Thursday, February 23, 2006

Werther: a Half-Dozen Questions About 9/11 They Don't Want You to Ask

Werther: a Half-Dozen Questions About 9/11 They Don't Want You to Ask: "4. Who wrote the script for the rhetorical response to 9/11?

The smoke was still rising from the rubble of the World Trade Center complex and the Pentagon when the unanimous and universal cry erupted in government circles, and was relentlessly amplified by the media, that this was 'war,' not a criminal act of terrorism. How very convenient that this war, declared against a diffuse and stateless entity, would trigger long-sought legal authorities and constitutional loopholes which would not apply in the case of a criminal act. [5] Torture, domestic spying, selective suspension of habeas corpus, all the unconstitutional monsters whose implications are only clear four years after the event, all slipped into immediate usage with the rhetorical invocation of war.

This was not merely war, it was unlimited war, both in the sense of total war meant by General Ludendorff (civilian rights being trivial), and in the sense of lacking a comprehensible time span. 'A war that will not end in our lifetimes,' said Vice President Cheney on Meet the Press on the very Sunday following the attacks. How could he be so sure during the fog of uncertainty following the strike?

If bin Laden and his followers were merely a limited number of fanatics living in Afghan caves, as we were assured at the time, why did the Bush administration relentlessly advance the meme that a decades-long war was inevitable? Could not a concerted intelligence, law-enforcement, and diplomatic campaign, embracing all sovereign countries, have effectively shut down 'al Qaeda' within a reasonable period of time--say, within the period it took to fight World War II between Pearl Harbor and the Japanese surrender?

Four years on, Vice President Cheney, doing a plausible imitation of the radio voice of The Shadow, continues to publicly mutter, in menacing tones of the lower octaves, that the war on terrorism [6] is a conflict that will last "

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