His supporters believed that Ronald Reagan planned to hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union by goading it to invest in military technology to circumvent our "Star Wars" missile interception system, (the Strategic Defense Initiative that never worked) and by undermining the Soviet economy to damage the civilian infrastructure and weaken ideological support for communism.
It may be that such was the plan. By the late 1980s the Soviets were running out of money and having trouble maintaining their civilian infrastructure; they had lost most of their ideological credibility and popular support: the system simply couldn't keep operating and collapsed, though it's debatable whether U.S. action caused it.
We might equally observe that Osama bin Laden planned the destruction of the United States by goading the Bush administration to invest in an economy-busting war on Iraq, by giving the neo-cons a pretext for abridging citizen's rights and destroying public faith in democracy and government, by providing Bush an excuse to detain and torture suspects, by giving the US commercial media new opportunities to use fear and violence to sell more stuff, and by creating new markets for large corporations to sell weapons for destruction and expertise for reconstruction.
The National Intelligence Estimate last month stated that a revived Al Qaeda is planning to "focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the U.S. population."
That's a quite competent analysis - of what a few Saudi zealots with box knives accomplished on 9/11. It rests, of course, on several unproven assumptions: that Al-Qaeda today is the same group that attacked us six years ago, that Al-Qaeda is the only group that is willing and/or able to imagine or carry out such an agenda, and that its leaders are planning to do the same thing again.
Unpacking this putative agenda suggests that while "mass casualties and visually dramatic destruction" are fairly easy to stage in an era of WMD, mass MSM, and large masses of people (the US does it every day in Iraq and Afghanistan; Israel did it in Lebanon, Nature and Chance do it fairly frequently all over the world) the "economic disruptions and/or fear" require substantial cooperation from the targets of their terrorism. To wit:
The Congressional Budget Office (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/08/01/2909/) has now estimated that the Iraq war will ultimately cost at least one trillion dollars. (Reminder: counting one dollar per second 24/7/365, it will take 31,710 years to count a trillion dollars)
The Bush Administration has just announced plans to sell satellite-guided bombs, fighter aircraft upgrades and new naval vessels to Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf states: Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. They also plan to give similar weapons and military aid to Israel and Egypt - on the American taxpayers' nickel.
This week Bush also gave himself the power to seize the assets of anyone he claims to suspect of assisting - even unwittingly - someone who might commit a violent act or threaten the "peace and stability" of Iraq.
But also this week almost everyone could see the connection between a ruinous, unwinnable war with "no new taxes" and the collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis. Every week we are repeatedly hurt and sickened by the slaughter of children in Iraq and Afghanistan and the death of our own young people in a needless war.
Have we had enough, are we mad enough, scared enough, or hurt enough, to lift a hand against the crimes and abuses of the Bush administration? Have we had enough, are we mad enough, scared enough, or hurt enough to risk a fine for putting up "Impeach Bush" signs - as a young Kentite did this week - (http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/2346262), to be arrested for sitting-in at a legislator's office, to raise our hands in support of school levies and new taxes to repair our bridges, to extend healing hands to everyone - at least to all children?
Are we mad enough, scared enough, or hurt enough now to tell our national political parties and candidates that we won't hand out any campaign contributions until impeachment of Bush and Cheney is back on the table and moving forward?
The word 'impeach' is cognate with 'impede', from a Latin word for a 'foot-fetter' or 'ankle snare'; it means literally "to tangle the feet."
We need to tangle the feet of an administration that is helping Al Qaeda in "producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the U.S. population."For over six years we have become progressively more entangled in their webs of lies, misinformation, secrecy and coercion. It's time to free our hands and tangle the feet of Bush and Cheney, to challenge their concept of the imperial executive, and test the validity of their endless war at any cost.
They are now quickening their pace toward fascism and perpetual war. We must take matters into our own hands and insist that our House of Representatives impeach them, even if our Senate and Senators can't or won't convict them and pluck them off the stage.
The Bush administration still has 17 months to go. Even if we can't remove them from office, it's time to tangle their feet, slow them down, and put power back into the hands of the people.
Had enough, mad enough, scared enough, or hurt enough?