This I Believe

David - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on May 16, 2006
Age Group: 65+


I believe that anyone can play a game called Connecting the Dots, though most people prefer not to. Indeed, 99% of Americans are willing to work their brains far harder to deny what they might discover by connecting the dots than if they were willing to pay attention to the obvious.

For example, when it was shown that many efforts had been made to alert our government that an attack from al Qaeda was probable, warnings as specific as Osama bin Laden’s intention to use hijacked aircraft as bombs, a gamester at the Connecting the Dots table might well have concluded that someone in our government WANTED something to happen. Perhaps they only wanted SOMETHING to happen, something that might inflict minor damage somewhere. Even expert gamesmanship at Connecting the Dots, short of getting access to information so secret it will never be leaked, cannot assure total accuracy. I’m willing to concede that no one could have anticipated that in terms of costs/benefits, al Qaeda’s strike was the cheapest per dollar military operation in recent history. Give credit where credit is due.

The Administration only wanted a casus belli. A little one would have done, the equivalent of the slap of a glove across the President’s face. A Piper Cub of an attack on an abandoned outhouse would have done as well, or perhaps one aged Southwest Airlines DC-3, ready for the junkyard anyway, not four gleaming jetliners be they 727, 737, or (perish the thought), 747. Not even the cleverest technocrats probably could not anticipate how extremely successful al Qaeda would be on Sept. 11, 2001, but they looked forward, This I Believe, to having a legitimate casus belli for the war they had already plotted in great detail. It was as valid as Pearl Harbor, convincing even self-proclaimed Quakers like Scott Simon of N.P.R. that anyone who opposed Bush’s bombing campaign was insane. (Actual quote from Wall Street Journal opinion piece.)

That’s just one example, not too amusing. When Ms. Rice of the glib tongue testified to Congress (with bold face) that the document clearly labeled as a warning that Al Qaeda was determined to attack with airliners she termed the report merely historic, thus not of importance in regard to the future, i.e., nothing prophetic or minatory. Besides, she could not imagine that Osama would mean targets WITHIN the U.S., for she was not a connector of dots type of gal. In using the term historic could it be that she already took it for granted in her mind that the attack was a retrospective matter, of little import? That’s the sort of hypothesis you might field to others at the Connecting the Dots gaming table, and you would more likely be accurate in your insights than would those who think Ms. Rice was trying to be truthful, a most difficult and unfamiliar task for her. I’m not suggesting that you’ll always be right when you connect the dots, but you’ll probably beat the odds compared to those offered by cops who are told by red light runners that

they thought the red light was green.

Sometimes Connecting the Dots can be amusing. When I recently read the headline “Two President Bushes Would Like To See Third One” and recognized this as a typical flag sent up the flagpole to see if anyone would salute it, I saw clearly what might well come to pass in 2008, for I connected that dot with another dot in the news a few days earlier. It seems that the machines that some of us think were used to rig the elections of 2000 and 2004 are still available for similar use in 2008. The Republican Congress that (This I Believe) found them so useful in getting themselves installed in office have no intention whatsoever of making them as foolproof as credit card machines at a gas pump, offering you a paper trail record of your donation to an oil company whether you want it or not.

In sum, This I Believe: that what most people call Paranoia is Perception, Unwelcome, Ever Unpopular, Regarded as Dangerous by any politician in power. But why would multiple government bureaucrats charged with national security act to assure that clear warnings were evaded and ignored? And why wouldn’t a government fix voting machines that have been proven to be easily reprogrammed to the advantage of the party in power? And why wouldn’t a dictator want power to pass to a brother?

This I believe: that you should consider this. Do you know that thousands of people who object to Connecting the Dots have not even figured out that the same people who own the car companies also own the oil companies and that there is therefore a conflict of interest involved in every decision they make, assuring that we’ll never have efficient engines so long as lobbyists can buy the laws? That’s pretty dumb, but This I Believe:

it happens to be the case.