September 11 and
n September 11, 2001, terrorists seized control of an American Airlines flight from Boston to Los Angles then crashed it into the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City followed by a second hijacking and collision into another WTC tower minutes later. During the same hour, a third commandeered jetliner hit the Pentagon, while a fourth hijacked plane, possibly destined for the White House, went down in Pennsylvania, perhaps crashed out of harm’s way by passengers who had learned of the earlier terrorist crimes and were trying prevent another calamity.
The world stood transfixed by the graphic videos of the WTC buildings
exploding and discharging a great cloud of rubble. Subsequent images
depicted heroic workers struggling to save people, and then themselves
becoming victims of the unpredicted collapse of the towers, or shifts in
the debris. The WTC towers, the largest buildings in New York City and a
potent symbol of global capitalism, were down, and the mighty behemoth of
American military power, the mythically shaped Pentagon, was penetrated
and on fire. Terrorists celebrated their victory over the American
colossus, and the world remained focused for days on the media spectacle
of “America Under Attack” and reeling from the now highly feared effects
The primarily military and unilateral strategy of the Bush administration in its response to terrorism constitutes is the major Achilles’ heel of its policy with its decision not to engage a multilateral approach to international terrorism. The unilateral U.S. policy has produced an excessive militarizing and inadequate criminalizing of the problem of dealing with terrorism, and Bush administration policies are increasingly isolating the U.S. from potential allies in a global campaign against terrorism. Moreover, such unilateral policies are more than likely to position the U.S. and its citizens as the targets of future terror attacks. Increasingly, Bush administration foreign policy is being resisted in much of the world, and it is encountering mounting hostility from allies and enemies alike. This is especially so since Bush’s “axis of evil” speech and the intensification of the Israel and Palestine conflict, generated in part by the Bush administration’s failure to successfully mediate it.
By contrast, a multilateral campaign would make it clear that in a worldwide struggle against terror it is the combined forces of civilization that are allied against international terror networks. Such a campaign would rely on global forces on political, judicial, economic and military fronts, rather than privileging the militarist solution of war. Indeed, since December 2001, the Bush administration has expanded the front of its war against terrorism, sending U.S. troops to the Philippines, Pakistan, and a whole ring of Central Asian countries, while threatening military action in Somalia, Indonesia, Yemen, and the infamous “axis of evil”: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The list was expanded in May 2002 to include Syria, Libya, and Cuba. George W. Bush has declared that an unrelenting war against terrorism is the major focus of his administration and the Pentagon has discussed developing smaller nuclear weapons to be used against terrorist forces, as well as other high-tech weapons, ruthless bombing, and covert assassination.
In addition, the Bush administration manipulated the September 11 terror attacks to push through a hard right domestic agenda that constitutes a clear and present danger to U.S. democracy. As Governor of Texas, George W. Bush consistently performed favors for his largest contributors, like the Enron Corporation and oil and energy companies, and as president he has done the same. Since September 11, the Bush administration has exploited the fear of terrorism to push through further bailouts of corporations that contributed to his campaign, and the center of its economic program has been to create tax breaks for the most wealthy, while cutting back on liberal social programs and environmental legislation, and carrying out the most right wing law and order domestic policy in U.S. history.
On the foreign policy front, the Bush administration made use of the September 11 tragedy to renounce arms treaties it had already opposed and thus jettisoned the idea of arms control on a worldwide scale. It also used the September 11 attacks to legitimate an increased military budget and series of military interventions, to test and build new nuclear weapons, to threaten countries like Iraq and Iran with military attacks, and to abandon multilateralism for an unilateralist “America First” approach to foreign affairs. In June 2002, the Bush administration proclaimed a dangerous “first strike” policy, saying that henceforth it would engage in “preemptive strikes,” abandoning the containment policy and diplomatic strategy for dealing with crises and adversaries in the post-World War II era.
