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20 Questions About Bush’s War on Arabs


1. Why did the White House announce that George Bush himself authorized the arrest of the Lackawanna Six, since arrests warrants are normally the purview of an assistant attorney general and the White House never before announced the direct involvement of George Bush in any criminal investigation?

2. Why did George Pataki do most of the talking in the nationally-televised FBI press conference about the Lackawanna arrests?

3. What was George Pataki doing there at all?

4. Was there a single new fact about Saddam Hussein’s inability to work and play well with others in George Bush’s UN speech?

5. Why did George Bush announce that the US was rejoining UNESCO one paragraph before he demanded that the UN take military action against Saddam Hussein if Saddam Hussein didn’t agree to full inspection by UN experts?

6. Why did George Bush say that Saddam Hussein’s agreement to full inspection by UN experts didn’t comply with his demand that Saddam Hussein agree to full inspection by UN experts?

7. Why is the possibility that Saddam Hussein might develop the ability to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium or uranium in the future more dangerous to our welfare than, say Pakistan’s present ability to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium or uranium?

8. Why, if our sole interest is preventing Hussein from developing weapons-grade materials, don’t we do what we (and Israel) have done in the past: take out the troublesome installations with a missile or bomb?

9. Why, if we can’t find the location of Hussein’s putative weapons-grade plutonium or uranium factories (they are big and give off a lot of heat), are we spending those billions and billions of dollars on high-tech spy hardware?

10. Why, as former President Bill Clinton points out, would Saddam use nuclear or biological weapons of mass destruction on us when he knows that using them would result in immediate massive and deadly counterattack by us?

11. Why, as former President Bill Clinton asks, wouldn’t Saddam use such weapons, and distribute them to other people who might use them, if we made a preemptive attack, since the point of our attack would primarily be to slaughter him and everyone close to him anyway? What, Clinton said, would he have to lose?

12. The single document President Bush has quoted in support of his assertion that Saddam is close to producing a workable nuclear device is a 1998 International Atomic Energy Agency report that now turns out to be nonexistent, so what evidence is there that Iraq is even close to developing a workable nuclear device?

13. What happened to Jose Padilla, that international terrorist Attorney General John Ashcroft called his emergency Moscow press conference about several months ago, the Bin Laden agent about to detonate a dirty nuclear device in Manhattan? You know, the guy they locked in a Navy brig and wouldn’t let out or bring to trial, even though they later said he didn’t really have any connection with Bin Laden or a dirty nuclear device to set off.

14. What bad thing, other than having been in a country in which it was then legal for Americans to be, and perhaps having heard a lecture by Bin Laden they couldn’t have known beforehand they were going to hear while they were there, did the Lackawanna Six actually do?

15. What American rights, specifically, are better safeguarded by the new White House policy of locking American citizens up without trial, without access to attorneys, family, or the press?

16. What happened to the inquiry into the way Dick Cheney got very rich on his way out of Haliburton just before Haliburton tanked?

17. What happened to the House investigation into Dick Cheney’s stonewalling about his meetings with Enron officials and how influential they were in setting Bush administration energy policy?

18. What happened to the inquiry into the way George W. Bush got very rich on his way out of Harken Energy and why his partners in it gave him a $12 million present when he was in the Texas governor’s office? (See: Paul Krugman, “Steps to Wealth,” NY Times, 16 July 2002 for more on this.)

19. How much does all of this have to do with the elections for US Senate and House of Representatives seats and the New York governorship scheduled for November 5?

20. What is the premise, plot and possible present applicability of Barry Levinson’s film Wag the Dog, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro? (If you don’t remember, visit for a plot summary.)

BRUCE JACKSON is Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture at University at Buffalo. He is editor of Buffalo Report, on line at

He can be reached at:


Bruce Jackson’s most recent books are Inside the Wire: Photographs from Texas and Arkansas Prison (University of Texas Press, 2013) and In This Timeless Time Living and Dying on Death Row in America (with Diane Christian, University of North Carolina Press, 2012). He is SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture at University at Buffalo

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