Puzzling Questions Arise from Bush's Campaign of Fear†
by Ralph NAder
April 4, 2003
With the chicken hawk-driven war on Iraq in high gear, Bush and Cheney have learned that the best way to silence the Democratic Party, distract from their miserable domestic outrages and provide the corporate and rich classes with favors is to envelop our nation in fear. Using false or distorted statements, contrary to the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies, to exaggerate Iraqi threats, weapons and terrorist (al-Qaeda) connections as reasons for the war, their invasion and prolonged occupation may produce greater risks of stateless terrorism in the U.S. Last fall, the CIA informed Congress of just this higher probability resulting from an Iraqi invasion. Watching reports describing our draft-dodging President as totally immersed in the scope and details of his Iraqi invasion, a number of puzzling questions arise:
1.) Why is Bush pouring half of the entire U.S. military at huge cost into the Persian Gulf while rejecting the frantic requests by cities and states (such as New York City) for overdue monies for homeland security?
2.) What will Bush say to Americans if no weaponized nuclear, chemical or biological materials are found in Iraq or, if found, not used, as 60 Minutes World War II vet Andy Rooney believes we ourselves would use if a powerful foreign invasion was overwhelming our country? The CIA told Bush that Saddam would be more likely to use these chemical and biological weapons if the U.S. invades.
3.) With domestic necessities of the American people being ignored, why is Bush pushing Congress for yet another huge tax cut for the wealthy while Alan Greenspan is warning about larger budget deficits this year and afterwards?
4.) Albeit surrounded by his little clique of ideologues, why has Bush refused requests to meet from any of thirteen major antiwar groups representing tens of millions of Americans? They include labor, business, clergy, human rights, war veterans, academics with national security experience, physicians and elected city officials who have much to inform him. Some have battle experience in the Gulf and know about toxic exposures to our troops. Others have returned from Iraq with first hand knowledge about conditions. Still others are steeped in the boomerang effect of ill-advised belligerence and distraction from more serious global conflicts and struggles against sabotage. Tony Blair in London received for nearly an hour a delegation from the National Council of Churches headed by former Congressman Bob Edgar. Yet the Council leaders have been rejected by their own President for the past year. There is the cause and effect of history that Bush needs to know about in the Middle East. Maybe he would not have used the word "crusade" or have invoked God's will and his divine guidance regarding overthrowing Saddam. Such references are viewed in Islamic societies as meaning a religious war.
But Bush does not seek any advice, information or insights from these informed Americans. He ignored all their written requests (see www.essentialaction.org).†
5.) Immersed in Iraq, Bush pays little attention to America. He is spending far more time on the Middle East, and destructively so, than on the manufacturing decline of the Middle West. And he wants to cut veterans benefits. His unchallenged domination of the mass media leaves little space for others to raise these issues.
Heard about opportunity cost (or opportunities lost) of his Messianicmilitarism lately? No attention to a long frozen minimum wage, worsening poverty, skyrocketing drug prices along with soaring consumer bills for oil and natural gas. Heard about advances needed for energy efficiency and solar power and less gas guzzling motor vehicles? Bush has put America on hold!
6.) What is a weapon of mass destruction anyhow? Ask Iraqi families whether or not Bush has sent weapons of mass destruction from the air, from the sea and on land, to smash their country and destroy tens of thousands of lives in order to topple one man. Haven't the economic sanctions blocking medicines, surgical materials and sanitation purifiers for clean drinking water taken the lives of enough Iraqi children over a decade? Deliberately making civilians suffer for a military overthrow of a dictator happens to be a violation of international law.
7.) Why did know-it-all Bush, who ironically brags about making decisions from his gut, stifle dissent from his war policy and its likely aftermath that still simmers at sub-cabinet levels inside the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department? Leading retired Generals, Admirals, diplomats and national security officials tried to articulate the same criticism publicly over the past few months.
8.) Except for the oil and munitions industries, the war is a downer on the economy. A few business executives have spoken up strongly. Most are not prone to speak publicly for fear of retaliation by the Bush Administration which, in this area, is believed to be vindictive against corporate dissenters.
From the big Geneva Switzerland auto show last month, Automotive News' executive editor, Peter Brown of Detroit, talked to many European auto executives. He writes: "Personally, most of the executives oppose the war as unnecessary and likely to lead to greater terrorism and instability." This is pretty much the judgment of most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment whose prominent ex-government officials are also being ignored by the all-knowing, instinct-driven President.
Ralph Nader is Americaís leading consumer advocate. He is the founder of numerous public interest groups including Public Citizen, and has twice run for President as a Green Party candidate. His latest book is Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President (St. Martinís Press, 2002)