Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Terrorists-A-Poppin'

The FDA warns that reimported pharmaceuticals are the target of terrorist activity based on vague claims of 'chatter' that are flatly contradicted by the Homeland Security Department. I guess the Administration hasn't yet perfected getting all concerned deparments to sing from the same talking points regarding bogus claims of terrorist activity.

The increasing number of frustrated state governments seeking to reduce prescription drug costs with reimportation threatens the efficacy and political viability of Bush's gift to the industry, the Medicare Drug Plan. So the Administration prodded it's FDA Commissioner to throw a little fear into the public to discourage the practice.

Commissioner Lester said, "We get our cues from chatter that occurs around the world, which is related to us by the intelligence community, and also from past incidents and things that happened domestically."

That wouldn't happen to be the same 'intelligence community' which was so accurate in its claims about WMD in Iraq? Interesting he should choose such an ill-defined term to explain the basis of his claim. Just about anyone could be part of the 'intelligence community.' Hell, I might be a part of the 'community' Why not tell us a particular intelligence agency? Oh, that would be because while these sources may be part of the 'intelligence community' they are not a part of any American government agency. My guess is a Right Wing think tank or private intelligence company. Well, at least it is comforting that this Administration rarely lies, and you can always spot the bullshit amid the squishy language and misdirection, if you know to look for it.

The main disclosed support for this terrorist scenario? The Tylenol tampering case of over 20 years ago. The person or persons responsible were never caught, so we don't know if this was terrorism, an unusual MO for a serial killer, or industrial sabotage for commercial motives.

Regardless, Lester lamely claims relevance for the Tylenol case saying "I would think that's something they would be looking at. Nothing like that has happened, but it is a source of continuing concern." 'I would think' is not the best of bases upon which to build a case for a terrorist threat.

What becomes more clear every day is that the Bush Administration, finding the tactical use of terrorist threats useful in electoral politics, is now applying the technique to unrelated policy struggles. How long until the entire Bush domestic agenda is hung on the terrorism peg? Just wait for the Convention and see how many otherwise indefensible Bush policies are reframed as anti-terror measures.

I can hear it now:
"Taxes give aid and comfort to terrorists!"

"Terrorists are planning on infiltrating the US as election monitors!"

"Terrorists are living off Social Security payments. We must end the program to cut off their sources of funding!"

"Unions are breeding grounds for domestic terrorists! Down with the Fair Labor Practices Act!"

"The minimum wage allows Middle Eastern immigrants to send some of their wages to Islamic charities, which fund terrorism! End the minimum wage!"

"We have intercepted chatter which proves that homosexual marriage is a terrorist plot to weaken America's families and morals!"

"Abortion doctors are being trained and supported by Al Qaida to reduce the U.S. population!"

"The separation of church and state prevents us from effectively fighting the War on Terrorism. We need to bring these institutions together to enhance information sharing..."

"Environmental regulations provide a tempting target to terrorists. Terrorists are planning to cause environmental devastation by disrupting these systems. So we must eliminate these complex rules before terrorists can disrupt them and wreak havok on our environment!"

I'm sure the truth will be even stranger than fiction.


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