OLD FACTS AND NEW REALITIES
October 19, 2004 - It is not surprising that the New York Post endorsed George W. Bush over Senator Kerry. It would be a shock if the newspaper had not. Nor is it surprising that its endorsement concluded by saying, “Bush, by contrast, believes in attacking the enemy on his soil, before he attacks America at home. And then finishing the job - as opposed to retreating when things look bad.” The Bush campaign’s theme since the third debate – except when they were wringing their hands over Mary Cheney - has been that President Bush will get them there before they get us here. The President still does not know who they are.
A judicious examination of the facts tells us that it simply isn’t so. Defending itself against the failure to be alert to the threat of terrorism before it was thrust in the President’s face on September 11, 2001 the Bush theme was, ‘Nobody could have thought it.” It isn’t as though no one told the President about the threat from Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He and his National Security Advisor were told repeatedly during the 8 months between his inauguration and the fall of the Twin Towers. An action plan to deal with the terrorist network was given to the Bush Administration in February, polished and massaged and was lying unread on Condi Rice’s desk on September 10th. Lots of people “thought it”, but neither the President of the United States nor his National Security Advisor were among them.
The President posted his rhetorical wanted poster for Bin Laden as though he was leading a West Texas posse and with the united support of the American people and a broad based international coalition he sent the Marines in to rout the Taliban with one tenth of the forces he would later send to Iraq only to watch as the Bin Laden gang and its Taliban protector melted away into the mountains. Three years after the wanted poster went up Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden are still alive and well and living in an undisclosed location – still directing jihad against the United States. About 140 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan during that three years, two of them since the trumpeted election last Saturday. With one tenth of the deployment in Iraq the casualties suffered are more than one tenth of those in the other war and the President points to that as a success. He says he is not “that concerned” about Bin Laden.
In the three years since September 11, 2001 we have eroded American’s civil liberties, appropriated Billions to strengthen the nation’s internal security, established the Department of Homeland Security that spends billions with little to show for it except a palette of colors in yellow, orange, and red hues; $46 Million in excess profits for Boeing; wide open ports; and a half Million dollar party in Washington to hand out executive bonuses and two year “lifetime achievement” awards.
The President and the New York Post have an interesting spin on the word “retreat”. It is hard to understand their definition. Retreat from the mismanaged war in Iraq does not involve strengthening the forces on the ground by at least 40,000 soldiers. Retreat in Iraq does not involve deployment of elite Special Forces units to effectively neutralize an out of control rebellion against an American occupation. Retreat in Iraq does not involve launching an aggressive diplomatic campaign to engage the nations of the world and the region in building a new Iraq from the ashes of the old regime. Those are the elements of the Kerry plan to win the ongoing guerilla war in Iraq; a plan for effective engagement and not a policy of retreat. It is a rational plan based upon a judicious examination of the facts and not faith in the wishful thinking of empire that gambles with American and Iraqi lives while it looks for a new reality.
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