Friday, October 07, 2005

Dangerous times

10 Plots Foiled Since Sept. 11, Bush Declares

Not because of the threat of terrorism. Where I live, the likelihood of terrorism is nil. And I would like to think that even if I lived in NYC or DC, I would not let fear get in the way of my life.

The danger is that President Bubble Boy is in a corner. His poll numbers are in the gutter, his power brokers are being indicted, and his party and religious right supporters are turning away from him.

So we get a scary speech. "You are still in danger. Be afraid. But I will stand tall against the straw men, and act confidently even if I am actually making things worse."

The cynicism here is unmistakable. Bubble Boy needs a boost, so he plays the fear and terrorism card. He wants to corral those out there who drool over "us v. them" rhetoric.

The danger is that he will go beyond the rhetoric and make some more tragic decisions. Attacking Iran. Declaring martial law in response to an epidemic or natural disaster.

Hopefully, his political situation is such that he can't make any of these moves.

Mr. Bush used his speech, before the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, to warn that Syria and Iran had become "allies of convenience" for Islamic terror groups, appearing to step up political pressure on both countries. He said, "The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them," and he warned that the "the civilized world must hold those regimes to account."

A senior White House official said Thursday evening that the president's 40-minute speech arose from Mr. Bush's desire to remind Americans, after "a lot of distractions" in recent months, that the country was still under threat, and had no choice but to remain in Iraq so Al Qaeda did not use it as a base to train for attacks on the United States and its allies.


Mr. Bush compared Islamic militant leaders - at one point he used the phrase "Islamo-fascism" - to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, and said their ideology, "like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure."


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