Mad Hatter may as well run U.S. war
  Phony and baloney

After Germany invaded Poland, and Britain and France declared war, nothing much happened for quite awhile.
The British waited for massive air raids that didn't come. The French crouched behind their Maginot Line, waiting
for an invasion that didn't come. The Germans tried to figure out what they were going to do next. This pause lasted
almost a year, and became known as the "phony war."

Today we're in a baloney war. After Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing more
than 3,000 Americans, the U.S. declared war on terror. Apart from bombing to rubble a country that was already
rubble Afghanistan and strip-searching people of colour well, of course and horrified grannies flying
into the U.S., and around and about inside it, nothing much has happened.

Nine months later, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of global evil, "Wanted Dead or Alive," is missing and
presumed thumbing his nose.  And America is trying to figure out what to do next.

In 1757, John Byng, having screwed up a naval engagement, was hanged from the yardarm of his flagship.
This prompted Voltaire's observation that England believed "it is good to kill an admiral from time to time,
to encourage the others."  The sound you hear from Washington, and have heard since Sept. 11, is the sound of
no heads rolling. Of course, for a head to roll you have to blame somebody, and nobody in America screwed up anything.

There was the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. There were foiled plots to drive explosive-laden planes
into the Eiffel Tower and the Pentagon. There were all those bomb ingredients driven across from Vancouver to
flatten the Los Angeles airport in Y2K. There was so much "chatter" of malevolent intent that U.S. intelligence
agencies still haven't sifted through it.  But on Aug 6., after President George W. Bush was briefed about the
increasingly oppressive atmosphere of threat, he went fishing.

Since then, nothing much has changed. Congress ordered 1,290 bomb-detecting machines placed in airports;
1,100 have yet to be installed. Ninety per cent of passenger baggage loaded into aircraft cargo holds isn't x-rayed.
The same tinhorn outfit that was screening passengers at the gate is still screening passengers at the gate.

Tom Ridge, the homeland security saviour, has been cut out of every loop in the U.S. by the same attorney-general
and FBI director and CIA director who were taken by surprise on 9/11. George Bush doesn't return his calls.

The FBI has been reorganized with great fanfare. Perhaps now reports from its field agents will reach their superiors.
But the real war in the U.S. is over turf (Tom Ridge lies buried under many layers), and anybody who thinks any
federal agency will give up a single sod has confused Washington with Fantasyland.

The head of the CIA served under Bill Clinton. Fire him and he might point out that Clinton was doing as good a job
of protecting the citizenry as Bush is.  Every obstacle has been thrown in the way of an investigation congressional
or judicial because it would reveal what significant steps have been taken to protect the citizenry since last September:
None.

It sounded like a joke when Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested. Something was strange; he wanted to learn how
to fly a passenger jet, but not how to land it. (Of the thousands of arrests related to 9/11, his is the only prosecution
going forward.) The Arizona FBI office warned that an awful lot of Middle Easterners were doing the same thing.
Only when this report surfaced a week ago did the FBI begin to think about reorganizing itself.

This week, The New Yorker reported that since 9/11 "thousands" of Middle Easterners have been granted U.S. visas
to enrol in flight instruction programs. A flying school in Florida has trained more than 1,600 students with the first name
Saeed.  Afghanistan has been obliterated. Iraq waits in line for its turn to get the daisy-cutter treatment.

Saudi Arabia, the homeland of more than two-thirds of the Sept. 11 hijackers (and chief financial backer for the
Palestinian suicide bombers), continues to bask in the glowing friendship of the United States. That's because the
axis of oil Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney is what calls the shots.
And Al Qaeda is cooking along just fine.

It is a Looking-Glass War, all bluster and ass-covering.
Phony and baloney.
 

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