Bush's September Surprise

In the summer of 2001, George W., had squeaked into an election. He squared off against China over a downed spy plane and it seemed like he was heading for a new Cold War. Past that, this hapless former cokehead and conman was on his way to inherit Gerald Ford's role as unelected, loser Republican president. Then came September 11th.

Theories abound about the real origins of the September 11th plot. It was theorized that it cost $1 million. That's chump change. That the staple-and-paper-clip budget for CIA. It would be very easy for an large organization to hide it. More than that, it would be easy for the same network that funded Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan to direct him to carry out this work. That network was the CIA. Regardless who greased the wheels, it's clear that Bush and his masters capitalized on 9/11. It felt like Bush neglected his role president for as long as he could as he could get away with it and the made up for it, like an alcoholic who goes on the wagon. A nine month binge followed by the War On Terror. I had a concern that this wasn't a one-off. It was a game plan. Get into office, arrange the desk, have a few friends over, go for a long vacation and then command a nation in a time of manufactured crisis. Over the last few years, I came to call this "Bush's September Surprise."

September 2005. The opportunistic Bush Administration did little to prepare for Hurricane Katrina. Conodoleeza Rice was shoe-shopping. Bush was wrapping up his long vacation. He took as much time off this year as Franklin D. Roosevelt took off during FDR's whole time in office. On the weekend, they could have sent down buses filled with troops and left with poor citizens and sheltered them in other states. No, instead the highways north were packed with SUVS, cars and white people.

Soil erosion, global warming and bad luck brought Katrina down like a hammer. Poor people loot. America loves guns. So many stores have guns that the looters can find guns with great ease. Now you have armed looters. Looters can tap on a car window and escape to neighbouring states. The U.S. is not a large country. You can cross it in four days. From Louisiana, you can travel by car to most spots in less than three days. Katrina hit five days ago. Armed gumen who don't want to end up in Guardsmen crosshairs can escape the region and shoot up truck stops in Iowa, Colorado, Idaho, Ohio. They can fence their stolen goods and get hard cash. An onslaught of chaos can spread through the South. The situation will spiral out of control.

There are calls for action everywhere. People want the troops out of Iraq. So many more people want Bush to act on the aftermath. The problem is manpower. To get this done right and done fast, Bush will have to recall National Guardsmen from Iraq to enforce a temporary state of Martial Law down there, thus pulling the US out of Iraq to the glee of many. As long as people are safe they won't care about the details. Troops will quell issues in the South. When looters with Louisiana plates start showing up in other parts of the country, the troops will have to be deployed to assist local law enforcement. Unfortuately, poor people and activists look alike. Detaining the unsavory elements in the fall of 2007 will stymie people who oppose Bush and the neo-cons. Yes, that's three years in the future. That's a long time. But then, the War On Terror started four years ago and its still going strong.

Who does this help? A spike in crude oil prices takes six weeks to end up at the pump. With that said, pump prices spiked this week at the same time crude oil prices fell. This is good news for the people for whom a price spike means lots of extra cash. With gas prices through the roof, Bush's Oil friends can be happy. Iraq can do what it wants as long as it starts producing oil again. If the Americans aren't there, they can get on with installing who ever they choose as long as Iraq's new boss gets out the oil. With Iraq and Saudi Arabia pumping out oil, OPEC is stronger and wealthier. By pulling off this trick in September, it hits people when they need oil the most: in the Fall. In the Fall, you don't bicycle to work. You need to heat your home. You need to truck Christmas presents to the WalMart loading dock. With Santa in jeopardy, you don't question oil prices.

If Venezuala closes the taps while all of these soldiers are perched on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico, a few US citizens will be harmed by Chavez's military and Bush will have to invade to save American lives and neutralize an Al Qaeda conspirator in the Southern hemisphere. The saber rattling towards Venezuela looks alot like the saber rattling vs. Aghanistan in 1999 to 2001. A disaster would haven't allowed Bush to position troops in the South. But, a disaster that brought a rush of chaos, does allow a military force to be ready, armed and one plane ride away from Hugo Chavez and all that precious oil.

What does it take to deliver Bush's September Surprise? All it took was a little bit of atmospheric bad luck; and some short sightedness in infrastructure funding. Besides, the power base of his electorate, may actually agree with his actions-- or inaction.

Good managers solve problems. Bad managers manage and nuture problems.


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