Barefoot, Barehanded, And Buck Naked'


by pessimist

Hard on the heels of the New York Times editorial blasting Bu$hCo for being political opportunists, using terror threats to advance their agenda, comes another such broadside from The Philadelphia Inquirer Daily News [Tip of the Titanium Tam O'Shanter to BlueMan]:

THESE PEOPLE have no shame. Their contempt for democracy is so great they will stop at nothing to undermine it. Their adherence to fundamentalist beliefs that blinds them to reality is frightening. They must be stopped.
And that's just the Republicans.
While our Vacationer-in-Chief and his vice president shut down dissent, and discourage questions about the way our government has directed our intelligence and military resources toward a single target in Iraq, we are no closer to understanding or dismantling the threat of al Qaeda.
Cheney's remarks underscore just how unsophisticated our understanding of terrorism is. We have no more understanding of the global forces at work that lead so many to want to bomb and destroy innocent lives than we did five years ago.
Has Cheney completely lost it?

Just be sure to take your medicine before the plane takes off, Unka Dickie! You wouldn't want to be treated like a terrorist.

But I digress.

To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane.

Cheney's comments came out a day before British intelligence officials announced they had thwarted a major terrorist attack. Surely Cheney was aware of the plot and the work to thwart it, and was no doubt aware of the timing of yesterday's announcement.

The Guardian confirms both Blair and Bush had prior knowledge of the plot, so there is every reaqson to believe that Cheney - and Rove - did as well.

WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson puts this insidious political opportunism into the common traveller's perspective:

When unsmiling agents at the airport take away your contact lens solution, your toothpaste, and your cologne or after-shave, remember Osama bin Laden.
Remember the real war on terrorism that the Bush administration and its allies
decided not to fight, preferring cowboy-style military adventures.
The plot demonstrates that al-Qaeda lives on, either as a functioning organization or, even more chillingly, as an inspiration to jihadists around the world. If only the president would fight that war. If only he hadn't turned away from the hunt for bin Laden to chase his neocon advisers' delusions of spreading pro-American democracy at the point of a gun.

Maybe the discovery of the airliner plot will bring us back to the real world. There are deadly enemies out there, and one way to fight them, as the British demonstrated yesterday, is through intelligence. One way not to fight them, as the Bush administration continues to demonstrate, is through reckless military action that may kill terrorists but also kills innocent civilians and thus creates a new generation of terrorists -- doubtless including some bright young man or woman who will come up with a new idea for downing civilian airliners.

Shoe bombs didn't work, and now we shuffle through the metal detectors in our socks.

Liquid explosives didn't work, and now we will fly with unbrushed teeth.

We can be sure that somewhere in some anonymous apartment, maybe in Paris or Frankfurt or Karachi, a group of unknown conspirators has absorbed the failure of the London plot and already begun to develop a new approach to mass murder.

We will end up boarding our flights barefoot, barehanded and buck naked except for a hospital gown they'll make us put on at the airport.

Osama bin Laden will be watching CNN from his cave, smiling contentedly.

As will Dick and Brain, safely isolated in the Sekrit Hidey-hole Oval Office while Da Prez hacks at the tumbleweeds in Crawford.

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