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The International Writers Magazine
:REALITY CHECK

THE DENIZENS OF POLITICS
James Campion

How the 9/11 Commission has Kick Started Election Year

Election 2004

All ye need know about the 9/11 Commission, Richard Clarke’s literary revelations, Bob Woodward's research, the Condoleezza Rice media tour, the sudden disappearance of Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, and the ramped up ultra-violence in Iraq the last ten days, is that they’re symptoms of politics, and, in an ironic twist of disingenuous grandstanding, constructively aid in revealing certain truths pertinent to the voting citizenry.

For the record, the charge of cynic, normally and correctly thrown at yours truly, does not apply here. There is heaps of evidence that the political quagmire which widely manipulated and ruefully ignored fanatical Middle Easter loons for decades came home to roost on 9/11. I’ve written plenty about that before. It’s in my second book, and in a host of columns the past four years since its publishing, but what we are finally witnessing is its pathetic fallout in spades.

First off, except for the compulsory right wing attacks on Richard Clarke’s recent allegations, he has gotten off way too easy.
Finger-pointers are a dime a dozen in Washington. I’ve never been there for more than ten consecutive minutes without having a drink with one. But casting such vociferous blame has the unnerving effect of conspiracy. There is as much blood on this joker’s hands as Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Osama bin Laden combined. His publicity stunt to cry wolf and sell books while leaving the sinking ship smells to high heaven. He looks guilty. He talks guilty. He is guilty.
If Clarke were so brave and heroic in his stance against the threat of terrorism ignored in the Clinton and Bush White Houses’ and the present "misguided" war in Iraq, then he should have walked-and-talked a long time ago. But he didn’t. After working in an advisory role in the realm of foreign threats under four presidents, Clarke was demoted and then relieved of his duties by Bush. Then, conveniently, just when the 9/11 Commission cranks up and the election battle lines have been drawn, he whips up a book and comes clean?

Please. Clarke is a blatant opportunist, and so are my old pals at Simon & Schuster, who used their Viacom partnership with CBS news and its overrated "60 Minutes" space to unabashedly promote him. Clarke comes on like the kid who was at the party when your mother’s expensive vase was stolen and figures to somehow clear himself by spilling the beans. "I told those guys the vase was vulnerable!" Frankly, if I were at that party, he’d be my first suspect. "Where’s the vase, whiny?" Clarke is just another reason among the many to get out to California and find what’s left of Ronald Reagan and punch him in the face. His obsession with bankrupting the Soviet Union bore monsters like bin Laden and now we have this jabbering coward to deal with. We’ve been paying for The Gipper’s shortsighted stupidity long enough.

Yet, there is light at the end of Clarke’s dark tunnel of exploitation. Although his motives may be skewed and his mia culpa sleazy, he’s not the only one attempting to wipe the mess of 9/11 off his power tie.

His rants echo strongly those of Paul O’Neill, another Washington lifer sent packing with a grudge and a book to hawk. However, though Clarke and O’Neill could never be mistaken for political marauders, both tell similar tales: For decades, our government was woefully unprepared for a terrorist plot, both home and abroad, and there was an undeniable preternatural jones in the current administration to invade Iraq the minute the second tower fell in New York.

Both scenarios have lead to serious political backlash. Howard Dean practically had O’Neil, once a Nixon and Ford advisor and close confidant of the vice president, on the payroll. And Clarke’s calling out of National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice forced Bush’s hand.
No one wants to be difficult in an election year.

That leads us to Rice’s vehement defense of her credibility after Clarke described her in print and in several interviews as more or less lost on the whole al Qaeda thing immediately following 9/11. Normally tight-lipped, Doctor Rice has been making more television appearances than the four gays guys on Bravo. This politically charged media blitz prompted the 9/11 Commission to rightly suggest she take her song and dance spin on record for the investigation. This forced the White House to acquiesce and give Rice up, something they balked at from jump street, raising the politically damaging echoes of Bush’s procrastination for a 9/11 Commission in the first place. Basically, the White House, eager to impale Clarke’s momentum, defended itself into a legal corner.

Again, no one wants to further intimate a sense of guilt with indicting concepts like executive privilege under oath while simultaneously playing the victim on the Today Show.

This brings us to fair-haired frontrunner, the suddenly invisible John Kerry. His people told me last week that "the senator is laying low to avoid early over-exposure", which is normal for the spring of a national campaign. But when I broached the convenient timing of his disappearance to the massacre in Fallujah, where American soldiers were murdered, burned, and then kicked and dragged like smoldering dolls by braying street trash, they became unusually obstinate. By "unusually", I mean that most campaign reps normally find me annoying, but this was, I feel safe in describing, what most professionals would deem overly aggressive.

I tried to explain to campaign rep, Roger (last name withheld) that despite all his candidate’s anti-war rhetoric, the atmosphere of culpability created by the 9/11 Commission must extend to congress and those members who voted to send the victims of last week’s horror show to war in the first place. I then added that their candidate followed that up by making the politically motivated move to refuse further funding of said troops.

Oh yeah, Roger had lots of things to say, most of them laced with expletives. I forgave him. He was frightened. And that’s good news for those rooting for Kerry. When I tussled with the Bush people in 2000 about the evils of Al Gore, they chuckled. Ignoring my Cassandra-like prescience for doom is dangerous. If not for the imbeciles in Florida, their boy would have eaten crow. At least the bottom feeders at the Kerry forces see bad moons when they rise, and by keeping the senator’s head in the sand when the bullets fly on who might be responsible for the foreign relations mess this country is in - of which he would not and should not get a pass - they avoid needless explanatory stump speeches.

The final political animal mutated from the 9/11 Commission is the escalated violence against American troops in Iraq, above and beyond the nasty business in Fallujah. When you talk to the Jerusalem Post as much I do, you get the idea that everything is political with terrorists.
They especially love election years, heated arguments over war policy, and the cast of blame for their atrocities, like the one in Spain last month. This has emboldened the resistance against American forces and puts a high premium on coverage. If homeless psychos in cow towns can get the front page of the New York Times, what are the big boys doing to get decent press?

As I write this, Rice is finally testifying (filibustering) before the 9/11 Commission (a politically charged attack unit) and on Capitol Hill (home office of cowardice) the two-martini lunch set are either comparing Iraq to Viet Nam or crying about a "will to win". Meanwhile Americans die and our money continues to go down the sinkhole known as Homeland Security. Something’s got to give, no?

One way or the other the results will likely resemble your particular ideology or be the same old crap. Probably both. Ostensibly, that’s your job this November. Of course, that’s what they tell you. You know, the denizens of politics.
© James Campion April 2004
realitycheck@jamescampion.com

High Stakes in the White House

www.jamescampion.com



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