Monday, August 06, 2007

PDB Blogswarm: George, Harriet, and a Legacy of Reactance

I love birthdays!

This is part of the PDB blogswarm going on today. For those of you unawares, on August 6, 2001, the president was officially warned, in a Presidential Daily Briefing, that Bin Laden was poised to attack, to bring the fight to America, and that it would "follow the example of the World Trade Center bomber." Seriously. GWB 8/6/01 PDB PDF!

The PDB speaks for itself; that the President of the United States was deaf to the alarm bells is - now near the end of this eight years of black comedy/reality show - no surprise.

As with any anniversary, it is a time of reflection, a time of looking back on an aspect of this failure of a leader. In my estimation, the most poignant aspect of our "Protecting America" Bush administration has been the systematic knee-jerk reaction of the policy-makers: Nothing happens to prevent something dangerous until that thing happens and is deemed dangerous.

September 11th? Stop all air traffic, and be more careful when you start it back up, sometimes including an Air Marshal on the flight. Ooh, and no more box cutters, except sometimes you might be able to find them in the airport store.

Shoe Bomber? Ground flights, eh, maybe not, and from now on everybody takes off their shoes. And absolutely no lighters or matches...okay, you can have matches and we'll even replace a lighter with matches if you're cute...okay, you can have lighters again. But take off those shoes!

Alleged Liquid Bomb Terrorists? Duh, no liquids! No water or juice or K-Y lovin for you. Detain and flagrantly threaten mothers - whatever you have to do. No, the explosively flammable liquid version of butane you find in lighters does not count.

And how would these foolish antics be carried out? By underqualified, underpaid, underappreciated employees, the LMSA: Little Man Syndrome Army. (Note: I know someone who was accepted as an Air Marshal. The words retard and potato gun could easily combined in a single sentence to describe his credentials.)

Summer Terrorist Chatter? There may or may not be any chatter that may or may not be directly or indirectly related to something that does or does not exist. Remain vigilant!

I remember hearing the horrors of Katrina and reliving the viewing of the Discovery Channel special entitled something like: "Holy Shit! What if a 3-4-5 Hurricane Hits New Orleans!?" It emerged from a pool of reports and specials that is slowly fading in my memory, one that contains the potential openings for terrorist attacks: Water supply, public aerosol chemical/bio weapons, nukes in shipping containers, chemical plant weaknesses, nuclear plant weaknesses, power grid, information infrastructure, public transportation, and the fucking Mall of America.

And then what happens? The PDB should be our warning: not a warning of a terrorist attack, but a warning of what our government is capable of and where their priorities lie.

Because one of those old Datelines will one day pop out of that pool of memory into a slot for a reality comparison to a terrorist attack. American flags will fly; patriotism will be questioned; fingers will be pointed; we will invade a country - the plan will already have existed; and should it be bad enough, the impetus will be clear, and we will be goose-stepped straight into honorable marshal law, dutiful suspension of the Bill of Rights and all the juicy bits of Dick Cheney's wettest dreams.

Sometimes I feel like all the people who are supposed to be looking out for our best interests are standing around a rooftop swimming pool at night, all dressed in suits, smoking cigars, and sipping Johnny Walker Black, quietly chuckling to each other with false pretenses. A meteor is falling out of the sky, and we - the bloggers - look back at the crowd, our necks craned, our voiced slightly raised "Um, guys?"

So Happy Birthday, PDB! May the lessons we learned be strong enough to unite us against tyranny and oppression, because the administration learned way different lessons.

Quick shout outs: Blue Gal, source of my info about the PDB blogswarm, Tengrain over at Mock, Paper, Scissors for the lovely image at the head of this diatribe.

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