Consequently, the Bush administration claimed repeatedly that “World War
III” had started and that the Cold War was being succeeded by a dangerous
and long-term period of Terror War. I use the term “Terror War” to
describe the Bush administration’s “war against terrorism” and its use of
aggressive military force and terror as the privileged vehicles of
constructing a U.S. hegemony in the current world (dis)order. The Bush
administration has developed its war against Islamic terrorism into a
policy of Terror War where they have declared the right of the U.S. to
strike any enemy state or organization presumed to harbor or support
terrorism, or to eliminate “weapons of mass destruction” that could be
used against the U.S. The right wing members of the Bush administration
seeks to promote this Terror War as the defining struggle of the era,
coded as an apocalyptic battle between good and evil. My studies will
attempt to disclose the dangers of such policies and worldviews, and to
depict how Bush administration Terror War played out in the Afghanistan
war and subsequent military adventures.
The Bush Administration and its Failure
likely result of the Bush administration’s Terror War is that in a global
world the U.S. will become ever more isolated and will continue to be the
major source of international anger and terror attacks. Not only is the
Bush administration’s foreign policy dangerous and reckless, but the
administration has demonstrated stunning incompetence on the domestic
front in the so-called “war against terror” and were highly negligent by
allowing the U.S. to become vulnerable to the September 11 terrorist
attacks in the first place. On May 15, 2002, a political uproar erupted
when CBS News broadcast a report that the CIA had briefed George W. Bush
when he was vacationing at his ranch in Texas, about bin Laden’s network’s
plans to hijack airplanes on August 6. There was immediately an explosion
of controversy, raising questions for the first time in a public debate,
about what the Bush administration knew about possible terrorist attacks
pre-September 11 and what they had done to prevent them. Also, during May
2002, a year old FBI memo from the Phoenix, Arizona, office was released
that warned of the dangers of Middle Eastern men going to flight school in
order to gain the skills necessary to hijack planes, and of the dangers of
the Al Qaeda network carrying out such hijackings. Moreover, the arrest of
Zacarias Moussaouri, the alleged 20th Al Qaeda hijacker, in
Minnesota in late August 2001, who had also been taking flying lessons and
acting suspiciously, should have raised warning signals.
Furthermore, there had been a whole series of U.S. government reports on the dangers of terrorism and need for a coordinated response. A 1996 report by the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, headed by Al Gore, developed a report on dangers of airplane hijacking that was never acted on. A 1999 National Intelligence Council report on terrorism specifically warned that bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network might undertake hijacking planes and using them against U.S. targets; the report noted that members of the Al Qaeda network had threatened to do this before and that the U.S. should be alert to such strikes. Perhaps most significantly, blue ribbon commission reports by former U.S. Senators Gary Hart and Howard Rudman, and by the Bremer National Commission, highlighted the dangers of a domestic terrorist attack against the U.S. and the need to develop appropriate protective measures. The Hart-Rudman report recommended consolidating U.S. intelligence on terrorism and organizing federal responses to prevent and fight domestic terrorist attacks on the U.S.[ii]
Hence, the Bush administration failed to act on warnings of imminent terrorist attacks and the need to provide systematic government responses to coordinate information and attempt to prevent and aggressively fight terrorism. Moreover, it halted a series of attempts to fight the bin Laden network that had been undertaken by the Clinton administration. Just after the September 11 attacks, a wave of revelations came out, ignored completely in the U.S. media, concerning how high-ranking officials in the Bush administration had neglected threats of terrorist attacks by the bin Laden network and even curtailed efforts that had been initiated by the Clinton administration to shut down the terrorist organization.
