Chertoff to America: Be vigilant — be very, very vigilant

By Debra LoGuercio

©Copyright 2007, Debra LoGuercio, all rights reserved

So, what color is a “gut feeling”? We need to know, because last week Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff predicted a major terrorist attack on the U.S. sometime this summer. The evidence for this, he said, is a “gut feeling.”

Where does that rank on the ever-so-useful color-coded DHS Advisory System? We were already at Yellow/Elevated before Chertoff’s grim prognostications, and afterwards, remained so. Maybe a “gut feeling” is somewhere between yellow and orange, say, a nice shade of apricot? Goldenrod, maybe? Let’s get our big Crayola boxes and figure it out.

Of course, the televised media breathlessly relayed Chertoff’s premonitions, but when it became apparent that Americans weren’t elbowing each other out of the way to get their hands on the last roll of duct tape and plastic sheeting, the media quickly adopted a more skeptical stance. Why? Because Americans obviously know the story, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

How many times has the Bush Administration cried wolf? Keith Olbermann has been keeping a running score on his Countdown program, correlating government-issued increased terror alerts to White House troubles. Like the Tom DeLay indictment, or a Bush staff member leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent, or the energy surrounding the 2004 Democratic convention and another just in time for the election that followed.

By Olbermann’s count, every time the Bush Administration issued a terror warning that ultimately produced exactly nothing, there was a corresponding issue that Bush & Co. needed to distract the American public from. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, or about 10 times that, shame on us. Finally, we’re starting to catch on.

Consider the cornucopia of recent topics that Bush & Co. don’t want us paying attention to: the continuing Alberto Gonzales debacle regarding the firing of federal prosecutors and Dubya’s direct orders to White House staffers Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor to ignore Congressional subpoenas on the matter; the commuting of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence, with all the appearances of being done in the interest of self-preservation and cronyism rather than justice; a congressional analysis that the Iraq War is costing $12 billion per month, coupled with the announcement that the Iraqi government has failed to meet a single benchmark for meeting its own independence; and an announcement by our own intelligence sources that al Qaeda has regrouped in strength and numbers not seen since just before 9/11. Oh yes — and how many more troops (sic) died in Iraq this week?

No wonder they want to distract us. The White House of cards is crumbling under the weight of its own corruption and incompetence. It’s therefore no surprise that Bush & Co. attempted to give us a good terror tweak, a la Michael Chertoff, last week. And the best he could come up with under short notice was a “gut feeling.” Pathetic.

Take a moment and let it sink in: Your government is manipulating you with fear so it can continue its self-serving activities undetected and undeterred. It wants you to be afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, little sheep, be very, very afraid, because a frightened flock is an obedient flock. Doesn’t this infuriate you? If not, for the love of God, how come? Wise up, little lamb! It’s not the Wolf, it’s the W you should be worried about. Little by little, he devours our Constitution and our country, and all we do is huddle in the corner and tremble.

Not everyone’s trembling, however. Today Show’s Ann Curry challenged Chertoff about his “gut feeling,” asking how it’s possible, after six years of this so-called war on terror, that al Qaeda has rebounded in full strength? Is it because we’ve been focusing on Iraq rather than the Pakistan and Afghanistan border, where al Qaeda is based? His response: “This is a war that’s going to go on for some period of time.” Huh? It was as if she’d asked, “What time is it?” and he’d said, “Flamingos”.

“Why the comment (about a gut feeling)? Why not be straight with the American people?” demanded Curry. Chertoff then declared that “Summer is the season terrorists like best” and finally admitted, “I don’t have any specific information.” Which means there was no actual reason to issue this terror alert. Unless you’re trying to create a distraction. And manipulate. And keep the flock in line.

Chertoff claimed he was only reminding Americans to be vigilant. Forget being vigilant, being very, very vigilant. It’s time to be angry. Very, very angry.