By MARC McDONALD
The current news cycle has the right-wing noise machine all abuzz about how America was supposedly saved from a terrorist attack in 2002 by our Glorious Leader.
However, we progressives are leery of Bush's claim that a major Al-Qaeda attack was foiled in Los Angeles in 2002.
Actually, we're leery of anything that Bush says, period. But frankly, this claim smacks of desperation, coming when Bush's approval ratings are in the toilet and the public is increasingly fed up with the disastrous Iraq war.
Bush's claim simply doesn't make much sense.
The fact is, if the U.S. did indeed thwart another 9/11 attack in 2002, don't you think we might have heard about it during the bitterly-fought 2004 election campaign? After all, the Bush team desperately fought tooth and claw to assure the voters that, despite 9/11, Bush could protect America from terrorists better than decorated military hero John Kerry.
It seems to me that if another 9/11 attack had indeed been thwarted in 2002, the Bush team, and the right-wing noise machine, would have gone into overdrive boasting about this from the highest rooftops during the 2004 election campaign.
I'm sure there are those Bush partisans who believe that a 2002 attack really was foiled and, for whatever reason, it all had to be kept secret from the American people until now.
To which I respond: exactly what has changed that Bush feels free to trumpet this "foiled attack" now? And note that Bush previously has never let national security get in the way of revealing secret information. Witness how the White House outed CIA agent Valerie Plame--an act of treason during wartime, no less.
The fact is, Bush is in deep trouble and he knows it. The American people simply don't trust him any more. And no matter how many Tom Clancy-like foiled terror plot tales he spins, Bush's legacy will be one of tragedy and failure. In the end, all the American people are likely to remember about his presidency is the fraud that was the Iraq war and the tens of thousands who died unnecessarily there.
I doubt that any sane, clear-thinking person believes Bush's assessment that Al-Qaida has been "weakened and fractured."
Don't believe me?
Just ask the U.S. State Department, which in April released a report that showed that terrorist attacks worldwide in 2004 tripled over the previous year (which in turn was the worst year for terrorist attacks in two decades). Or ask the former Sept. 11 Commission, which in a report in December, charged the Bush White House with failing to protect the country against another terrorist attack.
In any case, for Bush to trot out this tale of a foiled terror plot now, when his political fortunes are at their lowest ebb, is only the latest despicable attempt by the White House to cynically use the 9/11 tragedy to boost its political fortunes.