I was checking the sweet corn, and wondering if the raccoons would leave any for us when Sid D. Complex stopped by to scout deer. “Seen any bucks?” he queried.
“I saw a young one on crabapples yesterday, but I’ve been busy. Don’t think I’ll be hunting this fall,” I told him.
“Right…I’ve heard that one before. It depends on how you define the word ‘hunting’.” Sid’s sarcasm could be vicious.
I knew what he meant. Seems too many politicians can’t come up with the simple truth if it’s handed to them. Sid says, “They’re just like con artists…what you call invertebrate liars, ain’a? Not George Dubya though. I voted for him and glad I did. He’s been like a tiger on them terrorists. On the TV he’s four-square supporting our troops. I say it’s about time.”
“So how come he cut the pay raise and tax break for active duty families, reduced veterans’ benefits and axed the outreach program? What kinda ‘Support the Troops’ is that, Sid?”
“Hey, he’s got a big budget deficit to deal with. Something’s got to give. Ain’t no free lunch.” Sid’s logic was familiar, if not impeccable.
“I’ll give you that, Sid. Biggest deficit in history following the biggest tax cuts for millionaires in history. But speaking of liars, did you check out that new U.S. Senate intelligence committee report about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington? They’ve been studying how those attacks came about, who was behind them, what we knew then and now, what should be done, and whether it could have been prevented.”
“Nobody could’ve seen that coming.” Sid was shaking his head. “Dubya and Condoleeza Rice were as shocked as the rest of us.”
“I don’t think so, Sid. At least they should’a seen it coming. There were a lot of intelligence reports prior to 9/11 that noted Al Qaeda was targeting New York and D.C. and that terrorists were thinking of using airliners as weapons. Those attacks were foreseen by our government. They just didn’t follow up the leads. And they didn’t warn the rest of us about it. National Security, you know. Too bad. When regular Americans knew what was up, they acted immediately, heroically and effectively. Remember?”
“That’s for sure” Sid nodded in agreement. “But even if the President did know something, that’s still not when or who, much less being able to stop it. That’s why we all need to give up some more of our rights and freedom. Everything’s changed since 9/11.”
“A lot has changed, Sid” I acknowledged. “But you know, several of those hijackers were known terrorists, and were hanging with an American intelligence informant here in the U.S. Weird guys were reported learning to navigate and fly airliners, but uninterested in how to land them. According to this Senate report, even though warnings were rife, and the Oklahoma City bombing was still fresh in memory, John Ashcroft was pressuring the FBI to cut its counter-terrorism program to satisfy his other priorities. The bureaucrats needed to cooperate and connect the dots. We don’t need to give up our Bill of Rights.”
I thought I had Sid, there, but he came back without a pause to think. “Those Senators are a bunch of liberal un-American Democrats, enaways. Don’t believe a word.”
“C’mon Sid,” said I. “It’s a bipartisan committee and the Republicans hold a majority in both Houses of Congress.”
Sid spat on the ground. “They’re Monday morning quarterbacks. Hindsight is 20-20. But at least the President got crackin’ with his War of Terror. We couldn’t just sit back and do nothing after 9/11. We sure whipped those Iraqis quick. They won’t be planning any more attacks now. Nobody’s going to grab their Weapons of Mass Destruction if we don’t. The puny U.N. even said they couldn’t find any. What a crock. Why Saddam used nerve gas against his own people. But now we’ll be able to give the Iraqis a democracy like we have.”
“You’re right, Sid. He did slaughter Kurds with nerve gas. We know he had and used those terrible weapons because our own government supplied him with them to use against Iran when Saddam was our buddy. Speaking of Iran, the only democracy that ever existed in the neo-colonial Middle eastern countries set up by England and the West was established by the Iranians. And that democracy was overthrown fifty years ago by our State Department and CIA in a coup that installed the brutal dictatorship of the Shah. Why do you think people are a tad skeptical when Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld say we are there to give them a democracy? The U.N. was unable to find any WMDs. Saddam didn’t use any when Iraq was invaded, so they must be somewhere, if there were any before the invasion. The Defense Department will probably turn up something eventually. But Sid, you’re confusing Iraq with Al Qaeda when it comes to planning 9/11. Saddam was a secular dictator. Osama is a fundamentalist religious fanatic. They could only find common cause if forced to at gun point. And our administration is holding that gun. Bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. None of the hijackers were from Iraq. There’s lots of evidence that funding and cover for Al Qaeda came via our current buddies in the brutal dictatorship of Saudi Arabia. There was no evidence of any support for Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attack from Iraq. Guess how many times Iraq was named in that 8oo page Senate intelligence report on 9/11. Not once was Iraq mentioned. That should tell you something.
“Seems to me, Sid, that what the Administration is getting from this Iraq attack is control of a substantial corner of the world’s oil reserves. Meanwhile a lot of people and nations around the world have acquired a distrust and antipathy towards the good ol’ U.S.A. We’ve lost much of the worldwide support that followed the 9/11 attacks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are even more angry, suicidal terrorists bent on attacking our country than there were two years ago. If a President can be impeached for lying about an extramarital affair, what do you think we should do, Sid, about a President who lied to get us into war; is endangering, not protecting the American people; and is compromising, not defending our Constitutional rights? It seems we’re in uncharted waters, and we dasn’t base our judgment on ugly suspicions any more than we should base it on blind knee-jerk loyalty. We’ve got to keep a sharp lookout and take regular soundings.”
“I don’t know about you” says Sid D. Complex. “Sometimes I think you’ve gone nuts. But I’m getting some venison this fall. Got a cold one?”
“You betcha, Sid.” And I reached deep for a couple.