Friday, 13 September 2002 By Correspondent
Agenda Interrupted? Hardly.
The conventional wisdom is set, and most pols and pundits agree: 9/11 changed everything. But did it really?

Hijackers armed with boxcutters attacked the nation's financial and military headquarters, so the White House increased funding for missile defense.

We were told it was a time for sacrifice. We were told to go shopping. The attack was launched by a gang of thugs operating out of many countries, including our own. So we invaded Afghanistan.

According to President Bush, the terrorists hate our "love of freedom." But now, the president can declare any American an "enemy combatant" and detain them indefinitely without charges, counsel, or contact with anyone. Maybe he thinks the attackers will stop if we no longer have our Constitutionally protected freedoms.

The CIA and the FBI both failed miserably to protect the American people, so they got enormous budget increases. Meanwhile, if our schoolchildren get failing test scores, we slash their school's budget.

We know about the CIA and FBI failures thanks to employees who courageously blew the whistle. So, the White House and Congress made sure the new Homeland Security Agency excludes whistleblower protections.

America had been acting unilaterally in the world, causing rifts with our allies. Then we asked them to help fight our War on Terror. Maybe they'll forgive us for abandoning the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, rejecting the International Criminal Court, trashing multinational environmental agreements, and withholding our UN dues. Maybe now they won't mind if we ignore their objections and go to war against Iraq.

Americans have a lot on their mind, but the President isn't worried -- he still gets a month off every summer to relax.

Agenda interrupted? Hardly.

Kenneth R. Olson - Portland, Oregon
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