So what do you think George W. Bush and his colleagues have in mind for us down the road, perhaps a short way down the road?
Gen. Tommy Franks, recently retired from his post as top military commander in Iraq, offers a possible and frightening scenario.
Franks said recently in an interview, with of all publications a mens magazine, Cigar Affectionado, that if there should be another attack on this country that results in large casualties, we can expect to see a military dictatorship put in place.
Guess who the dictator would be.
Franks said if terrorists (or others) were successful in using a weapon of mass destruction against this country or one of our allies, it would have disastrous results for our form of government.
The retired general said the worst thing that could happen is if terrorists acquired and then used a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon that causes heavy casualties.
Such an event, Franks said, would mean …the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty weve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.
The report of his remarks, carried on NewsMax.com, said Franks is the first high-ranking official to publicly speculate that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government.
The framework for such a move is nearly all in place. Witness the continuing effort to expand the powers of the Patriot Act.
Cynics and Bush-haters argue, as Dubyas approval rating slips, the scenario becomes more appealing to imperial backers of The New American Century. Some of Bushs detractors say if you were in his shoes, with your back to the wall and determined to retain power, would you not consider a WMD terror attack to solve your problem?
The public would never know who was behind it. They would be too frightened to ask questions. Hopefully, Bushs character would never allow this.
Adding some impetus to the horror script is the worsening situation in Iraq. A recent report by the CIA indicates we are in danger of losing the whole enchilada.
The surreal aspects of life in this world today came into momentary focus with Bushs visit to Britain. The Mirror, a British newspaper, reported the president spoke of more wars to come. Duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men, the president proclaimed.
At the same time he was telling this to Tony Blairs non-fan club, Bushs administration was scrambling for an exit plan from Iraq.
William Lind, writing in The Washington Dispatch, observed: It is increasingly evident that the U.S. Army commanders in Iraq know nothing about guerrilla warfare. Over and over, they are ordering actions that are counterproductive.
As examples, Lind cited the sealing off of Auja, Saddams home village. We slapped up barbed wire and make the residents show identification cards to go in or out of the village.
Lind asks the question: who do we look like on Arab television? His answer: Israelis in the West Bank.
Another tactic our military is employing is to use bulldozers to level Iraqi date palm groves and olive orchards to punish farmers who dont give information about guerrillas. Lind asks: why not just start flying the Israeli flag?
The third move we are making is to get tougher against insurgents. We have launched Operation Iron Hammer, which involves dropping very large bombs and using heavy artillery on targets in Baghdad.
This is a good way to say desperation to our opponents and to drive more Iraqis to their side. Good move, guys. Now the insurgents have backed off military targets and are going for soft targets, U.N. personnel, Europeans, and contractors rebuilding Iraq.
Bush, however, prefers to live in fantasyland rather than in reality. Beyond Europe, he told the British, where oppression and violence are very real, liberation is still a moral goal. He said the U.S. would never give in to thugs and assassins.
The president cannot bring himself to admit that the opposition in Iraq is the Iraqi peopleit is not just remnants of the Baathist party or Saddams remaining followers or foreign terroristsit is the people of Iraq who would like to be liberated from us.
Lets hope and pray that there is an election in 2004 and not an announcement of the first American Caesar.