An explosive book published in France in mid-November, Bin Laden, la verite interdite (2001), by Jean Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, claimed that under the influence of oil companies, the Bush administration initially blocked ongoing U.S. government investigations of terrorism, while it bargained with the Taliban over oil rights and pipeline deals and handing over bin Laden. This evidently led to the resignation of an FBI deputy director, John O’Neill, who was one of the sources of the story. Brisard and Guillaume contend that the Bush administration had been a major supporter of the Taliban until the September 11 events, and had blocked investigations of the bin Laden terror network. Pursuing these leads, the British Independent reported on October 30: “Secret satellite phone calls between the State Department and Mullah Mohammed Omar and the presentation of an Afghan carpet to President George Bush were just part of the diplomatic contacts between Washington and the Taliban that continued until just days before the attacks of 11 September.” Furthermore, Greg Palast had published a FBI memo that confirmed that the FBI was given orders to lay off the bin Laden family during the early months of George W. Bush’s rule.[iii]
The U.S. media completely ignored these and other reports concerning how the Bush administration had shut down or undermined operations against the bin Laden network initiated by the Clinton administration. An explosive article by Michael Hirsch and Michael Isikoff entitled “What Went Wrong,” published in the May 28, 2002, issue of Newsweek, however, contained a series of revelations of how the Bush administration had missed signals of an impending attack, and systematically weakened U.S. defenses against terrorism and the bin Laden network. According to the Newsweek story, the Clinton administration national security advisor Sandy Berger had become “‘totally preoccupied’ with fears of a domestic terror attack and tried to warn Bush’s new national security advisor Condoleezza Rice of the dangers of a bin Laden attack.” But while Rice ordered a security review, “the effort was marginalized and scarcely mentioned in ensuing months as the administration committed itself to other priorities, like National Missile Defense and Iraq.”
Moreover, Newsweek reported that John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General, was eager to set a new right wing law and order agenda and was not focused on the dangers of terrorism, while other Bush administration high officials also had their ideological agendas to pursue at the expense of protecting the country against terror attacks. Ashcroft reportedly shut down wiretaps of Al Qaeda-related suspects connected to the 1998 bombing of African embassies and cut $58 million from a FBI request for an increase in its anti-terrorism budget (while at the same time switching from commercial to government jets for his own personal flight). On September 10, when Ashcroft sent a request for budget increases to the White House, it covered 68 programs, none of them related to counterterrorism. Nor was counterterrorism in a memorandum he sent to his heads of departments stating his seven priorities. According to Newsweek, in a meeting with FBI chief Louis Freeh, he rebuffed Freeh’s warnings to take terrorism seriously and turned down a FBI request for hundreds of additional agents to be assigned to tracking terrorists.[iv] In the Newsweek summary:
It wasn’t that Ashcroft and others were unconcerned about these problems, or about terrorism. But the Bushies had an ideological agenda of their own. At the Treasury Department, Secretary Paul O’Neill’s team wanted to roll back almost all forms of government intervention, including laws against money laundering and tax havens of the kind used by terror groups. At the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld wanted to revamp the military and push his pet project, NMD. Rumsfeld vetoed a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism. The Pentagon chief also seemed uninterested in a tactic for observing bin Laden left over from the Clinton administration: the CIA’s Predator surveillance plane. Upon leaving office, the Clintonites left open the possibility of sending the Predator back up armed with Hellfire missiles, which were tested in February 2001. But through the spring and summer of 2001, when valuable intelligence could have been gathered, the Bush administration never launched even an unarmed Predator. Hill sources say DOD [Department of Defense] didn’t want the CIA treading on its turf.
A Time magazine cover story later in the summer by Michael Elliot,
“The Secret History” (Aug. 4, 2002), provides more detail concerning how
the Clinton administration had planned a program to attack Al Qaeda in
November 2001, when the contested election battle in Florida was raging.
The Clinton administration was not able to implement the plan, however,
because “with less than a month left in office, they did not think it
appropriate to launch a major initiative against Osama bin Laden.” Clinton
administration officials claim that Bush’s National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice was fully informed of this plan, and that Clinton
National Security Advisor Sandy Berger stressed the need for a major
initiative against bin Laden and Al Qaeda, but nothing was done. Moreover,
the head of anti-terrorist operations in the Clinton administration,
Richard Clarke, who stayed on for the Bush administration, had himself
drawn up the plan and urged its implementation when the Bush team took
office. Unfortunately, fighting terrorism was not a priority in the Bush
administration, and so the plan for attacks on Al Qaeda went through the
usual layers of bureaucracy, finally reaching Bush and his inner circle in
early September, too late to prevent the September 11 attacks.
