In 1898, when Teddy Roosevelt ordered the First Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, dubbed the Rough Riders by the Press, to board the U.S.S. Yucatan in Tampa Bay harbor, he was so anxious to get to the glorious Spanish American War, he ordered that except for officer’s horses, all mounts were to be left on the dock. Perhaps that is why the press dubbed them the Rough Riders; the troopers didn’t have horses. But Teddy didn’t want to waste the time to properly supply his troops lest the war would be over before he arrived, before he had his chance for adventure and fame, to leave a personal legacy. He had someone fetch him a newspaper. When he read in one of William Randolph Hearst’s war mongering newspapers that the war was still going, Teddy was so elated, he did an Indian war dance on the deck of the ship.
We are now poised on the verge of another ‘glorious’ war, one that must seem to George W. Bush to be a glorious adventure, one that will bring fame to his presidential legacy (echoes of his father’s Desert Storm). Mr. Bush is so anxious to get there, that when he demanded in the U.N. that Iraq submit to weapons and chemical inspections, and they agreed a few days later, he dismissed their acceptance as being disingenuous, insincere, meaningless. Hell, let’s get it on!
If, indeed, Iraq ultimately decides to deter the weapons inspectors – now, with the whole world waiting to see what happens – why not let them be arbitrary and capricious, devious; let them fall on their collective face. It shall all happen in the next few weeks, and then, with the sanction of the world, with the evidence in hand, Mr. Bush can do his war dance.
Hell, no! They might just be sincere, and then where would this glorious war go, where would the fame, presidential legacy be? Let’s get on with this war right now, regardless of what it does to the economy, the stability of the world, that it might amalgamate the entire Arab world and trigger a wholesale war that would fulfill Nostradamus’s prediction of total conflagration.
Did I mention death and wounding of many young, innocent American youth who are blinded by patriotism, while their President is blinded by scenes of glory, not to mention protection of the Axis of Oil of which the President, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Rice are all charter members. Did I mention that Chevron had an oil tanker named “Condeleezza Rice”, which it now changed for the appearance of propriety. Many a young man died in Teddy Roosevelt’s glorious war. Sgt. Hamilton Fish was a victim in Teddy Roosevelt’s mad dash up Kettle Hill (it wasn’t San Juan hill). Why does our President see glory in young men being sacrificed in such a reckless way? Grieving mothers didn’t then, won’t now think the war as glorious.
What makes this mad dash to war worse is the lack of information, intelligence, knowledge with which the government – not limited to the Bushes – has been working vis a vis the mid-east. How can the President be so cock-sure of what he wants to do, who we should destroy, where to send our sons to battle, when the intelligence agencies that feed him information know not what they do.
If you want a view into the lack of knowledge and the confusion within those halls where we assume super clever people are right on top of every event that shapes our world, i.e., the White House, the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the National Security advisors, just keep listening to the congressional hearing into the 9/11 fiasco. All those agencies were playing house, with guns, and badges, and covert operations, with national security clearance – and not a clue!
Congress is investigating what we knew and when we knew it. Were we asleep at the switch. Well, in the hearings, it has come out that we knew quite a lot – and did nothing about it. We knew of Osama Bin Ladin being the most dangerous man in the world as far back as Oliver North when he was questioned before Congress in the Iran Contra hearings. He said Bin Ladin was the man to be eliminated or watched. Did we do anything in the many years since Ollie North? Well, maybe – but that’s top secret. All we knew was that Bin Laden was interested in harming the United States. We suspected that he blew up American embassies, the U.S.S. Cole, that he was likely to strike again. We also knew that he and his ilk were thinking about planes; thinking about the World Trade Center; taking flying lessons, perhaps to commandeer planes or wreak terror at airports; that they might use airplanes as weapons. That we knew. But, nobody told us the day, the hour, the target. Hell, without that precise information, what’s a guy to do?
The C.I.A. knew, but didn’t tell the F.B.I., because, you know, there’s a little institutional envy there. Agents of the F.B.I. knew about the people taking flying lessons, even filed reports. But, hell, when we know which plane is the bomb, and which airport they’re going to fly from, what their target is, and have the appropriate photo I.D. of the pilots, then we’ll act. So everyone was sitting on their wallets, asleep, totally asleep, at the switch, and those who weren’t asleep were ignored.
I know that hindsight is always 20/20, but when we knew all of this, did anyone undertake contingency plans. Just think of the morning of 9/11. The first plane went in at 8:46 The second, a half hour later. Now in that half hour, with three other planes up on radar screens, off course, their transponders cut off. WHAT IN HELL WAS DONE DURING THAT HALF HOUR? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Because there wasn’t a single line on a single piece of paper with a contingency plan. In the hour and a half that people in the first tower were on the roof, waiting for helicopter rescue, was there a single aspect of the contingency plan implemented? WHAT CONTINGENCY PLAN?
After 9/11, Mr. Bush made a pointed speech, saying, almost verbatim: “If I knew that these people would use planes as weapons, I would have done all in my power to protect America against them”.
Give us a break. The very fact that they didn’t have a signed plan, causes the need for employing everything in your power in many directions at once – NOT TOTAL INACTIVITY.
The President is the head of government. The government did know. At least enough to be very concerned. It opted to watch and wait. And thousands of Americans on American soil died.
And now the President wants to rush our sons to war. Don’t give those Arab suckers a chance to do the right thing, he says. They said they will comply with weapons inspection. But, we don’t even want to know if they will or not. This is going to be glorious war. A legacy to be remembered by posterity.
The ‘top secret’ or ‘national security’ blanket with which the government has been hiding its activities are nothing but a cloak to disguise the ignorance and inactivity that plagued us into a sense of false security before 9/11, that permitted the World Trade Center to happen, while everyone was waiting for a blue print.
The Government now says, Trust Me. And, perhaps, we should answer, We Shall Never Forget, directing that concern to more than the Middle East Axis of Evil. We should be very concerned with the Axis of Oil.