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War on terrorism - made in U.S.A ?
By Karamatullah K. Ghori

Toronto: A policy constant of the Bush administration since it declared war on terrorism, within minutes of the September 11 incidents , has been to keep hammering away at the theme that 'terrorist' threat to America is still alive. Not a week passes by without someone or the other from the administration's hard inner core reminding the Americans that Al-Qaeda could be up to some new mischief. To their disappointment, and the relief of harassed Americans, none of their doomsday evocations has yet been proven right. But the game of keeping the American people on their edge goes on unabated.

In the latest turn of events, however, the boot is found on the other leg. The Bush White House is suddenly reeling under a barrage of mounting suspicions, innuendos and doubts about its avowed commitment to keep America shielded against terrorism.

Evidence surfacing in the newsmedia on both sides of the Atlantic suggests that George W. Bush had categorical evidence, furnished to him in early August of last year-a good 4 to 5 weeks before the cataclysmic September 11 events-from his intelligence advisers that Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network was planning a hijacking of american aircraft. That Bush and his team sat on this evidence and did nothing is at the core of the gathering storm. For the first time since September 11, Bush's popularity with the American people, whetted by his incessant jingoistic rhetoric, seems to be taking a beating. His motive for not acting on the advance warning he so clearly had is being publicly questioned. Congress too is getting into the act. The Democrats, who had been holding their peace since September 11 because of Bush's swelling popularity as a hero in the front line of 'war on terrorism', now see an opening to make an inroad on his public image of a crusader, and bring him down to earth.

It is not only the political rivals of Bush who are on the offensive to know why he did not act on the intelligence tips in his possession. Independent observers, knowing Bush's total commitment to advance the interest of America's military industrial complex at the cost of all others, are also detecting the pattern of a deliberate design, if not a conspiracy, to invite September 11 upon the American people. 

It does not take a genius to understand that in the aftermath of September 11, it is the corporate world of defence production that has been reaping a windfall. This is the segment of America's corporate culture, alongwith, of course, the well-heeled oil lobby connected to the Bush clan for decades, that was responsible for foisting a man of George W. Bush's below-average intelligence on the American people. For them it is the pay-off time, and they are the ones collecting all the bonuses out of whatever September 11 spawned. Even to the least suspecting of conspiracy theorists, the finger of suspicion , for not taking the intelligence warnings seriously, points inexorably in the direction of Bush, and the hawks around him. 

A recent best-seller book, by the provocative title of Stupid White Men, sheds copious light on the indebtedness of the Bush clan to America's corporate barons for their patronage and bankrolling of the Bushes in the arcane world of U.S. politics. The author of this book is Michael Moore, an entertainment wizard whose tv programmes are a hit with the American people. Moore is also a political activist who worked in Ralph Nader's presidential campaign of 2000 to challenge the choke-hold of the two mainstream political parties on American voters.

Moore has laboriously documented a variety of sources to buttress his argument that the Bushes , for generations, have been beholden to U.S. corporate bosses for political survival and, in the process, made their own fortunes in oil and other corporate sectors. He has, for instance, unearthed evidence to suggest that George W. Bush's grand-father, Prescott Bush, and great-grand-father, Sam Bush, were both involved in promoting the Nazis' business as bankers in the 30s and 40s, and made millions in the racket. The two surviving Bushes, father and son, have both been cosy with the corporate barons-many of whom now grace the present administration.

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Europe, the debate on the Bush silence on alleged conspiracy motive, is gatheing a much greater intensity and fury than in America.

A recent book by a French journalist, Thiery Maysson, under the rubric of A Frightening Fraud, has taken Europe by storm. For that very reason, there is no mention, as yet, of this book in America. Thiery too has painstakingly reconstructed evidence to suggest that the neo-conservatives sheltering under the wings of Bush in this administration, desperately desired for a September 11-like apocalypse in order to put teeth into their agenda for a robustly militaristic America. That their agenda got a hefty boost from September 11 is beyond doubt.

Bush aggressively rode to popularity on the battle-cry he unfurled within minutes of the World Trade Centre collapse. There was no way Congress could dilute his exuberance or check his inflated defence budget in the wake of the disaster. The defence outlay has already shot past an unprecedented 400 billion dollars, and may soon touch 450 billion. Bush also got, in its wake, the pet Star Wars project rolling unimpeded. This is the white elephant on which successive Republican administrations since Reagan have already drained 40 to 50 billion dollars, without much solid result to show for such profligacy. However, since it is filling the coffers of the military industrial complex its funding remains at a hectic pace.

In addition, Bush also created a new department of Home Defence for which Congress, again, quickly dished out 40 billion dollars. That sum may soon be eclipsed as just the seed money, chicken feed so to speak, because plans now being chalked out to beef up the new department would necessitate exorbitant outlays of funds. 

Clearly, all this additional funding, would entail heavy cuts in the social sector, in particular, which has never been a favourite with the conservatives whose standard-bearer the Republican party is. But shrinking funds will not be the sole outcome of this expanding conservative agenda with a pronounced accent on militarism. Individual freedoms and constitutional guarantees to the ordinary people would also come under the lengthening shadows of totalitarianism that is destined to breed itself on militarism. That befits the neo-consrvative blueprint of an America determined to kill every fly with a shot-gun.

To the dismay of civil libertarians and human rights advocates, the greatest disappointment is the near-total subservience of the American news media to this evolving militaristic culture. Both the print and electronic segments of the media have thrown in the towel precipitately and joined the chorus of the corporate and political barons of an America under siege. The media's abdication of its responsibility to the people is not, after all, surprising. America's corporate juggernaut has almost entirely taken over the information and entertainment industries. The media is now completely owned by corporate interest, and thus feels no compunction in singing its tune.

With odds so heavily arrayed against the under-privileged and the ordinary, there are still voices somehow making themselves heard across the walls of silence that vested interest has been trying to erect with its power and pelf.

The question, being asked increasingly in the wake of the revelation that Bush and company might have intentionally ignored warning signals, is what justification there is for spending an staggering 30 billion dollars a year on the much-trumpeted U.S. spy and intelligence agencies. If CIA, FBI and various other intelligence outfits, whose spendings remain outside public view or scrutiny, cannot be relied upon to shield the Americans against Al Qaeda or similar other bands of terrorists, then that money should better be spent on more tangible social sectors. That suggestion is unlikely to cut much ice with the politicians or their corporate mentors.

Whatever the outcome of this ongoing debate-still in its infancy-it is certain that Bush's seemingly unassailable popularity as a 'man of crisis-management' has been seriously dented. Increasingly few are prepared to accept lame and less than convincing excuses of his apologists that he did not anticipate hijacked aircraft being used as missiles to plough into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Ordinary people are looking for more convincing and plausible explanations of Bush's 'splendid inaction.'

The fear is that in a bid to deflect the rising crescendo of criticism about his own failure in the September 11 episode, Bush may well choose to open a new theatre of war. There is the option of Iraq readily available. The Bush hawks have long been baying to activate that front and take a swipe at Saddam Hussain in order to have a new alibi for a more robust jingoism. This is an option which has, traditionally, worked well with the American people. The temptation for Bush to avail of this prescription may only increase if the fallout from September 11 episode becomes too odious for him. 

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