I was deeply concerned as to whether our house was in order to prevent a terrorist attack. My work on the Intelligence Committee and as chair of the Technology and Terrorism Subcommittee had given me a sense of foreboding for some time. I had no specific data leading to a possible attack.
In fact, I was so concerned that I contacted Vice President Cheney’s office that same month [July 2001] to urge that he restructure our counter-terrorism and homeland defense programs to ensure better accountability and prevent important intelligence information from slipping through the cracks.
Despite repeated efforts by myself and staff, the White House did not address my request. I followed this up last September 2001 before the attacks and was told by ‘Scooter’ Libby that it might be another six months before he would be able to review the material. I told him I did not believe we had six months to wait.[v]
This is highly shocking and calls attention to the key responsibility of Vice President Dick Cheney in failing to produce an adequate response to the dangers of terrorism. A year previous, in May 2001, the Bush administration announced that “Vice President Dick Cheney is point man for [the Bush] administration . . . on three major issues: energy, global warming, and domestic terrorism.” On a May 19, 2002, episode of Meet the Press, Cheney acknowledged that he had been appointed head of a Bush administration task force on terrorism before September 11, and claimed that he had some meetings on the topic. Yet Cheney and others in the Bush administration seemed to disregard several major reports that cited the dangers of terrorist attacks, including congressional reports by former Senators Gary Hart and Howard Rudman in early 2001 that had called for a centralization of information on terrorism, but it appeared that the Bush administration failed to act on these recommendations. Obviously, Cheney concentrated on energy issues to the exclusion of terrorism and should thus be held in part responsible for the Bush administration’s ignoring pre-September 11 terrorist threats.[vi]
Crucially, plans to use airplanes as vehicles of terrorist attack should
have been familiar to the intelligence agencies and to Cheney and the Bush
administration. Furthermore, there were many other reports circulating
from foreign and domestic intelligence services provided just before the
September 11 terror attacks that the U.S. had reason to fear terrorist
attacks from the bin Laden network.[vii]
Thus, there should have been attempts to coordinate intelligence between
the various agencies, warnings to the airlines industry regarding
potential hijackings, and security alerts to the public to be on the
lookout for potential terrorist attacks.
Yet the media is also to blame for not focusing more intently on problems
of terrorism over the previous decade. During the 1980s, terrorism emerged
as a major problem and there were frequently news reports, specials,
documentaries, and media discussion of the problem. Yet in the 1990s, the
corporate media became increasingly tabloidized, focusing on the O.J.
Simpson trial, the Clinton sex scandal, and the other obsessions of the
moment. As noted above, major reports on the dangers of terrorism were
released without media scrutiny. The Hart-Rudman “Road Map for National
Security: Imperative for Change,” warning of dangers of a terrorist attack
on the U.S., had been released in January 2001 and was ignored by much of
the mainstream media, as well as the Bush administration.[viii]
Instead, there was an obsessive focus on tabloid stories during
pre-September 11, 2001 in the mainstream media, such as the disappearance
of intern Chandra Levy and her affair with Congressman Bill Condit.
Moreover, the Bush administration’s assault on civil liberties has
weakened constitutional democracy and the rule of law in the United
States. On August 15, 2002, Human Rights Watch released a report that
claimed: “The U.S. government’s investigation of the September 11 attacks
has been marred by arbitrary detentions, due process violations, and
secret arrests.” Human Rights Watch discovered that over 1,200
non-citizens were secretly arrested and incarcerated and that “the U.S.
government has held some detainees for prolonged periods without charges;
impeded their access to counsel; subjected them to coercive
interrogations; and overridden judicial orders to release them on bond
during immigration proceedings. In some cases, the government has
incarcerated detainees for months under restrictive conditions, including
solitary confinement. Some detainees were physically and verbally abused
because of their national origin or religion. The vast majority are from
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African countries. The report
describes cases in which random encounters with law enforcement or
neighbors’ suspicions based on no more than national origin and religion
led to interrogation about possible links to terrorism.”[x]
Yet not only has the Bush administration dangerously undermined the U.S.
constitutional order, but their economic policies have produced almost
unparalleled economic crisis, scandal, and corruption.
