by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Boca Raton, Fla.
August 10, 2004
THE PREZ WHO CRIED "WOLF?"
BOCA RATON, FL (3 Aug 04)--The Washington Post, New York Times, and some of my old colleagues from the loose knit UPI alumni club, are wondering whether the latest elections season "terror alert" is a case of a President or an administration who cried "Wolf."
One would hope to believe cash-strapped ("I just can't send kids to college on $175,000 per year") Fatherland security chief Tom Ridge is telling the truth. One hopes this is all nonpolitical. One hopes that threats detected three and four years ago, are truly reinforced by new material. But the track record does not bode well for the current administration. When politicians and their mouthpieces shout "Wolf" (Blitzer or otherwise) there is a growing percentage of the public which will either totally ignore the warning, or wonder if the warning is an attempt to rally polling results around the GOP flag. Personally, I tend to believe that an old laptop computer, found recently, with old plans and threats in its files, is a pretty good reason to remind the nation--including Wall Street--that we are at war. Well, maybe "we" are not at war, but people are at war against us. If the United States had really been at "war" the past three years, the national security protocol would have been one of preserve, conserve, and reserve, valuable assets (such as oil) and wealth instead of "Get thee to a local Mall and watch us tax and spend, spend and tax, reduce taxes on our biggest contributors, and grow the national debt." Here's my bottom line, after crisscrossing this fair land four or five times in recent months.
Can the elevated terror threat be real when:
And finally, how can we be at war when officials reveal our counter-terrorist plans and alerts to the public in news conferences? In real wars, and in nations which are in perpetual war such as Israel, police agencies quietly and efficiently do their work without unduly alarming the public. In contrast, Gov. Ridge, his staff, White House spokesmen, and apologists for the current regime, indicate, 'Well, could you imagine the scandal if we got wind of some trouble, did not announce it to the public, and then we were hit by an attack, and our critics complained that we didn't warn people?" Translation: we can't allow the opposition party to benefit from a new attack, so it's better to scare everyone whenever possible.
Former UPI newsman, syndicated radio talk host and political scientist Mark Scheinbaum has contributed to the American Reporter from Bosnia, Panama and points East and West since 1999. He is based in Boca Raton, Fla.