The Bush cabal uses 911 so brazenly and so often to skirt oversight and play outside the boundaries of the law that one has to wonder if the tragedy holds any real meaning for them at all. Think about it, if your child died, would you play on that death to get a promotion at work? Then how could roughly 3 thousand deaths be used for political shenanigans of the sort this administration indulges in? That, I suppose, is a moral question that cannot be answered by anyone on the outside and is probably never even considered by anyone on the inside of this administration.
For this brand of compassionate conservatives, humility, moral courage, and especially truth have no place. Power is the absolute and singular currency for the people who cavort in this tiny bubble of criminal privilege.
The Bush/Cheney cabal continues to build and enlarge their all-powerful, Soviet-like government - all built on the false premise that "911 changed everything." The heartless repetition of that slogan has enabled them to replace a Democracy with a near-authoritarian state in five short years while the rest of us were busy grieving.
Questioning the Bush administration brands one as "un-patriotic", or even a "terrorist sympathizer," even when all reason and logic point to the White House as the cradle of deceit, corruption, and un-patriotic crimes the likes of which this nation has never seen before.
How quickly and how often is the propaganda of "national security" trotted out by Bush, Cheney, Rove, and their ilk when they are caught violating the law? How often is the mantra of "securing the homeland" used in conjunction with the image of a tragic event that "could have been" or "should have been" prevented "if only this administration had more power"?
Take for example the argument recently presented by the administration in defending its illegal massive domestic surveillance program, which goes something like this:
"... that the expansion of powers for the NSA [or insert authority acronym of choice] is necessary to prevent another September 11th attack and that concerns for civil liberties are/should be secondary to the administration's concerns for national security."
Sound familiar? It should, as this argument has been applied to everything from "Elect John Kerry and terrorists will attack" to "attack a sovereign nation so that terrorists don't attack the homeland."
Stripping the Fallacy
The Bush folk have used and abused 911 long enough, have they not? Is it not about time that we, the victims of 911, reclaim the tragedy that belongs to us and use it to counter the false assertions, irrational arguments, and outright lies of an administration so willing to abuse the memory of those that died on that tragic day?
Let's begin with a simple correction of the most overused talking point regarding 911, that is, that the failure to prevent the attacks was in any way the result of insufficient authority, power, technology, information, or even imagination. That is a lie.
The failures of 911 were all caused by human error and none of these failures has been addressed or corrected by the expansion of power this administration has demanded and in most cases taken.
The NSA, with less power, less authority and more oversight, actually managed to work correctly pre-911. It was only key employees of the NSA who failed to do their jobs leading up to that attack.
On September 10, 2001 for example - a day before the attacks -the NSA experienced a major human error under the leadership of the very same man who went on after the attacks to construct the most massive and illegal domestic surveillance program in US history, all to correct a problem his own resignation would have easily solved.
'Heard 9/10: 'Tomorrow is Zero Hour'
By John Diamond and Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON -- Conversations intercepted the day before Sept. 11 caught al-Qaeda operatives boasting in Arabic, "The match begins tomorrow" and "Tomorrow is Zero Hour." But U.S. intelligence didn't translate them until Sept. 12, congressional and administration sources disclosed Wednesday. The failure of the National Security Agency to translate the conversations until the day after the terrorist attacks became the focus of an eight-hour closed hearing on Capitol Hill. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, head of the NSA, and CIA Director George Tenet told a House-Senate investigative committee that the intercepted communications were too vague to be of use, according to officials familiar with their testimony."
Was any employee of the NSA, up the chain of command and including Hayden, in any way reprimanded for failing to do their job? How was this massive failure - HUMAN FAILURE - addressed by this administration?
Hayden and the NSA were given more power, more technology, and more access to more private information to fix in a post-911 world the very things that worked correctly in the pre-911 world. The people failing to do their jobs, however - that is, the things that did not work correctly - were allowed to operate outside of the law and with almost no oversight.
This one HUMAN failure is but a single example of a collective incompetence so negligent that 19 men with box-cutters managed to bypass the most advanced technology and surveillance, the strongest military, and the most superior intelligence capabilities of the most powerful country in the world. Yet not one of these failures, not one of these people was in any way held accountable. Instead, we the citizens were punished with less freedom.
How is this reasonable and how can this administration possibly justify any of its abuses against the Constitution using the tragedy of 911 and the myth of an administration concerned with national security?
More importantly, how can anyone allow them to get away with it?
Would you let a person with a history of dropping babies watch your child? What if they dropped your child, what would you do? Would you keep them on and give them authority to inform you of their daily activities with your child as well as tend to any emergencies regarding your child? Would "trust me" be enough for you?
Would you allow a doctor with a history of negligence to operate on you? What if the doctor made a mistake that cost you your sight, would you keep that doctor on as your physician and then give him authority to report his own medical malpractice and to tend to you and your family without any professional oversight? Would "trust me" be enough for you?
Then how can anyone with any sense of reason think that the Constitution, that our country, that our resources, that our very safety should be handed over to the very people who have already failed us, and abused the very trust we had already granted them? And how can the argument be made that on top of "trusting them" we should also allow them to operate with little oversight and with additional powers that could potentially cause even more severe damage?
I am constantly asked what the people can do, as though I might hold a magic solution somewhere in a bag of tricks. The reality is far simpler than a bag of tricks or a jumble of solutions, and it already exists for all of us, should we have the patriotic courage to use it: Take back the argument and you take back the nation from the very people who use that argument to willfully destroy the nation.
Take back the language and you will take back the conversation. Take back the conversation and you will take back the argument. Take back the argument and you will take back public opinion. Take back public opinion and you will have the ability to defend the Constitution and take back the country.