The Bush Reich
Orwell’s futuristic novel was, of course, an attack on the Soviet Union and therefore a favorite of conservatives over the years, but it uncannily describes the horrors and dangers of the regime of George W. Bush. Orwell’s totalitarian state had a two-way television screen that monitored its citizens’ behavior and a system of spies and informers that would report on politically incorrect thought and activity. Bush’s police state has its “USA Patriot Act” that enables the state to monitor the communications of e-mail, wireless, telephones, and other media, while allowing the state to arrest citizens without warrants, to hold them indefinitely, to monitor their conversations, and to submit them to military tribunals, all of which would be governed by the dictates of the Supreme Leader (in this case, a dangerously demagogic figure-head, ruled by right wing extremists).
The Bush administration also has its TIPS (Terrorist Information and Prevention System) program that would turn citizens into spies who would report suspicious activities to the government and would recruit truck drivers, mail carriers, meter readers, and others who would “report what they see in public areas and along transportation routes,” thus turning workers into informants. In addition, John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General, has proposed concentration camps in the U.S. for citizens that he considers “enemy combatants.”[xii]
With their Orwellian-sounding Office of Homeland Security, proposed Office of Strategic Information, Shadow Government, and “USA Patriot Act,” the Bush administration has in place the institutions and apparatus of a totalitarian government. Since the elections in 2000, the Bush clique has practiced a form of Orwellian “Bushspeak” that endlessly repeats the Big Lie of the moment. Bush and his propaganda ministry engage in daily propagandistic spin to push its policies and to slime their opponents, while showing no regard whatsoever for the canons of truth and justice that conservatives have traditionally defended.[xiii]
To keep the public in a state of fear, Bush and his administration have repeatedly evoked the specter of renewed terrorist attacks and promised an all-out war against an “axis of evil.” This threatening “axis,” to be defined periodically by the Bush administration, allegedly possesses “instruments of mass destruction” that could be used against the U.S. Almost without exception, the mainstream media have been a propaganda conduit for the Bush administration Terror War and have helped generate fear and even mass hysteria. The mainstream corporate media have thus largely failed to advance an understanding of the serious threats to the U.S. and to the global economy and polity, and to debate the range of possible responses to the September 11 attacks and their respective merits and possible consequences.
The Bush administration Terror War raises the specter that Orwell’s 1984 might provide the template of the new millennium, as the world is plunged into endless wars, as freedom and democracy are being snuffed out in the name of freedom, as language loses meaning, and as history is constantly revised (as Bush and his scribes constantly rewrote his own personal history). There is thus the danger that Orwell’s dark grim dystopia may replace the (ideological) utopia of the “information society,” the “new economy,” and a prosperous and democratic globalization that had been the dominant ideology and vision of the past decade. Questions arise: Will the Bush administration Terror War lead the world to ruin through constant war and the erection of totalitarian police states over the façade of fragile democracy? Or can more multilateral and global solutions be found to the dangers of terrorism that will strengthen democracy and increase the chances for peace and security?
There is indeed a danger that Terror War will be a force of historical regression, and the motor of destruction of the global economy, liberal polity, and democracy itself, all to be replaced by an aggressive militarism and totalitarian police state. It could well be that Orwell will be the prophet of a coming New Barbarism with endless war, state repression, and enforced control of thought and discourse, and that George W. Bush and his minions are the architects of an Orwellian future.
It could also be the case, however, that the Taliban, bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Bush administration represent obsolete and reactionary forces that will be swept away by the inexorable forces of globalization and liberal democracy. The opposing sides in the current Terror War of the Bush administration reactionaries and Al Qaeda could be perceived as representing complementary poles of an atavistic and premodern version of Islam and nihilistic terrorism confronted by reactionary right wing conservatism and militarism.[xiv] In this scenario, both poles can be perceived as disruptive and regressive forces in a global world that need to be overcome to create genuine historical progress. If this is the case, Terror War would be a momentary interlude in which two obsolete historical forces battle it out, ultimately to be replaced by more sane and democratic globalizing forces.
