Close on the heels of President Bush's statement last week naming Ireland as the newest member of the "Axis of Evil", and mounting evidence of Ireland's links to the 9/11 attacks, several prominent White House officials now allege that several Irish entertainers have been secretly collaborating with members of Al Qaeda and other global terrorist networks for years. The list of suspected covert operatives includes Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2, self-proclaimed "Lord of the Dance" Micheal Flatley and New Age songstress Enya.
At last Monday's daily White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow set the general theme of the administration's charges. "For years, these so-called celebrities have effectively used their art as the perfect cover for their global activities in the service of international terror. They have traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and other countries, using their status to gain access to world leaders, gather intelligence and spread anti-Western sentiments among the masses through their art."
Later that night, during a special interview on FoxNews Channel, Vice President Dick Cheney went further, describing the Irish artists' activities as part of a larger cultural attack on America. Mr. Cheney specifically highlighted Bono's campaign against global poverty as ""an insidious masquerade", and the title of U2's most recent album, How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, a "classic case of misdirection." He also labeled the singer's appeals for Third World debt relief as "blatantly anti-American, anti-Western, anti-democratic hate speech straight from the playbook of Osama Bin Laden."
Shortly after President Bush's announcement, the CIA issued a report summarizing analysis of several of the Irish entertainers' works by several intelligence agencies. In an excerpt concerning Enya's greatest hits album, Paint the Sky with Stars, the report's authors conclude, "The ethereal warbling of Enya is clearly intended to produce a hypnotic, sedative effect intended to sap the will of Americans to defend their country from future attacks, and therefore greatly complements the anti-Western efforts of Al Qaeda."
The revelation of Irish links to the attacks of September 11, 2001 has created a groundswell of support within the Bush Administration for U.S. military action against the Emerald Isle. The White House has confirmed that Secretary of State Condolezza Rice is preparing a presentation detailing the case for war for the United Nations General Assembly early next week, including a multimedia portion featuring movie and song clips to bolster the charges against the Irish artists.
On Monday, Snow compared the new evidence Rice is expected to present to the now widely discredited proof of Iraqi WMDs presented by former Secretary of State Colin Powell in February 2003 in the run-up to the war against Iraq, saying, "Forget what happened with Powell we now have 100 percent credible proof of an imminent threat. This is a sure thing."
U.S. Congressional leaders are already proposing several pieces of legislation seen by some observers as setting the stage for invasion. Senator Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) is pushing to officially rename all Irish-themed products sold in the U.S., including "Irish Spring" soap (to now be called "Freedom Spring"), while other Republican lawmakers have drafted up a bill to have Irish-American Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) stripped of his citizenship and deported. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has outlined a proposal to have all Irish music - including singer Van Morrison's popular hit "Brown-Eyed Girl"- be removed from all karaoke songbooks and libraries nationwide.
Several political commentators are going further, calling a total boycott of all Irish-related companies, goods, and brands, including fast-food giant McDonald's, popular Irish-themed kids' cereal Lucky Charms, and that incomparable Irish staple, Guinness beer.
During his evening broadcast last night on FoxNews Channel, conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly-himself an Irish-American- discussed newly declassified information substantiating the presence of mind-control chemicals in several Irish-related products. He also cited the very success of some Irish artists - particularly Flatley-as proof of a "dark and devious conspiracy meant to "weaken American resolve to fight and win the War on Terror". After a short video clip of the high-stepper in action, O'Reilly bellowed, "Who's kidding who? Lord of the Dance my ass."