IS DESPAIR SPREADING IN THE BUSH CAMP?
By William Engdahl
[This article originally published in: Zeit-Fragen, August 9, 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/ARCHIV/ZF_119d/TO6.HTM.]
The current battle between the ultra-conservative foreign policy "realists" of the republicans and the Cheney-Rumsfeld group of neoconservative hawks resounds in dramatic and alarming tones. News about a recent application of the Department of Homeland Security about an edict to call off the November election leaked by "Newsweek" is significant in this connection.
First of all, there was the formal resignation of CIA head Tenet. A day before, the Senate committee on the Secret Service had released its report. In this report, the analysis of the evidentiary material on threatening Iraqi weapons of mass destruction by the US Secret Service was sharply condemned. The report itself represented a damage control for the White House and was written by well-meaning republicans on the commission. With all vigor, the CIA was branded a scapegoat to take the neoconservatives of the Pentagon out of the line of fire. Several democratic members of the commission including Carl Levin and Jay Rockefeller III wrote a critical rebuttal. Bush gave a speech the same day in which he defended the report and insisted on his viewpoint.
Newsweek magazine, a part of the liberal "Washington Post" group, leaked out a devastating report that Tom Ridge's Department of Homeland Security asked Ashcroft's Department of Justice for legal advice on what is necessary for the federal government to "postpone" the November election in case of a terrorist attack. No federal authority has the power to postpone public elections since elections fall in the competence of state governments in the US system.
This recalls the hardly noticed interview that US general Tommy Franks gave a rather frivolous magazine for cigar lovers a year ago. He said the US constitution would be immediately suspended and martial law declared in a second great terrorist attack on US soil. Whether Franks who - as reported - resigned on account of serious differences with Rumsfeld and the neoconservative hawks on the war policy in Iraq - carefully leaked the report to reveal the discussions among the neoconservatives is unclear.
The disclosure by Newsweek on conversations about postponing the election shows that despair is spreading in the Bush camp. In the current situation, the Bush-Cheney administration must struggle for a second four-year term in office. The choice between Bush and Kerry will involve scandals in Bush's Iraq policy and other political problems that are regularly coming to light. This was clear a week ago when Cheney had a quick temper and broke out in rage as chairman of the Senate in a verbal exchange with the liberal democrat Senator Pat Leahy. The democratic senator attacked Cheney on account of his dealings with Halliburton in Iraq and Cheney hurled a "f-you" at the senator. Since very strict etiquette prevails in the Senate, this showed the stress level behind the scenes of the Bush camp.
The situation for Bush is really precarious if one considers this political pressure together with the increasing signals that the economic system is much weaker than assumed. A clear mood swing against Bush will be provoked with a melting of stock prices or even only a clear drop before November and continuing reports about weak economic data.
The outcome of the election depends on a small number of states where the election result is uncertain and a small percentage of undecided voters. With a close election result, it is simpler to tilt the results in one way or another. If the reports about the intensive efforts of the ultra-conservative realists in the State Department, in the CIA and now also within the officers' ranks against the Cheney neoconservatives are correct, there will certainly be more surprises that will further weaken the plans for Bush's reelection.
In one report, ultra-conservatives are worried about the great global instability and ask how they can get control of the aggressive "After Us the Flood" approach of the neoconservatives. All this happens in view of the weakness of the dollar in capital transactions, the weakness of US mortgage- and stock-markets and an economic upswing based n dubious economic methods of the Labor Department and the trade division. The departments independently assume that pseudo-jobs simply must be created for hundreds of thousands because pseudo-jobs were once created this way in earlier recession phases.