The Airing of Grievances
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
It Ain't Me Babe
On the reemergence of terrorist threats in the headlines, in the words of Tom Ridge, "there's no specific information telling us the form of the attack, when it will occur, where it will occur." There are also no plans to raise the terror alert level. "There is absolutely nothing specific enough that rises to the level where we would presently today, as we speak, make the recommendation to the president to raise the threat level. Today.", according to Ridge. Intelligence suggests that Al Qaeda members may already be in the United States, plotting attacks to occur on our soil. Events and/or targets described as potentially attractive to terrorists include the World War II memorial dedication, the Memorial Day weekend in general, the party conventions later this summer, and the Olympics.
So, to recap, we don't know any details, the potential perpetrators, which are part of a loose terrorist organization that we already know has or had cells in the US (see Lackawanna Five), might be in the US, and they might be targeting events that have already been long discussed as targets for terrorists, the very occurence of which will probably see us raise our national alert level anyway. This warrants a news conference in the middle of the day, when the financial markets are watching and American Idol isn't on?
If I were a cynic, I would say this is a story of convenience to shore up President Bush's free-falling poll numbers by returning the focus to the one area in which likely voters still give him a slight edge over John Kerry, his performance in fighting terrorism. I would say that because things in Iraq are going further in the shitter by the day and that Bush can't seem to gain much traction in making the case that the economy is improving (even though, by almost all indications, it is), that this is an attempt to inject a nice dose of fear in the population in efforts to paint Bush as a strong, tough leader. I would say that we'll probably start hearing alot about how we can't let Al Qaeda influence our country's course in an election year - after all, we don't want to be like those pussies in Spain, do we? I would expect a nice 3-5 point improvement in Bush's poll numbers and a few extra points tacked on to his approval ratings, pushing the race back to a dead heat and getting rid of those pesky mid-40 ratings.
But then, I'm not a cynic.
Update: So the 2pm briefing will include lookout alerts for seven people with connections to terrorism. OK, at least we're getting some details, but it's not like this is new information:
"All seven have been named previously by government officials, and their pictures have been on the FBI's website.
"The alerts name people being sought for questioning - not necessarily suspected of plotting attacks"
"Federal law enforcement sources said there is no hard evidence indicating they are in the United States."
So, what are we supposed to do?