James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Trying to terrorize the voters

Is there anybody who takes at face value the warnings about a large-scale terrorist attack in the United States this summer?


Recent polls show that something over half of Americans still believe George Bush is the best man to protect “the homeland” from terror attacks.

The Big Lie still works, and nobody since the Nazis has worked it so frequently and effectively as the Bush crowd. Even that word, “homeland,” which almost never was used in this country until the Bushies started hanging their hats on it, reeks of the old Nazi obeisance to the “fatherland.”

I’m not directly comparing Bushism and Nazism, but I am saying that someone in the Bush crowd obviously has made an in-depth study of Nazi propaganda techniques and those techniques are very obviously in play.

For those too young to remember how blatantly yet effectively the Big Lie was used in Germany in the 1930s and ‘40s: The term is defined in the “Dictionary of American Slang, Second Supplemented Edition,” as “a major political misrepresentation or complex of misrepresentations frequently repeated by political leaders in the hope that it will eventually be believed.”

Thus “Iraq is known to have weapons of mass destruction” and Iraq is “an immediate threat to the United States” and “the perpetrators of the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib were a small group of bad apples” and “Iraq is at the center of the war on terrorism.” Lies all, but repeated so frequently and with such phony conviction by the Bush crowd that a too-large percentage of Americans believe them.

But to get back to that warning from John Ashcroft and CIA chief Robert Mueller Wednesday (May 26) about a likely terrorist attack this summer:

Of course a major terrorist attack is possible, even probable – this spring, this summer, in the fall, at just about any time. The United States under Bush has become the object of scorn, fear and loathing throughout most of the world, and the subject of intense hatred throughout the Middle East. The number and passion of potential terrorists probably have grown tenfold in the past three and a half years.

Almost inevitably, we are going to suffer greatly at the hands of terrorists.

But the latest warning is phony nevertheless. Even some Republicans have begun to mutter about how every time the Bush administration suffers some sort of a political setback, we suddenly get another “orange alert.” Bush’s big speech a few days ago, supposed to have soothed us in our disgust with the torture of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, was pretty much a bomb. Only the most irrational of right wingers found anything of value in the speech, and the polls show Bush still sinking in public esteem – except for that ridiculous “homeland security” vote of some confidence.

So. Now we have another wave of warnings about potential attacks based on what John Ashcroft hinted was new “intelligence,” though it turned out there was nothing at all new. Not a thing.

Oh, yes, and there’s the clever new ploy – enlisting the public in seeking “suspected terrorist sympathizers.” The list also is old, and their pictures have been used before, but the new use of the photos may mean some more poor suckers are going to be imprisoned indefinitely without trial or even access to lawyers or even to their families. They may or may not even know someone who has some peripheral contact with someone who might be involved in terrorism.

It is impossible to believe that the warnings and sham public terrorist hunt are anything but a desperate attempt to overcome the failure of the Bush speech and his plummeting poll numbers.

Anyone who still thinks the Bushies couldn’t be that cynical is hopelessly naive.

Yes, we will suffer at the hands of terrorists, and probably horribly. But the new warnings from Ashcroft and Mueller mean nothing, except what they tell us about the administration’s lack of integrity.

In a flash of counter-cynicism I know is shared by many, my wife observed that “Ashcroft and Mueller say terrorists are going to strike places that symbolize American freedom and democracy. That means the safest place to be this summer is the Republican National Convention.”

Bitter humor is the most common kind these days, but how can it be otherwise?