Perhaps you can recall the atmosphere in the country in 2002. The tragedy of 9/11 had just happened, and people were scared that other terrorist attacks might be coming along. The people sworn to protect us had somehow forgotten to do that, and the consequences were about to be shifted back to the American people.
Along came the Patriot Act and a series of surveillance requests that granted the government almost unlimited powers to informationally monitor American citizens. This was ostensibly done in the name of protecting our rights to free speech, freedom and the American Way. And to further that philosophy, Bush told us all to go out and go shopping.
That was 2002, the year the Bush administration began ramping up excuses to go blast away in Iraq. It wasn’t really a plan, as we learned later, but an excuse to use America’s military might for imperialistic reasons in the Middle East. It went badly after the bombing ended. There was no management plan. There was looting in the streets, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives.
Then American soldiers began a campaign of torture and our military rounded people up and put them on a base in Cuba, of all places. We didn’t even have trade relations with Cuba, yet we owned a prison in Guantanamo. That kind of international management is the product of the fear and anger we were sold in 2002.
And let us not forget the lies used to sell that fear and anger. American and international arms inspectors found no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet people believed it when General Colin Powell pushed out curried “facts” that were all fictionalized. But the fearmongering that sold that lie was begun in 2002. Fox News trumpeted the lies for all it was worth. The divisive, angry voice of Rush Limbaugh ruled the airwaves, and even the likes of Howard Stern jumped on board the Bomb the Muslims campaign. And Donald Trump was interviewed by Howard Stern back in 2002, and these days denies that he supported the invasion of Iraq. But this is how the conversation actually went:
“For months, Donald Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began — as an example of his great judgment on foreign policy issues. But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
Because that’s how too many people thought in 2002. No one knew what to make of the people who were lying so boldly to our faces, and with such force. So Donald Trump has simply stolen that playback and brought the fearful attitudes of all those duped by Bush and his henchmen and updated it for the election.
But it’s 2016 now, people. We should know better. We’ve learned what Dick Cheney is really like. We’ve learned how his position on Iraq from 1991 to 2002 was a complete flip-flop. The money he stood to make from invasion of Iraq overwhelmed his principles. And his principles were already based on outrageous notions that America could rule the entire world with impunity. He insisted the entire action in Iraq would take weeks and that we’d be welcomed as heroes. The fact that he presided over torture in the very same prisons where Saddam Hussein tortured Iraqi citizens just might have had something to do with the fact that everyday Iraqis refused to trust American intentions.
But in 2002, when Cheney was working behind the scenes to map all this out, pushing Bush around like a schoolyard bully and his lackey. America could not imagine that our President and Vice President could be so shallow, vicious and naive. But they were.
And some of us knew and recognized this in 2002. But we were called Bush-haters for resisting the loss of freedoms and the wars of choice. We were told we were not “patriotic” in refusing to support the insane actions of an administration clearly bent on war. We were called even worse names as well. Because it was 2002. And a lot of people were afraid to fight back against our own government when we’d already seen an attack on our own soil. That had not really happened at that scale before. And the Bushies took advantage of that.
But that was 2002, and this is 2016. And the nation can’t possibly fall for the same bad instincts conservatives have been selling for so long. Or can they?
Because the people now following Donald Trump are spouting the same brand of fear that Bush and Cheney sold back in 2002. Perhaps we’d hear it better if we all picked up our Motorola Razr phones and listened through those devices? Because it’s the exact same load of fearful crap repackaged, and badly wrapped, in the golden fleece of Donald Trump.
When his campaign makes promises to Take Back America it is really more a threat to take us back to 2002. Because you may recall that the Bush administration also sold fear on domestic policies, blocking major medical advances in stem cell research, resisting critical science about global warming, and literally extracting language from research papers and scientific data that did not fit their political opinion. This brand of politics is called Mind Control, and the authoritarian followers who were drawn to Bush ate it up like candy.
That hardly explains why some independents are drawn to Donald Trump. But again, let’s go back to 2002 and examine how the country got to be such a mess in such a short time under Bush. Recall that the 2000 election between Al Gore and Bush came down to a decision from the Supreme Court, who essentially installed Bush as President. Justice was not served, yet Gore acted with class and elected to support the President.
So Democrats were somewhat reeling from the tidal shift of the Bill Clinton years, which were by many measures prosperous and well-managed, to the Bush years when even our military could not protect the Pentagon. Think about that for a moment. For all the claims that Republicans better understood the military and knew how to protect Americans, somehow our lead military base in Washington was struck by some sort of exploding object. No one seems to be able to produce a reasonable video of an actual plane hitting the building. The best we supposedly have is a cheesy surveillance video that does not show a plane at all.
In any case, how is it that the Pentagon is such a paragon of weakness even when it was already clear that something really bad was going on in New York City? The answer is simple: According to the doctrine of 2002, nothing could touch us with Republicans in power. America was ostensibly the most powerful, well-armed nation on earth, with a Commander in Chief who could read the soul of leaders such as Russia’s Putin, just by looking him in the eye. And the Bush family had close ties with the Saudis and especially the bin Laden family. How could something like 9/11 ever happen if we had things under control?
Well, we’re being asked to believe the same load of crap from Donald Trump in 2016. He claims to be able to negotiate “deals” better than anyone on earth. He wants Mexico to pay for a wall, and has basically told the Chinese to go fuck themselves. He considers his own council the best authority on a multitude of subjects. And he appeals to independent voters because he appears to answer to no one.
That is his appeal. That The Donald answers to no one. Well, we’ve already tried that formula back in 2002. And it led to military disaster, thousands of lives lost and American soldiers killed, and an economic crash that nearly ruined America forever.
It was all so 2002. Let us hope that people come to their senses in 2016.