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Bush and a Knowledgeable Public

exposing our weaknesses

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, July 05, 2006.

In a new book*, Bush is described by former Wall St. Journal reporter, Ron Suskind, as follows: "…very good at some things that presidents are prized for, and startlingly deficient in others. No one in his innermost circle trusts that these imbalances would be well received by a knowledgeable public, especially at a time of crisis.” Yet, seemingly unaware, he displays them, time after time, not only in front of his electorate, which is in denial, but the world. This, to our peril.

North Korea, the supposedly communist principality with a de facto royal family and the GNP of the Boulder Farmer’s Market, was so frightened by the saber rattling of our President, Secretary of State, Japan, and China, that the Hermit Kingdom did not test fire the intercontinental missile it had threatened to, and which everyone warned them against. Instead, it fired about six, maybe ten, and the one that we supposedly fear, the Taipodong II, blew up about 30 seconds into flight. Well, maybe a minute into the flight. Who's counting?

The Bushies let fly a put down. “The Taepodong obviously was a failure— that tells you something about [North Korea's] capabilities," said National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. This is a fascinating quote from every point of view, primarily because some media didn’t use Mr. Hadley’s name, but inserted “senior administration official.” Why, for example, would such a quote need to be anonymous? Second, is it accurate? And third, if their capabilities are so low, why were the Bushies, led by our Tasmanian Devil of a UN Ambassador John Bolton, making such a big deal out of it? And this to the extent of readying our own anti-missile system, a fiasco which to date has successfully hit an immobile but cleverly camouflaged barn nearly three hundred yards away. Thus encouraged, our experts and Vice President think a few adjustments will allow this hammer of the gods to hit something the size of a Labrador Retriever surrounded by decoys on five seconds notice twenty five thousand miles away and traveling beyond the speed of sound. I’d rely on Cheney and his shotgun with more faith.

Our Kabillion dollar defense complex told us that the North Korean missile, which requires prolonged liquid fueling, wasn’t ready to go because it had not been fueled, this according to our high tech satellites, the ones that can read your Treo phone over your shoulder. Then it suddenly had been fueled. Then, they were pretty sure. Then a cautionary admonition that there could be other launch sites. Then, silence.

Then a bunch of missiles launched on the Fourth of July. The Chief of staff of the Russian Army is quoted as saying: "According to various data, 10 missiles were launched. Some say that these were missiles of various classes; however, some claim that all missiles were intercontinental." China and Japan say six missiles, of which only one was intercontinental, and five the nearly useless, ancient, and imprecise Scuds of Iraq fame. But now we hear there was a seventh fired, and as of this writing, that’s the story of our own defense experts. Let’s see if they stick to it.

If Americans snigger, they shouldn’t. We don’t know and cannot tell if the missiles were launched or not. Neither can our allies or former enemies. This not only exposes the decrepitude of the North Korean military but the bombast and incompetencies of our own. During the Cold War, the planet shuddered at all the missiles aimed across the North Pole, and listened with rapt attention as experts on nuclear war, so called, talked about the amazing accuracy of the ICBM’s delivery systems. But when the US wanted to fine-tune its ICBM’s, it scheduled a test in the 1960’s, where four missiles would be fired from the silos that would be used during the real thing. Three of the four failed to show any signs of life at all and the fourth blew up right after liftoff. NOW, when we test missiles, we choose one and allow armies of technicians to tend and nurture it before a single test laterally into the Pacific. Nobody has ever fired a missile over the pole, with its annoying and unpredictable gravitational and radiation variables upon which accuracy depends. For all the talk about the reliability of anti-missile Star Wars, we don’t actually know if our offensive part of the scenario would work at all, either.

And given our inability, despite warning and public bombast, to count the number of launched missiles by a nation of rotting cabbage and little else, it doesn’t seem like things are a whole lot better today. Yet again, Bush has exposed our problems to no advantage in his efforts to sound personally tough.

*The One Percent Doctrine