There is a broadening crisis in confidence in political and corporate leadership in the U. S. Suddenly, the world’s sole super-power is faced with a credibility crunch as its unparalleled status as a global military and economic giant shows unmistakable signs of shakiness. It emanates essentially from a worrisome-wannabe-warrior in the White House and corrupt and crooked executives in major corporations along with collaborators in their respective power structures and spheres of influence.
President George W. Bush fanned the flames of continuing conflict by calling for “first strike” military action against potential “enemies’ of the United States in an address to our young military leaders at West Point’s commencement. Bush’s saber rattling offers a wretched role model for the threat-swapping leaders of India and Pakistan as the longstanding mortal enemies ratchet up the rhetoric of battle and teeter toward the brink of a nuclear war in South Asia. While Bush wags on about war, the Middle-East also desperately needs bold and imaginative personal diplomacy for peace from the President of the United States. The United States continues to project an image to the world as being decidedly pro-Israel in the age-old Arab/Israeli struggle. Antagonism engendered from this perception answers the “why do they hate us” question asked of much of the Muslim world in post 9/11/01.
White House talk of never-ending-war to “make peace” is being actualized . Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense and civilian head of U.S. armed forces (formerly known as the Secretary of War), has been dispatched to make “peace” between India and Pakistan. George Tenet, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the war-abetting organization of spooks that has an indelible image of fomenting division, distrust and mortal combat around the globe, has been dispatched to the Middle East to “make peace”. And we wonder “why do they hate us?”
As reports continue to surface on a daily basis about several instances of foreknowledge of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks by U.S. intelligence and security agencies like the FBI and CIA, more questions are being asked about “who knew what when?” As the intelligence committees of Congress launch into an investigation of the matter an on-going turf war and blame-game between the FBI and the CIA is becoming apparent. Finally, everyone can conclude the buck stops in the oval office on such vital matters of national security. Our wide-eyed-warrior President issued a Clintonesque denial of responsibility by admitting that the FBI and the CIA failed to communicate but then said, “I’ve seen no evidence…that said this country could have prevented the attacks”.
Many astute observers of political affairs are beginning to question the motives behind the recent concerted deluge of the scare talk of more imminent, large-scale terrorist attacks. They were hastily churned out by Bush administration officials immediately after the foreknowledge reports and the who- knew-what-when questions arose. Would the Bush administration deliberately frighten and divert the public away from their who-knew-what-when before 9/11/01 concerns with a concerted campaign to alarm U.S. citizens of new terror to come?
According to the Wall Street Journal on June 4, 2002 the “possible new terrorist attacks have also weighed on markets” in a front page story describing the plummeting U.S. stock markets. The Journal also cited growing anxiety about political turmoil abroad, a declining dollar, and corporate scandals. The Dow Jones average was at its lowest point since February 7, 2002 and was 17% off its’ record high in January 2000. Nasdaq was 69% below its record high on March 10, 2000, and about 20% down this year. Revelations of CEOs and top corporate management involvement in a series of scandals and scamming has weakened investor confidence in the stock markets to an extent unseen in decades. The New York Times opined that, “These days, business news can resemble a financial police blotter”. Such corporate crook’s actions have aided the phenomena of an unprecedented increase in the disparity of wealth between the very wealthy and everyday people.
Rampant greed and corruption in the top echelons of such seemingly prosperous companies as Enron, Arthur Andersen, Global Crossing, Adelphia, and Tyco have sullied the integrity of our much ballyhooed “free market” and caused investors to pull out their money and begin to invest it in overseas markets. Such shenanigans include many corrupt practices like inaccurate and misleading accounting to inflate values and increase the “take” of executives and top management at the expense of shareholders and employees.
Those interested in reform to restore the integrity of the equity markets have been urging Congress to restrict accounting firms from providing both auditing and consulting services to the same corporation, but the most powerful members of Congress have prevented passage of such legislation. In almost every instance high-level connections with governmental officials in the Legislative and Executive branches, facilitated by hefty campaign contributions and high powered lobbying, has stopped such reform legislation. Political patronage has helped the corporate crooks position themselves to pull off their scams.
Today’s news tells us that thousands of foreign nationals are evacuating India and Pakistan; that there are 16 new Israeli deaths as a car bomber blew up a bus and Israeli troops are entering the Jenin refugee camp again; and that the CEO of Tyco has been indicted for evading more than a million dollars in a sales tax scam. Where-oh-where is competent and uncorrupted U.S. leadership in this crisis of confidence?
Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and political activist in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org