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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Yesterday's Intelligence

Bush Moves Beyond Incompetence

by GREG MOSES

Of course, the President is more than incompetent these days. He seems deliberately intent, like a boy who has built a tower of blocks, to make sure everyone in the room is watching, when the tower crashes to the ground.

With American soldiers already extended, with kidnappings breaking out across a country that has forever been the world’s cosmopolitan crossing grounds, and with hard-won structures of peace at the very precipice of legitimation, the President says essentially, Bring It On!

To be sure, the President has not built a pretty tower to begin with. But when pieces of real people’s lives come crashing down, time after time, we should have the right to grab the President’s hands and say, now George, stop that!

What is the account of things that makes the pattern of this President’s choices sane? Even in war there is a difference between a commander-in-chief and a warmonger. Even as a pacifist I have respect for a soldier’s duty to a commander-in-chief. But have Americans as a nation fallen so deeply into the delusions of war making that kill has become our favorite word?

Bush’s provocations are systematic enough to be considered deliberate. More war, less peace. The greater the calamity, the more the people cower under his rule. You figure out where that gets us. And how long this has been going on.

So we can wax nostalgic about that day in August, 2001, when the President was perhaps merely incompetent.

What about that sultry day at the Crawford Ranch in Texas? When intelligence reports indicated chatter of hijacking. Was that day anything like yesterday? When US officials warned American troops to watch out, because there was chatter and scattered clues? Uniforms for sale, Humvees missing. Sound the alarm.

If Aug. 6 was like yesterday, and if yesterday’s intelligence was considered actionable enough to put the troops on alert–even if no specific time or place of attack was known in advance–then what about Aug. 6?

On Aug. 6, so far as we’ve been told, vague chatter about hijacking and sleeper cells was not considered actionable enough to sound the alarm. Yet today, a "uniform scare" is being broadcast worldwide.

Meanwhile, Bush’s isolation from the rest of world is now legitimated only by his perplexing tolerability at home. Why is it not time for Americans to come to their senses, stop the kill talk, and demand mature recognitions from themselves and their President?

Paid experts go on television to proclaim flat out that leaders overseas are not being truthful. But when are these experts ever so clear about matters closer to home? What, exactly, are these experts being paid to do?

It appears that pressures and possibilities are springing to life this April: 9/11 families pressing questions in Washington, Grand Ayatollahs arranging cease fires in Iraq, Iranian ambassadors counseling their Muslim fellows, UN envoys looking for material leadership, and behold, even a British Prime Minister demanding more caution on the ground. Suddenly, global talent is mobilized to weave a tatter of sanity.

Meanwhile in Washington, a fashionable talk of kill, kill, kill. But the American people and their paid experts have got to snap out of their kill talk. The sooner this happens, the less we will all have to regret.

GREG MOSES writes for the Texas Civil Rights Review. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net