Friday, October 14, 2005

The Conspiracy Theorist Within

Is it just me or does this administration make you want to forsake your inherent optimism, rationality and general trust in the triumph of people's better natures and become a full blown conspiracy theorist? I mean, part of me thinks, hell, they'd do anything to maintain power. I still can't buy in to the whole "the levies were bombed" thing, or "Bush and Blair conspired to bomb the London Underground" or "the plane that flew into the Pentagon was actually a missile" but Keith Olbermann puts together quite a case for a somewhat less outrageous theory -- is it really just a coincidence that 14 times in the last three years, a terror alert, a warning, an arrest...something to remind us of the ongoing terror threat (code for "Bush is a strong leader") has come directly on the heels of negative press for the president.

Olbermann sets the scene:
Last Thursday on Countdown, I referred to the latest terror threat - the reported bomb plot against the New York City subway system - in terms of its timing. President Bush’s speech about the war on terror had come earlier the same day, as had the breaking news of the possible indictment of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation.

I suggested that in the last three years there had been about 13 similar coincidences - a political downturn for the administration, followed by a “terror event” - a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning.
He then goes on to list all thirteen, the date of the bad news, then the date of the subsequent terror alert. Go ahead, take a trip down memory lane:

December 17th, 2003. 9/11 Commission Co-Chair Thomas Kean says the attacks were preventable. The next day, a Federal Appeals Court says the government cannot detain suspected radiation-bomber Jose Padilla indefinitely without charges, and the chief U.S. Weapons inspector in Iraq, Dr. David Kay, who has previously announced he has found no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, announces he will resign his post.

December 21st, 2003. Three days later, just before Christmas, Homeland Security again raises the threat level to Orange, claiming “credible intelligence” of further plots to crash airliners into U.S. cities. Subsequently, six international flights into this country are cancelled after some passenger names purportedly produce matches on government no-fly lists. The French later identify those matched names: one belongs to an insurance salesman from Wales, another to an elderly Chinese woman, a third to a five-year old boy.


July 29th, 2004. At their party convention in Boston, the Democrats formally nominate John Kerry as their candidate for President. As in the wake of any convention, the Democrats dominate the media attention over the ensuing weekend.

Monday, August 1st, 2004. The Department of Homeland Security raises the alert status for financial centers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington to orange. The evidence supporting the warning - reconnaissance data, left in a home in Iraq, later proves to be roughly four years old and largely out-of-date.

June 26th, 2005. A Gallup poll suggests that 61 percent of the American public believes the President does not have a plan in Iraq. On the 28th, Mr. Bush speaks to the nation from Fort Bragg: "We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we'll fight them there, we'll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

June 29th 2005. The next day, another private pilot veers into restricted airspace, the Capitol is again evacuated, and this time, so is the President.

Olbermann is quite measured in his analysis, reminding us of the Logical Falacy: "Just because Event 'A' occurs, and then Event 'B' occurs, that does not automatically mean that Event 'A' caused Event 'B.' But in the same breath he recalls Tom Ridge's statements of earlier this year:
On May 10th of this year, after his resignation, former Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge looked back on the terror alert level changes, issued on his watch.

Mr. Ridge said: “More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it. Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don’t necessarily put the country on (alert)… there were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said ‘for that?’”
And Olbermann, probably the press's most reliable member of the reality-based community, leaves us with these words of wisdom:
But, if merely a reasonable case can be made that any of these juxtapositions of events are more than just coincidences, it underscores the need for questions to be asked in this country - questions about what is prudence, and what is fear-mongering; questions about which is the threat of death by terror, and which is the terror of threat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Olbermann, probably the press's most reliable member of the reality-based community, leaves us with these words of wisdom:


What Olbermann leaves out (unlike Todd, he *should* know this) is that whenever there is an increase in the alert level the relevant members of the Congressional oversight committees (and usually the Congressmen/Senators from the impacted areas) get briefed in on what's happening.

That list includes DEMOCRATS, Todd. Do you have such little faith in your own party's leadership that you would believe that they were/are part of a conspiracty to prop up this Republican President's approval ratings?

Or is it just a case of you following your pattern of laying blame with the President while absolving your own leaders from responsibility?

8:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home