Wednesday, November 17, 2004


The news today is scarier than it was Sept. 12, 2001, when at least the enemy wasn’t us. Today my eyes dart around the front of The New York Times looking for relief, finally finding a relatively harmless story about a new medical technology.

The rest is terrifying:

“The Americans raced Tuesday to contain a spreading insurgency” in Iraq, which we attacked because of faulty intelligence and a lack of proper debate. In fact, when the information we were getting didn’t build a strong enough case for attacking, the Bush administration set up its own office to correct the problem.

Yet in a nearby story the new, Bush-appointed chief of the Central Intelligence Agency is clearing out senior staff and advising his employees via memo that they are to “support the administration and its policies in our work ... As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies.”

And, back at the top of the page, “New Bush Cabinet Seen as Move For More Harmony and Control,” meaning the president doesn’t want an attorney general that goes too far or a secretary of state that doesn’t go far enough. He wants only support, consistent with his pride in not reading the news, insistence on keeping protesters so far away he cannot see or hear the protest and assumption of a mandate based on a bare majority of the country’s voters.

At the bottom is a story from Spring, Texas, where a school district that has never had a kidnapping has put in place an electronic watchdog system intended to keep its students from getting kidnapped. The kids carry electronic radio frequency identification tags that keep track of where they are. It doesn’t work very well yet, but that doesn’t keep “advocates of the technology [from seeing] broader possibilities, such as implanting RFID tags under the skin of children to avoid problems with lost or forgotten tags.” Right.

This is where we’re headed: War no matter what. Dissent isn’t welcome. And we’re watching you.

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