The Outer Darkness, from which we are supposed to hear only wailing and gnashing of teeth, is exuding another sound as well, namely the perpetual snarl of former president, er, “vice” president Dick Cheney, already taking the Obama administration to task for having policies that, according to the article, “risk exposing the United States to a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack”. This is all based on – horror of horrors! -- Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and end “harsh interrogations” of terrorism suspects – you know, the sort of thing that goes on every day in Chicago, so he oughta know. So let's see – if we close “Gitmo” and stop tormenting suspected terrorists, that will be an open door to a nuke or biological weapon getting unleashed in some major city. Looks like a straight line to me! Iron-clad logic, I calls it! Just connect the dots. Of course, given the premise that “terrorists” are even interested in attacking the U.S. again – which I seriously question, since they are accomplishing so much in Iraq and Afghanistan using our troops as sitting ducks – I suppose that none of the “precautions” enacted by Bush & Co. should be up for reconsideration. Clearly, everything the Bush administration did, right down to determining the minimum daily nutritional requirement for food fed to Gitmo prisoners, was an essential part of this bulwark against “terror”, and should not be altered or compromised – no, not even one little bit! (In which case, maybe Obama should bring Cheney back on board as an advisor. Why hasn't anyone suggested that?)
Ah, it's all so depressing. An alleged gang of alleged terrorists flies three planes into three buildings and the U.S. becomes a police state overnight – meaning: They won! And the guy who was running the show (let's stop quibbling about this point, shall we?) the whole time claims that everything that has happened since – up to January 20 last, that is – was an essential part of seeing that it never happens again. It's all so convenient. To begin with, there are more questions concerning what really happened on September 11, 2001 than there are concerning what really happened on November 22, 1963. (That's pretty much been settled in its major elements, IMO, although Time magazine will never admit it.) The bottom line is that no one really knows exactly what happened that day, or why – and the people who do know are keeping mum about it, to put it mildly. But this is always how it works with events that cause a social or political sea change – the story put out for public consumption is never the real story; how could it be? If there are events too enormous to be false – like the “Holocaust” -- there are also events too enormous to be true, at least in the way they are explained to the citizenry. This is especially true in this country, where we have an alleged tradition of "openness" in government, and a free press, etc. -- so massive deception of the public is unthinkable, unlike in benighted places like the Soviet Union. "Unthinkable", right -- which is why no one believes it when it happens.
In any case, clouds of suspicion started forming over certain people in the Bush administration even before the fires were put out on 9-11, and nothing that has come to light since has served to disperse those clouds. The problem is that, even if the attacks did serve some agenda on the part of some “terrorists”, they just as effectively served many agendas dear to the heart of the Bush administration, its supporters and enablers (and, later, apologists), and its “friends”, both in the U.S. and overseas. When so many people profit so handsomely from an “unforeseen” event, you start to wonder if it was all that unforeseen. But this is the kind of thing that never makes it to the surface of public discourse, and is invariably left to the “conspiracy theorists”. And it is true that just because someone profits from an event, it doesn't mean they had anything to do with creating the event – although when you look at the history of modern warfare and the role that the “war industries” have played, it's hard to believe that they didn't have something to do with the onset of various hostilities – the unpleasantness of World War I comes to mind, for instance, since that war, as Pat Buchanan points out in his recent book, is one that had no valid reason to even occur. And we also know that “regime change” in Iraq was on the Neocon agenda long before George W. Bush took office – and when something that significant is on the agenda of that many powerful people, things tend to “happen” that provide a rationale for making the agenda a reality.
Plus – hey! Dick Cheney! Yeah, you in the wheelchair! Even if Obama closes Gitmo, aren't there scores of other prisons all over the world set up for the same purposes, and that Obama doesn't even know about (and never will, if the “intel” people play their cards right)? Well, of course, neither Cheney nor Obama might be all that anxious to admit that there is now an American gulag based on the “War on Terror” -- but it stands to reason that it exists and will continue to operate long after Gitmo reverts to a tobacco plantation. So why is Cheney griping about Obama and the alleged “vulnerability” that overtook this nation instantly, at noon on January 20? Mostly, I imagine, to cover his butt, and those of all of his co-conspirators. Let's say there is another attack on American soil. He's already positioned to say, “I told you so!” And in the traditional “correlation equals causality” mindset of the American voter, it will be easy to work up the notion that Bush & Co. prevented it, but Obama & Co. caused it – or at least allowed it to happen. And thus -- shazam! -- we have the first plank in the Republican platform for 2012 (or 2010, even). Yeah – pretty soft, being able to sit on the sidelines with no accountability and set up your political opponents for a hit like that. Hopefully, most people will be both willing and able to see this ranting for what it is – not only sour grapes but the last snarls of an utterly discredited and disgraced political hack, who, despite his manifest mediocrity, managed to stalk the corridors of power for many years, culminating in the Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy act that was the Cheney/Bush administration. George W. gets a pass, of sorts – because he really and truly didn't know what was going on all that time, and probably never will. But the Dickster was right in the middle of it all, and if the world ever gets up the gumption to pull a “Nuremberg” on us he'll be the first one in the dock.