War Fever in Washington, DC

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”- Isaac Asimov, ‘Foundation’

In March, Georgia Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said out loud what many people had been thinking.

She told a radio talk show audience that she suspected that the Bush administration had known about 9-11’s terrorist attacks before they happened, implying that the attacks might have been allowed to happen so that Bush and other influential Republicans in and out of his administration would benefit politically and financially.

“What do they have to hide?” she asked a Pacifica Network Radio audience. “What did this administration know and when did they know it?”

As President Bush and his war cabinet beat the drums for war with Iraq. They’ve told the United Nations that the UN will become irrelevant if it does not agree with US policy. They’ve gotten the fawning consent of Democratic Congressional leaders for a war resolution. But questions about 9-11 and other topics have created persistent suspicions about the administration’s integrity and motivations.

McKinney was one of the first national figures to ask such questions. She noted that the Bush the W, and Bush the Elder, were financially or personally linked to businesses and individuals who stood to reap billions of dollars if the US waged war in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

McKinney paid dearly for her comments.

She was called “dumber than rock salt and more repugnant than Yasser Arafat’s three-week-old underwear” by a conservative columnist. Another Republican pundit said that McKinney was a “dangerous fool whose voice needs to be stifled.” A fellow Democratic representative said that her comments were “dangerous and irresponsible.”

Then stepped in what McKinney calls “the Israel lobby.” Along with conservative Georgia newspapers, Republicans, and unabashed racists, supporters of Israel spent lots of money to help McKinney’s opponent in an election battle this summer.

McKinney lost, and her days in Congress are numbered.

But maybe McKinney will have the last laugh.

Since March, McKinney’s worst suspicions have been confirmed.

A Congressional committee just released a report detailing how US administration and intelligence officials had specific credible warnings (or easy access to such warnings), about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden planning to use airplanes as bombs against targets in the US during summer, 2001.

Although the warnings date back to the Clinton administration in 1994, the most important failures took place after Bush took office in January, 2001.

Intelligence analysts, foreign intelligence services, and domestic US law enforcement agents warned Bush officials about a “spectacular attack designed to inflict mass casualties.attack will occur with little or no warning.” The warnings included specific mention of bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

The National Security Agency, which works closely with the White House, picked up at least 33 communications intercepts between May and July 2001 indicating that an imminent terrorist attack was likely.

During Congressional hearings this week, representatives of relatives and spouses of people who died in the terrorist attacks on 9-11 wept publicly in anger as they heard how the CIA, FBI and Bush officials ignored warning after warning.

“It’s almost like they wanted it to happen,” one relative said bitterly. “They could have stopped it. Within hours of the attacks, the FBI knew exactly where to go to find where the terrorists had gotten their flying lessons, and began hauling in hundreds of people that they must have known about ahead of time.”

The Bush administration has made it very hard for the victim’s survivors and Congress to find out what the administration knew and when they knew it.

“Are we getting the cooperation we need? Absolutely not,” said Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby, referring to the administration’s attitude toward Shelby’s Congressional investigations committee.

Florida Democratic Senator Bob Graham said the committee had tried to get testimony and other information from people who had “hands on these issues and what we’re being told is no, [the administration]don’t want to make those kinds of witnesses available.”

Graham and Shelby are to be commended for their courage. The Justice Department and FBI has gone on a witch hunt against journalists and senators who allegedly leaked “secret information” that revealed embarrassing details of the administration’s intelligence failures prior to 9-11.

Subpoenas, lie detector tests, and interrogations have been used to try to find those who leaked the information.

Such tactics are intimidating, but not as harsh as those used on protesters who have attempted to demonstrate against Bush and his executives in the last four months.

In August, police pepper sprayed and beat dozens of environmentalist and anti-war protesters who were on hand at a Bush fund-raiser in Portland. Similar attacks on protesters have happened around the country, effectively stifling non-violent dissent at most events attended by administration officials and the president.

Nevertheless, the “peace movement” is uniting quickly in an attempt to stop Bush’s planned invasion of Iraq and his general reliance on unilateral military action that most observers believe will result in a costly bloodbath that could destabilize the entire Mideast and perhaps trigger a world war.

Bush was rebuked by the International Atomic Energy Commission for wildly distorting the Commission’s views on whether Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had atomic weapons of mass destruction. Nelson Mandela said that Bush was a threat to world peace. A Russian official described Bush as “a new Hitler.”

Japanese critics noted that the US is the only country ever to have used atomic weapons of mass destruction, as they commemorated in August the US’s World War Two use of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs literally melted hundreds of thousands of people alive, as depicted in the classic black and white movie, “Black Rain.”

Japanese commentators said that the US did not need to drop the bombs because Japan was already in the process of signing a surrender order when the then-new weapons were dropped to kill hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting innocent civilians.

Information about peace-oriented events, individuals and organizations is available on Pacifica Network radio stations, and national Pacifica shows such as Democracy Now, which can be heard via the Internet at www.democracynow.org.

Pacifica stations such as www.kpfk.org are broadcasting in-depth news programs featuring testimony from weapons experts, politicians, and foreign affairs specialists who say that Bush’s war plans have more to do with taking control of Mideast oil than with ridding the world of an “insane dictator.”

Among the few members of the US Congress to openly oppose Bush and the war are Representatives Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters. These women also are among the few Congresspersons to openly oppose the war on drugs.

For more information about anti-war activities and perspectives, visit www.commondreams.org and www.counterpunch.org. For information about Cynthia McKinney: www.counterpunch.org/mckinney0918.html