Mike the Mad Biologist

Saturday Sermon: Post-9/11 Panic Syndrome

A while ago, I mentioned that I like the idea of keeping Sheila Bair on because she didn’t panic like a ninny, unlike most of the other Bushies–who panicked like ninnies about everything. Gary Kamiya says it better:

The miasma of repressed fear that has hung over America for so long will not dissipate overnight. Right-wing pundits are shrieking that we must keep torturing to keep America safe, and claiming that if Guantánamo detainees are moved into ordinary prisons, America’s cities will be the targets of terrorist attacks. These boogeymen have been effective for years, and they will not instantly disappear. But since Obama’s repudiation of Bush’s hide-under-the-bed-and-shoot ethos, the country already feels more like the home of the brave and less like a land of furtive torturers.

When you think of the Bush presidency, fear isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The cowboy swagger, the macho “bring it on” boasts, the loud declarations of a “war on terror,” the endless statements that we were going to fight until final victory — the president and his administration came across like John Wayne, not Walter Mitty. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld carried the Biggus Dickus role to extremes, turning press conferences into a testosterone-spraying contest, treating anyone who dared to question his brilliant Iraq tactics, his fleet of unarmored Humvees or his pie-in-the-sky ideas about a tiny new high-tech army like a 98-pound weakling. And the approach worked like a charm: Congressional Democrats and the mainstream media, fearful of being painted as “weak on national security,” waggled their derrieres in the air like lower-status baboons deferring to a group of alpha males.

But behind their posturing, Bush, his manly-men cronies and their right-wing cheering section were trembling weenies who fled their posts at the first shot. In a perfect world, they would not only be dragged before the International Criminal Court for their crimes, but suffer public branding for desertion, their bars ripped off and their sabers broken as in the opening scene in the old Chuck Connors TV show “Branded.”

Bush allowed a tiny band of fanatics, led by a turbaned bozo hiding in a cave, to so terrify him that he abandoned his sworn duty to preserve, protect and defend the United States and what it stands for. Like a nervous, inexperienced general who panics at an enemy feint and pours troops from both wings into the skirmish, exposing his army’s flanks, Bush completely lost sight of both strategy and tactics. Unmanned by fear, he treated a small group of Salafi jihadists who managed to get in a lucky strike as if they were a monstrous, apocalyptic entity from an evil galaxy beyond space and time, an army of Satanists endowed with inhuman powers. Then, having created this phantasmagorical enemy out of some right-wing biblical sci-fi novel, he proceeded to fight it by trashing America’s most cherished traditions, embracing torture and Big Brother tactics. His hysterical reaction not only increased global hatred against the U.S. and bred many more terrorists than he killed, it overburdened and severely weakened our military and allowed the real enemy to slip away.

If Bush was a student at a military college, he’d have flunked out.

The callow Bush fell into bin Laden’s trap. As its name implies, terrorism is intended to terrify. Its strategic motivation, insofar as it has one, is to make those who are terrified react in irrational, self-defeating ways. The 9/11 attacks were not only terrifying, their terror was hideously spectacular. It is understandable that many Americans were so terrified and traumatized by the 9/11 attacks that they were willing to do anything, abandon any principle, to be safe. But a general, unlike a private, must be coldblooded, able to size up the battlefield situation dispassionately and move his pieces around the board like a chess player. It was Bush’s responsibility to rationally evaluate the threat posed by al-Qaida and take the appropriate measures to address it. Instead, he lost his poise, declared an impossible, unwinnable and counterproductive “war on terror,” gratuitously invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and ordered U.S. military and intelligence personnel to begin using Gestapo tactics.

Bush called it a “war on terror.” But it was really a war of terror — his terror.

Bush’s cowardice, masquerading as he-man toughness, led him to do unforgivable things. The most glaring example is torture.

Well, I don’t know about that last sentence: invading Iraq was pretty fucking stupid too. Regardless, I never did get why people thought Bush et alia were tough guys. First, when they went up against really hard men (i.e., North Korea), they got rolled. Repeatedly. Second, if you’ve ever known hard men–I don’t mean wannabes, but the real thing–these guys simply were not it. They acted like TV tough guys–from really bad TV, no less.

Before Blogger EATED my old blog, I often wrote that the Iraqi insurgents didn’t care if Karl Rove won the 2002 midterm elections (hell, anyone can beat the Democrats). It took the collapse of everything to relase that Bush was all hat and no cattle…

Comments

  1. #1 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 31, 2009

    The phrase is “all hat and no cattle”. And I disagree that the Bush regime acted out of cowardice, although I do not doubt that he and his cronies are cowards. Rather, I believe that they opportunistically used the 9/11 terror attack as a smokescreen for looting the Treasury and making an executive power-grab.

  2. #2 Paul Murray
    January 31, 2009

    Regardless of the individual courage of servicepeople in the armed forces, the ethos of the way the technological west wages war: “force protection” before all else, is cowardly. If an individual soldier put his own bodily safety before any other consideration, we know it for what it is. It is no less so when it becomes strategic policy. If “force protection” is the primary consideration because of political reasons, then that only means that the cowardice is on the part of the greater society.

    After all, force protection was not the primary consideration when our nations were *really* at war, against the axis, the hun, or the mad corsican.

    A person who is afraid has no moral qualms. It’s a mid-brain thing: the “flight” reaction switches off everything else. Cowards fight dirty, always. So do people who view their opponents as subhuman prey. Ironically, of the four “F”s, it is the “Fight” response that admits of limited and honourable conflict.

  3. #3 yogi-one
    February 1, 2009

    PhysioProf is right.

    They were cowards, but they had a plan. They wanted to grab power and keep it forever. They wanted to turn over the constitution, and the eventual strategy was to declare a national catastrophe and start using that dreaded Presdential Directive 51 to unilaterally run the government – permanently.

    Their dreams were realized in the war on Iraq – a privatized, completely lawless disaster capitalism environment where illegal deals could be made with no record keeping, the taxpayers money could simply be handed over to corporate executives in suitcases of cash with no accounts of the transactions kept.

    Like bullys/cowards, they had no empathy for other life (of any kind, be it human, animal, or the environment). They were not themselves religious (possibly Bush was the exception here) but they saw that religious hordes could be used to achieve authoritarian goals.They wanted the public to be poor, uneducated, propagandized, and controlled police-state style to consolidate their power.

    They should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and both Cheney and Bush should have been impeached for violating their oath to protect the Constitution.

    The evidence of 9-11 should not have been carted away in trucks until it was fully investigated. There should have been a thorough investigation of 9-11, particularly why the buildings collapsed the way they did, and what Dick Cheney’s role in the correct military response should have been. We need answers as to why the hijackers, many of whom had multiple incidents with authorities in the months before the attacks, were not under surveillance at the time. We need a thorough investigation of Larry Silverstein’s $2 Billion dollar insurance payoff, and we need to know why there was a huge uptick in the short-selling of stocks in the companies most directly affected (such as United Airlines) in the final days just before 9-11.

    President Obama step up. Do what’s right.

    Or else it will surely happen again.

  4. #4 mirc
    February 21, 2009

    thanks

  5. #5 mirc
    March 16, 2009

    thank you

  6. #6 nusret
    August 22, 2009

    very thanks for article

  7. #7 es es dizisi
    September 2, 2009

    tanks you very nice

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