This is, of course, an optimistic scenario and probably, for the foreseeable future, progressive forces will be locked into intense battles against the opposing forces of Islamic terrorism and right wing militarism. Yet if democracy and the human species are to survive, global movements against militarism and for social justice, ecology, and peace must emerge to combat and replace the atavistic forces of the present. As a new millennium unfolds, the human race has regressed into a New Barbarism unforeseeable prior to September 11. If civilization is to survive, individuals must perceive their enemies and organize to fight for a better future.
Consequently, I argue that Bush administration militarism is not the way to fight international terrorism, but is rather the road to an Orwellian future in which democracy and freedom will be in dire peril and the future of the human species will be in question. These are frightening times and it is essential that all citizens become informed about the fateful conflicts of the present, gain clear understanding of what is at stake, and realize that they must oppose both international terrorism and Bushian militarism and an Orwellian police-state.
I would argue that a combination of critical social theory and cultural
studies can help illuminate the September events, their causes, effects,
and importance in shaping the contemporary moment. Certainly, the terror
spectacle of those events is one of the major media and political events
of our day and interpreting the affair and its aftermath provides crucial
insight into the dynamics and conflicts of the present era. The subsequent
Terror War appears to be the major ongoing spectacle of the new millennium
that the Bush administration is using to promote its agenda and to build
up the U.S. military as a hegemonic force, creating the “new world order”
that George Bush had wanted to create at the end of the Gulf War. As
envisaged by the second Bush administration, Terror War is projected as
the defining feature of the new millennium for the foreseeable future.
[i] While the Bush administration propaganda war was immensely successful at home, garnering support for its Afghanistan war from 85-90% of those polled, a number of polls done in the Arab and Muslim worlds revealed a striking lack of support for U.S. policies, and the majority polled did not even believe that Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network were responsible for the September 11 terror attacks. However one explains this, it is clear, as I will attempt to show in this study, that the Bush administration failed miserably in its efforts to communicate and improve relations with the Arab and Muslim world. For a variety of polls on Arab attitudes toward the U.S. pre- and post-September 11, see http://www.zogby.com/main.cfm. For the 2002 Gallup Poll on the Islamic world, see http://www. gallup.com/poll/summits/islam.asp. For a PEW poll that cites growing European criticism and distance from Bush administration policies, see the PEW institute’s report “Americans and Europeans Differ Widely on Foreign Policy Issues” that concludes: “The survey revealed considerable European support for taking a more independent course in security and diplomatic affairs. Majorities in France, Germany and Italy think Western Europe’s partnership with the United States should not be as close as it has been in the past. People in Great Britain are divided on the question. European support for a more independent approach is not especially linked to negative reactions to recent U.S. policies, such as the steel tariffs. Rather, it is more associated with general criticism of President Bush, the feeling that the United States has ignored allied interests in conducting the war on terrorism, and general disapproval of U.S. policies in the Middle East” (see http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=153).
[ii] For the Gore report, see http://www.fas.org/irp/threat /212fin~1.html; for the Hart-Rudman report, see http://www.nssg.gov/News/news.htm and for the Bremer National Commission on Terrorism report, see http://w3.access.gpo.gov/nct. See also “1999 Report Warned of Suicide Hijack,” Associated Press, May 17, 2001.
[iii] See Greg Palast, “FBI and U.S. Spy Agents Say Bush Spiked bin Laden Probes Before September 11.” The Guardian (Nov. 7, 2001). Palast’s article is collected on his home page that has a lot of other interesting reports on Bush administration activities; see http://www.gregpalast.com. See also “U.S. agents told: Back off bin Ladens” at http://old.smh.com.au/news/0111/07/world/world100.html.
