New Signs Democracy is Dying
October 4, 2002
By Maureen Farrell
time, inconsistencies in the official story always take their
toll. Some fibs, like Condoleezza Rice's assertion that nobody
imagined planes being used as weapons, are uncovered early
on. Others, like Iran/Contra, take longer to unravel. Each
lie, each phony photo or planted story, is a plot to usurp
democracy, with some consequences echoing forever."One of
my greatest shames as a journalist, is that I still don't
know who killed Jack Kennedy," Hunter S. Thompson recently
said, showing just how haunting a country's fabrications can
The blatant lies told by this administration notwithstanding,
we've been bombarded with a parade of decidedly undemocratic
outrages since the 2000 selection, including the Patriot Act,
secret detentions and an underground government. Still hovering
out there in the journalistic ether, these concerns have been
touched upon, ever so gently, but new horrors slither steadily
into peripheral view each day. And though Bush, Inc. continues
to implicate itself, somehow it's protected, while "we the
people" are increasingly at risk. For your consideration,
then, are 9 brand new reasons to be alarmed:
1) Iraq. Set aside, for a moment, the illegality and
immorality of an Iraq attack. Ignore the charade behind Bush's
U.N. appearance. And forget, that though generals warn of
Armageddon, Richard Perle brays about cakewalks. Because in
addition to concerns over lives, dollars and stability, one
question begs an answer: What about the will of the American
people? According to Intervention Magazine, calls to
Senate and House members are running 2-1 against giving George
Bush a "blank check," while the radio program, Democracy Now!
reports 22 out of 26 Senate offices saying constituents are
expressing 'overwhelming' opposition to an Iraq attack.
None of this meshes with what we're being told. How can Congress
"speak with one voice" in favor of war, if constituents are
against it? Is consent being manufactured and democracy undermined?
"If the real motives were made clear," author Michael Klare
wrote, "that this is a grab for oil . . . it would make our
motives look more predatory than exemplary." Filling in for
Bush #41's fabrications about discarded incubator babies,
we now have blatant lies regarding Al Qaeda ties and weapons
capabilities. But though some might be fooled into thinking
our cause is just, others wonder: What else is Bush lying
2) The Project for the New American Century. Defined
by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman as a "group
of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that
the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global
empire," the Project for the New America Century (PNAC) seems
to have provided the blueprint for our dangerously misguided
foreign policy. With six of Bush's cabinet members (including
the strangely Strangelovian Paul Wolfowitz) being directly
involved, and Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Jeb Bush being
among the recipients of its findings, PNAC is troubling for
one important reason: its published report, Rebuilding
America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For a
New Century, has became our nation's playbook. "America's
'core mission,'" these neo-cons wrote, is to "fight and decisively
win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars." The report
was written in 2000, suggesting that forever war was planned
even before the election. Democracies don't function this
way. Banana republics do.
3) The National Military Strategy Of the United States
of America. "They hate us because we don't know why they
hate us," asserted one writer following Sept. 11. Nowhere
is arrogance more glaring than in the recently released National
Military Strategy for the United States of America. Clarifying
America's first strike policy and quest for global dominance,
this new national strategy is Wolfowitz's vision of American
Empire revisited. When the Wolfowitz Doctrine was leaked to
the New York Times in 1992, former Secretary of Defense
Harold Brown warned that our desire to control the world's
resources, while squelching any chance for opposition, would
present a "grave danger of nuclear war," and Sen. Kennedy
accused the Pentagon of looking for ways "to justify Cold
War levels of military spending." Now that Wolfowitz's dream
has become stated policy, there's been nary a peep. Foisted
upon us, without the benefit of democracy, this bellicose,
imperialistic policy makes the world a decidedly more dangerous
4) The Universal Military Training and Service Act.
In December, 2001, HR 3598 was introduced in the House. And
though President Bush stated last spring that "the country
shouldn't expect there to be a draft," if passed, this bill
will require all young men to report for 6-12 months of military
training and education. Selective Service System official
Lewis C. Brodsky believes that the nation should be prepared
to conduct a draft, and Virginia's Gov. Mark Warner agrees.
Commenting on legislation that links driver's license applications
to Selective Service registration (which 26 states have passed
within the last two years), Gov. Warner said, "In this time
of war, we need to make sure that we have a full sign up Selective
Service," while adding, "I think most boys would be proud
to do it." When the body bags start pouring in from Iraq,
Iran, or wherever our neo-con dictators lead us, Warner's
thesis will be put to the test.
