Sep. 8, 2004
“If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” Dick Cheney said on September 7th, threatening the American public that if we elect Kerry and Edwards rather than Bush and Cheney, we’ll be attacked by “terrorists.”
But that statement was unambiguously intended to influence our votes by terrifying us. Cheney wants us to vote for him for fear that otherwise we and our loved ones will be subjected to random attacks. By the usual definition of terrorism, Cheney has joined the terrorists.
When those men flew planes into American buildings, their main intention may have been to please God and get into Heaven, but the goal of their organization seemed to be to influence the American government to pull its soldiers out of the Middle East, and to do so by means of terrifying Americans. It made sense to refer to them as terrorists.
The result, of course, was that Americans were indeed terrified. But Bush and Cheney sent more troops to the Middle East and created more recruits for the terrorist organization. Our government seems for the past three years to have been doing everything it can to encourage more attacks. And now Cheney is using that danger to threaten us.
Following 9-11, the American public was so terrified that it took years for us to bring our minds around to the question of how we might have prevented the attacks. It’s now been well established that the most direct means by which we might have prevented the attacks would have been by keeping Bush and Cheney out of the White House. America’s misguided policies in the Middle East became misguided many years ago, but our government’s efforts to investigate and counter Al Qaeda ceased when Cheney and Bush took office.
Bush and his administration ignored specific warnings in favor of taking extended vacations. And not because the public was satisfied with the job they had done in their first 8 months. In fact, Bush’s presidency was going nowhere and his popularity plummeting until American buildings were attacked with airplanes. Ignoring the warnings and allowing thousands to die was the best political move Bush ever made, judging by his poll ratings.
As soon as the planes hit, Americans chose to express faith in their president, despite the lack of any evidence that he had become a different person. For three years, Americans have allowed themselves to pretend that Bush and Cheney are not the same corrupt corporate sellouts that they were on September 10, 2001.
That pretense may dissolve in Cheney’s toxic threat. I for one will never vote for anyone or anything under threat of death or injury. That is not a free society. That is not the society we bomb villages, torture prisoners, and alienate allies to protect.
Let me say this very clearly, Dick, the American public does not negotiate with terrorists.