[iv] In “Ashcroft Knew,” Bruce Shapiro names Ashcroft “the official responsible for the most dramatic failures of September 11” (Salon, May 23, 2002). Ashcroft will indeed emerge as one of the villains of this article, in part because of his stunning incompetence and failures to address the dangers of terrorism due to his fanatic obsession with pushing through a right wing law and order agenda. But Ashcroft also carried out the most systematic assault on civil liberties in U.S. history and emerges as a clear and present danger to constitutional democracy. Yet in my reading, it is the collective responsibility of the Bush administration that failed to heed warnings of imminent terror attacks and its systematically carrying out policies that made them more likely.
[v] The Feinstein memo is found at http://www.senate.gov/~feinstein/ Releases02/attacks.htm.
[vi]See CBS News, “New Terror Task Force. Cheney To Lead at Terrorist Threats to U.S.,” May 8, 2001. A June 30, 2001, CNN report headlined: “Cheney is point man for administration,” noting that Cheney would be in charge of task forces on three major issues: energy, global warming, and domestic terrorism.” On May 11, the website http://www.disasterrelief.org also posted a report that states: “Bush asked Vice President Dick Cheney to lead the task force, which will explore how attacks against U.S. citizens or personnel at home and overseas may be detected and stopped.” To prevent future terror attacks on the U.S., it would thus be highly important to see exactly what Cheney did or did not do and address the problems revealed.
[vii]The Frankfurter Allgemine Zeitung reported on September 14 2002that German intelligence sources had gathered warnings from the Echelon spy system that Middle Eastern terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture” and had passed the warnings to the U.S. government. On Israeli intelligence warning the U.S. of terrorist networks sneaking into the U.S. for attacks, see “Officials Told of ‘Major Assault’ Plans,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 20, 2001. Carolyn Kay has assembled scores of material from Russian, Israeli, German, U.S. and other intelligence sources warning that a major domestic terrorist attack was about to unfold against the U.S., but Cheney, the Bush administration, and the national security apparatus failed to respond or prepare for the impending attacks, see http://makethemaccountable.com/ whatwhen/index.html; see also Russ Kirk, “September 11, 2001: No Surprise” for an analysis of a myriad of sources signaling the September 11 terror attacks (http://www.loompanics.com/Articles/September 11.html).
[viii] See Harold Evans, “What We Knew: Warning Given . . . Story Missed. How a Report on Terrorism Flew Under the Radar,” Columbia Journalism Review (Nov-Dec. 2001). Evans points out that the Bush administration blocked planned Congressional Hearings on the Hart-Rudman report in May 2001, instead “forming its own committee, headed by Dick Cheney, who was expected to report in October.” Even former Republican House Majority leader and conservative ideologue Newt Gingrich concedes, “The [Bush] administration actually slowed down response to Hart-Rudman when momentum was building in the spring.”
[ix] For previous accounts of Bush family conspiracies, see Kellner 1990, 1992, and 2001. Major conspiracy sites for September 11 include Michael Rupert’s http://www.fromthewilderness.com; the Emperor’s Clothes site at http://www.tenc.net, and the compendium of conspiracy theories collected at the Global Research site at http://www.globalresearch.ca. The best-selling French conspiracy book by Thierry Meyssan was reportedly being translated into English as 9-11, the Big Lie.
[xi] For a discussion of Orwell’s prophetic novel, see Kellner 1990; in the light of the Bush administration projected Terror War, however, it could well be Orwell and not Huxley and Marcuse, as I argue in the article cited here, who provide the most prescient templates of the future present.
[xii] See Jonathan Turley, “Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft’s Hellish Vision.” Los Angeles Times (Aug. 14, 2002). U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was awarded the annual 1984 award for "Worst Government Official" by Privacy International. The watchdog group said the top U.S. law enforcement officer “is responsible for a massive increase in wiretapping of phones and other electronics and for the imprisonment without charge of as many as 1,200 people in the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks on America.” See Reuters (April 19, 2002).
[xiii] See Kellner 2001 for documentation and systematic critique of Bushspeak.
[xiv] Tariq Ali captures this dialectic in his book The Clash of Fundamentalisms (2002), whose cover pictures George W. Bush shading into the visage of Osama bin Laden, two fundamentalists whose families had long been linked in shady business practices and who personally represented the competing fundamentalisms of the ongoing Terror War.