5) Dick Cheney's Stonewalling. As White House aides,
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld persuaded President Ford to
veto the Freedom of Information Act. But with Nixon's excesses
freshly remembered, Congress overrode it. Since then (or at
least until Team Bush shot it full of loopholes), the FOIA
has protected the public's right to know. Dick Cheney's refusal
to turn over energy task force information, however, is an
unprecedented and infuriating ploy to shield the executive
branch from accountability. Aside from prompting questions
regarding what Cheney is hiding, a new concern emerges: When
this matter is decided by the Bush-appointed judge assigned
to the case (or, if need be, by the Supreme Court), if the
vice president prevails, any fašade that our selected officials
are "public servants" will be forever stripped away.
6) Military Oddities. If tales of wedding party bombings
and desert massacres weren't weird enough, stories concerning
our military operations are getting progressively stranger.
Recently, a BBC reporter in Afghanistan met up with American
soldiers who handed him a laminated government-issued card,
which instructed soldiers on how to interact with journalists.
"How do you feel about what you're doing in Afghanistan?"
one question read. "We're united in our purpose and committed
to achieving our goals," came the scripted reply. "How long
do you think that will take?" another asked. "We will stay
here as long as it takes to get the job done - sir!" (For
more information, see, pipeline, Unocal, Afghanistan).
This comes at a time, as the Washington Post reports,
when the U.S. government is muzzling the media. Though Newsweek
was able to cut though the propaganda regarding "Operation
Mountain Sweep," journalists covering Guantanamo have no such
luck. There, military personnel may only be interviewed under
the watchful eye of media escorts, who accompany journalists
everywhere, including the bathroom. Adding to the intrigue,
30 detainees have tried to commit suicide, and one Army staff
sergeant assigned to guard detainees suddenly disappeared.
7) West Nile Virus. Understandably sensitive after
being targeted during last fall's anthrax mailings, Sen. Patrick
Leahy asserted that West Nile virus might part of a bio-terror
program. Conjuring visions of mad scientists injecting and
infecting mosquitoes with teensy tiny needles (while cackling
maniacally, of course), his claim was dismissed. But as the
Boston Globe recently reported, West Nile virus is
now "causing" polio, though both stem from a different family
of viruses. How then, one wonders, could this strain be nature-made?
And wasn't West Nile added to Saddam Hussein's "made in the
U.S.A." germ warfare cart during his Reagan/Bush era shopping
Even so, Dr. Leonard says the issue runs deeper. Pointing
to malathion, Anvil 10:10 and other toxins being sprayed to
"protect" Americans from virus-bearing mosquitoes, he believes
there is a "great likelihood" that the CIA is hyping West
Nile to get the public to accept pesticide sprayings. Citing
declassified documents and Congressional Records proving America's
role in third world "depopulation programs," he says these
sprayings weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility
to deadlier forms of bio-terrorism and risky vaccinations.
In other words, he believes some U.S. citizens might be slated
for "depopulation," too. Too X-filish? Regardless, there's
no reason to doubt the doctor's expertise on malathion and
the immune system, which, in itself, doesn't bode well for
those living in heavily sprayed areas, should smallpox vaccinations
8) Missing Children Media Hype. Can anyone explain
the media hype surrounding missing children this summer, despite
FBI statistics that show that kidnappings are on the decline?
After several nights of kidnapping-related alerts, a mother
from Texas, whose infant was stolen the day before, interrupted
regularly scheduled programming to give a nationally televised
press conference - even though she didn't speak English and
her baby was returned unharmed. This was 0% newsworthy, 100%
surreal. Oddly enough, the very next day, the Philadelphia
Inquirer ran a front-page story on why parents should
consider having their children implanted with microchips.
"We have [global positioning system] units for our cars,"
Applied Digital spokesperson Matthew Cossolo told the Inquirer.
"If your car is stolen, we can locate it. Do we love our cars
more than our children?" When televised assaults are presented
alongside front-page commercials masquerading as news, the
Orwellian implications are too striking to overlook.
9) The Patriot Act, Secret Detentions, the Shadow Government,
Military Tribunals, Concentration Camps, Enron, Thwarted Investigations
and "Veritable Blueprints" Regarding Sept. 11. Though
these are all are "old concerns," together they serve as one
big reminder of what has befallen our nation in the past year.
Bush can scoff at Hitler comparisons all he likes, but America
no longer feels like the land of liberty.
Democracy is dying, Mr. President, and you're holding the