L. Neil Smith's
The Not-so-secret Conspiracy
by John Bottoms
Special to TLE
For years, as every new man-made calamity seems inevitably to enhance government power at the expense of our freedom, L. Neil Smith's bitterly sarcastic words have crossed my mind: "How very convenient. How very damned convenient." Neil first wrote them in response to the 1995 OKC bombing, then reprinted them after the 9/11 attacks. But I could never bring myself to believe that our government would destroy the Twin Towers for political gain, nor did Neil ever suggest it. If that was their plan they would have flown the planes into some of our nation's prized symbols like the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument, killing a few dozen tourists ... all for the greater good of course.
But a pattern has emerged which seems to fit the facts, matches my (admittedly limited) understanding of the workings of the political mind, and like the most successful of the world's great conspiracies, is right out in the open. The warmongers in Washington are using the terrorist blowback from previous military adventures to justify a police state at home and more wars, which in turn bring on the next round of terrorism, etc.
Talk about your escalating cycle of violence, these guys have perfected it! It's possible that some of them don't even know the game plan, including our clueless animatronic camera fodder president, and maybe even Mullah Ashcroft. Perhaps others, like the weak-willed Colin Powell, are only dimly aware of the consequences of their actions, refusing to fit the pieces together for fear of what they might learn about themselves. Such are the advantages of a highly compartmentalized mind, so useful to top managers. Pragmatists aren't in the business of connecting the dots. As for the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz- Pearle "axis of evil", it's hard to believe that they don't know exactly what they're doing.
Let's look at the specifics. America's war with Islam began in earnest in 1974 (I'm sure there are prequels, but this is a good place to start) when mostly Arab OPEC, angry over US military support for Israel's 1973 war, cut back its supply of oil to the west. Things heated up in '79 when radical Muslims in Iran toppled the government of the CIA-installed Shah, and held American embassy workers hostage for 14 months. The Ayatollah Khomeini became America's first in a series of Middle Eastern "bad boys." In the '80s the US sponsored Saddam Hussein to fight its proxy war against evil Iran, but then slapped him down in '91 when he got too big for his britches and attacked Kuwait, another backward, corrupt feudal oil state left over from the defunct British empire. But the US left behind what was seen as an army of occupation in Islam's birthplace and holy land: Saudi Arabia. Up until then, the military action had all been in the Middle East. But as cycles of violence will do, this one escalated right into our laps.
Anybody who's been paying attention knows that Tim McVeigh wasn't alone blowing up the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, though the FBI and federal prosecutors suppressed evidence related to at least one "John Doe" suspect. New evidence of possible Iraqi involvement in the bombing was recently published by Insight Magazine, which may explain Washington's insistence on deposing Saddam despite the weak public case they've made against him. Tim McVeigh was after revenge for the murder of more than 80 Americans by federal police in Waco, Texas exactly two years earlier, and would have had common cause with Iraqi agents eager to extract revenge for America's Gulf War. Further escalating the violence, President Clinton and Janet Reno used the Oklahoma City bombing as an excuse to destroy the American militia movement and undermine the gun rights, privacy and financial freedom of all Americans.
Fast forward to 9/11 when America's latest bad boy and erstwhile cold war asset Osama bin Laden, angry over US troops garrisoned in Islamic holy places since the Gulf War, likely ordered and funded the destruction of New York's twin towers. The US responded by attacking Afghanistan and embarking on a Terror War, providing cover for Israel to escalate its war on the Palestinians. Today the entire Muslim world distrusts the US government, which it see as Israel's violent and hypocritical toady.
While the US military has been busy killing Muslims in the Middle East and the Philippines, the government at home is ensuring that we remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks. While making a big fuss over airport security and other PR ploys to give the impression of protecting us, little is being done to actually enhance our safety. This is perfectly exemplified by preventing qualified pilots from arming themselves to protect their airplanes and passengers. The "federalized" airport security guards remain bored, arrogant, resentful and truly stupid, regularly allowing passengers with guns to slip through security checkpoints. The government then publicizes the fact so the terrorists will be sure to know just how vulnerable we remain. Even the CIA recently admitted that new terrorist attacks against the US are inevitable, because there's no way to stop every small, dedicated, decentralized cell of suicidal killers in the target-rich environment which is America. That may the most honest official statement ever released by the CIA.
Now that the dust of recent events has settled a bit, we have a chance to reflect on what's past and where we should go from here. The pattern of violence is clear, as cause leads to effect, which becomes the next cause, etc. No secret conspiracies are needed. Just keep expanding the American empire overseas while restricting our freedom at home, and human nature will provide the terrorist blowback required to justify the next round. An idiot could handle it, so it's a good match for politicians. In each cycle, we lose more freedom, the death toll rises, and the world becomes a more dangerous place. Now we again have the opportunity to get off the treadmill; or we can attack Iraq, the Philippines, Colombia and who knows where else.
Whether our rulers are purposely feeding this cycle, or just operating on some weird born-again religious fervor, gross stupidity, myopic blind ambition or some combination of these is less important than the knowledge that we're in what engineers call a "positive feedback loop," which if not brought under control always leads to instability and a destructive crisis. The next move is a US attack on Iraq, which will further destabilize the Middle East and possibly lead to a regional nuclear war or worse. We must stop this Iraq attack before our government brings ruination down on us all.
John Bottoms writes, works and lives in Phoenix, Arizona
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