From plain bad
Commentary by Pat Murphy
Official bumbling in U.S. intelligence is
turning into travesty.
Or worse, has good intelligence been
hijacked and twisted for politics?
It began with Pentagon attack dogs
mercilessly trashing U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix for not finding weapons of
mass destruction that U.S. intelligence insisted Iraq possessed.
It moved to the president’s insistence
that intelligence showed Iraq was an imminent threat and should be attacked.
U.S. intelligence (bolstered by Britain)
was quoted in the totally discredited presidential claim that Iraq was seeking
nuclear material in Africa.
And Pentagon intelligence predicted
rebuilding Iraq would be cheap because of Iraq’s major oil reserves.
So? No doomsday weapons. No imminent Iraqi
threat. No quest for nuclear materials in Niger. And U.S. taxpayers are paying
tens of billions of dollars for reconstruction because Iraq’s oil industry is in
Not a pretty record. But it gets worse.
Army Capt. James Yee, an American Muslim
chaplain, was thrown into a Navy brig for 67 days and accused of espionage based
on—yep!—intelligence, so says the Pentagon.
But Capt. Yee isn’t facing espionage
charges now. Instead, the Pentagon wants to court martial him for adultery and
collecting porn on his computer.
Adultery? Porn? Was this dreamed up by
religious zealots planted in the Bush administration? If adultery is the
Pentagon idea of international terrorism, there aren’t enough brigs and
stockades to hold military personnel who’re philandering on their spouses (not
to mention politicians and bureaucrats in Washington).
Instead of admitting humiliating overkill,
the Pentagon is trying to save face with an even more humiliating spectacle of
an adultery court martial.
Meanwhile, the other arm of President
Bush’s crack anti-terrorism apparatus—the Department of Justice—wants Congress
to enact even tougher laws to further shrink liberties.
Extremist Attorney General John Ashcroft
isn’t satisfied with merely jailing suspects for months without charges and
denying them the right to a lawyer.
So long as Ashcroft and the Pentagon abuse
people with foreign names and facial features, most Americans are complacent
But Ashcroft will hunger for Anglo-looking
Americans who’re insufficiently disciplined in support of U.S. policies.
Republicans such as hired political
consultant Scott Reed denounce critics of Bush (including Sen. Hillary Clinton)
as "unpatriotic," the conservative buzzword for sympathizing with the enemy. The
Far Right’s darling, author Ann Coulter, unblinkingly calls them "traitors."
Subtlety has been abandoned. FBI agents
monitor protestors (shades of J. Edgar Hoover’s days). Ashcroft wants power to
expand use of military tribunals and collect information from a person’s friends
and associates while forcing associates to keep quiet under threat of prison.
What other shams in the name of war on
terrorism do Bush enforcers contemplate?
Americans who cherish freedom over
unquestioned fealty to a leader should pray that their last hope in stemming
zealots—the U.S. Supreme Court—recognizes insidious threats to constitutional
government by men blinded by the seductive chant, "My president, right or