Vote for Bush or Die

by JUDD LEGUM & DAVID SIROTA

The Nation

[from the September 27, 2004 issue]

On August 11, John Kerry criticized the Bush Administration for blocking a bipartisan plan to give seniors access to lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada. With almost 80 percent of Medicare recipients supporting Kerry’s position, the Bush campaign was faced with the prospect of defending a politically unpopular position.

That same day, in an interview with the Associated Press, FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford said terrorist “cues from chatter” led him to believe Al Qaeda may try to attack Americans by contaminating imported prescription drugs. Crawford refused to provide any details to substantiate his claims.

Asked about Crawford’s comments, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security was forced to concede, “We have no specific information now about any Al Qaeda threats to our food or drug supply.” The Administration had brazenly used Americans’ justifiable fears of a future terrorist attack to parry a routine criticism of its policies.

How did it come to this?

Crawford’s comments were the latest iteration of a political strategy–hatched in the days after 9/11–that has spiraled out of control. What started as an effort to leverage early support for the President on national security issues has expanded into the politicization of our country’s safety and security infrastructure. That process has damaged the credibility of the federal government and made all Americans less secure.

Read the rest of the article…

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