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Defending the Indefensible February 6, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Constitution, George Bush, Homeland Security, Iraq War, National Politics, Obama Administration, Republicans.
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cheneyWell, it appears as though the Prince of Darkness is at it again.  Speaking to Politico on Tuesday, Mr. Cheney – in his best Mr. Potteresque growl – warned that the policies of the Obama administration pretty much mean that the United States will suffer another catastrophic terrorist attack.  “When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said. 

Being a conspiracy theorist of the highest order, I have always believed that Bush and Cheney allowed the 9-11 attacks to happen as a catalyst for their visions toward remaking America.  Cheney was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century, a neocon group that realized its goals would not be achievable “absent some catastrophic catalyzing event -like a new Pearl Harbor” (Rebuilding America’s Defenses, P. 63).    I think, however, that the magnitude of 9-11 unhinged them, and thus the Imperial Presidency was born.

Nothing illustrates this better than than the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.  Despite the fact that a vehicle was available to conduct electronic surveillance on communications outside the U.S. (FISA), the Bush Administration insisted it needed more.  They didn’t feel they should have to bother asking the secret FISA court for a warrant – even though it could have been granted in less than 24 hours. 

Though civil libertarians freaked out over the new NSA program, former President Bush – in April 2004 – assured Americans that NO American would be spied upon.  In December 2005, however, the New York Times published an article exposing the truth.  Americans were being spied upon – and in great numbers.

I’m telling you, I knew it.  First hand.

My daughter, who has an Arabic-sounding name, had a great friend who was a Yemeni from Lackawanna, NY.  Yes, that Lackawanna.  As 13-year old girls do, they were on the phone morning till night.  The friend’s father still had relatives in Yemen and spoke to them regularly.  Imagine – a phone that gets calls from Yemen is making calls to an American with an Islamic-like name.  Further imagine that that phone is owned by someone who works for the federal government and has a security clearance.  Is there any wonder that my husband and I ended up on a no-fly list when we tried to board a plane for Las Vegas in October 2005?  Though we got it cleared up after producing many documents (prescient on MY part to bring them), I was really annoyed.  Two months later I read that Americans WERE spied on – and it all became clear. 

This is what I don’t get about Cheney defending the Bush policies.  They were NOT catching terrorists.  They were just preventing two poor schlubs from losing all their money at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino (not that it worked – I lost my ass).   The Bushies and their friends are talking about all the attacks they thwarted and how safe they kept us when it was all just dumb luck – like a lot of good police work.  People are still bringing weapons on planes and containers are still coming into the country unchecked.  The borders are porous and the agencies charged with preventing biological attacks have been financially gutted.  Yet Cheney sits glowering in his chair to defend these inane policies.

That’s just indefensible.

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