Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bush administration accused of politicizing terror threat

Allan Woods
CanWest News Service
Saturday, August 12, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is under fire for trying to make political gains from the foiled London terror plot after Vice-President Dick Cheney, one day before and in full knowledge of the impending arrests, warned that the electoral defeat of a pro-Iraq war Democrat would only encourage "al-Qaida types."

Cheney's comments about the defeat of Senator Joseph Leiberman, a Democrat from Connecticut, are being viewed as a crass political effort to rehabilitate President George W. Bush and his Republican party in the eyes of the American public in the lead-up to the country's mid-term elections this November.

"There is nothing Americans want more than to win the war on terror," read the lead editorial in Thursday's New York Times, which was critical of Cheney. "It comes like a punch to the gut, at times like these, when our leaders blatantly use the nation's trauma for political gain. We never get used to this."

Lieberman's fate in the Democratic primary vote on Tuesday night was seen as gauge of support for the Iraq war and the larger war on terror, both of which the Lieberman, a former vice-presidential candidate, stands firmly behind.

The day after Lieberman's loss to political rookie Ned Lamont, Cheney called the outcome "disturbing" and "an unfortunate development."

"The al-Qaida types, they are clearly betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task," he said in a telephone interview with reporters.

"It's an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic party to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy."

Cheney also charged that there is "a significant body of opinion" among Democrats who want to return to "the pre-9/11 mindset in terms of how we deal with the world we live in."

The comments were initially interpreted as little more than a partisan jab until the country woke up Thursday morning to news that two dozen terror suspects had been rounded up in and around London. Cheney and Bush had known about the investigation since last weekend and were briefed on the upcoming arrests on the same day as Cheney reacted to the Lieberman loss.

The two men receive intelligence briefings together, according to White House Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend.

The "pre-9/11 mindset" has come under continued criticism from the American right, particularly in the last year following politically damaging revelations about some of the extraordinary measures the security and intelligence wings of the U.S. government have taken to track and investigate potential terror threats, including secretly monitoring telephone conversations and international banking records.

It was to these measures that Bush was believed to have referred when he made a statement on the terror arrests and said that it is "a mistake" to believe there is no threat to the U.S. "and that is why we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people."

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And thanks to American media, it's all being bought hook, line and sinker. FOX-viewing Joe six-pack and Wanda wino-box will most assuredly vote to keep the scum in control this fall.


Buck