Photo credit: The Boston Herald
One of John McCain’s top advisors has something unusual in mind when it comes to the possibility of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil: a campaign victory. During a recent interview with Fortune Magazine, Chief Strategist Charlie Black revealed that such an attack “certainly would be a big advantage” for the presidential hopeful.
The quote detonated in Black’s face shortly after it surfaced. He issued a public apology, McCain distanced himself and Obama released a typical rebuttal. But I’m not over it.
The problem is not that Black let something slip, as if he accidentally dropped the f-bomb in front of some school kids. His thoughts are telling because it reflects the political climate in Washington. The “power at any cost” mindset has infected the GOP since 9/11, and this is only the latest example of it oozing into view. Black should be apologizing for his priorities and alliances. Why is he even thinking of the “advantage” to McCain when asked about a terrorist attack? This kind of hunger should sound a big alarm. It’s a disgrace- seven years after a hit on our nation and the chief strategist for one of the two presidential candidates is essentially saying “if another occurs, we’ll be using it to get ahead.”
Here’s what I can’t get past: Bush and his government failed us on September 11th. His administration ignored the Bin Laden threat for months leading up to the strike. The federally-governed aircraft were not secured on that day. And yes- it does matter that Bush stayed in his seat for seven minutes after being told “the nation is under attack,” and not because Michael Moore included it in his movie. Now as I’ve said before- no government can provide a shield against every threat, but a little research on the topic reveals a White House operating prior to 9/11 with systemic negligence in relation to such external threats.
So who was fired? Where are the apologies from those who failed us on that day, and who has been held accountable? No one. The militant majority of the Republican party refuse to apologize, and will not turn away from their ongoing blunders. Even something like a terrorist attack, which is both grim and unthinkable for the rest of us- is just fodder for GOP supremacy. If this were the first time, I’d be downplaying the significance of the whole matter. Unfortunately the “advantage” quote arrives at the tail end of years filled with threats fabricated, manipulated and made useful- from WMDs to “smoking guns” and “mushroom clouds.”
Hundreds of thousands are dead in Iraq since our invasion began, and many of those are our own soldiers; millions more have been driven from their homes and are now refugees throughout the middle east. Our global reputation is rightfully damaged after the policies of torture and abuse, secret prisons and endless detention for suspects without trial or writ of habeus corpus (though that’s finally been overturned). Here at home, we’ve seen police and spy powers ramped up and federal debt nearly doubled. And for what? Even after all of that, the neocon hawks continue to say and use anything- including attacks both real and imagined- as a means to their end. This is not the same country that I was born into, and I’m a young guy.