Monday, August 21, 2006

Here's To Your Safety, America

After all this time you would not think we still had to to examine this, but we obviously do. As I watch the completely inept and insipid "Right" begin the campaign season by again trying to paint Democrats as soft on terrorism, I think it's time to really discuss what's going on here. As was reported by the bipartisan 9/11 commission, Al Qaeda was responsible for the World Trade Center disaster. We knew Al Qaeda was holed up with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Going into Afghanistan was the right thing to do to fight terrorism, the right thing to do to protect our nation, and was just the thing to do under the circumstances. Nevertheless, we blew it by taking our eye off the ball. We did not get Osama bin Laden. We did not eradicate Al Qaeda. We didn't even finish the job in Afghanistan. So our soldiers continue to die while Al Qaeda continues to plot. Why did we take our eye off the ball? I don't know. There are a lot of theories as to why the administration was so interested in Iraq, and all evidence points that the administration was clearly focused on Iraq prior to 9/11. We are not going to look at that now. We can save that for another day. What's relevant here is, did invading Iraq aid our fight against terrorism? The 9/11 commission didn't find a link between Al Qaeda, terrorism, and Iraq. It's inconsequential whether we believed there were weapons of mass destruction or whether there actually were any. Why? I'm going to tell you and then you'll see why this entire Iraq campaign was a smokescreen to cover ineptitude, poor intelligence and deceit. Terrorists commit terrorist acts. That's because they can and they want to. Countries don't because they cannot. What do you mean? Of course they can! Well, they can try, but the risks outweigh the benefits. They can back terrorists and supply them, which is why we need to be concerned about these things, but we get ahead of ourselves. Let us first examine why we were not at risk from Iraq. We know Saddam Hussein used to have weapons of mass destruction because he used them on his own Kurdish people. But he didn't use them on us back in 90 during operation Desert Storm. You know why? Because once a country, a place, a known quantity, uses an unacceptable means to achieve their goals they know they have unleashed a tiger. We'll nuke them back to stone knives and bear skins. That's why Saddam Hussein didn't use the weapons when he most likely had them, and most certainly why he didn't bother to keep them up like we thought he did. Now, this is just my opinion, who can really say what was in someone else's mind, but we invaded Iraq because our President's daddy was never more popular than when he was whupping Saddam Hussein. George junior wasn't having such a good run to begin his presidency since he wasn't actually elected to office but was placed there by the conservative Supreme Court. 9/11 was just devastating to the country and, naturally, to his presidency. After all, if you watched the debate between Bush and Gore leading up to the 2000 election you will see that Bush promised to be the anti-terrorism president, and dropped the ball as soon as he came to office. He knew the nature of terrorism, or at least his advisers did. It wasn't going to be so easy to wipe out Al Qaeda. But a repeat in Iraq, after they'd been emasculated by 10 years of embargo and sanctions, seemed likely, and nobody really liked Saddam Hussein anyway. Nobody trusted him, not even the Arabs since he'd already invaded Kuwait and it took the Americans to come in and throw him out. It probably looked more like a war that the president could win, and a way to regain the popularity his father had once known and to keep it going until election time. At least it would look that way to a simpleton. Now we have the mess we are in, and we have to deal with it, clean it up, and lose more of our young soldiers in the process. No, unfortunately, we can't just pull out. If we could, I'd let you know I thought we could. But don't confuse this war with the battle against terrorism. All we did was take an Iraqi people that was fractured and bitter and oppressed by a ruthless dictator and free them up to consistently commit heinous terrorist acts against our soldiers and their own people daily. Our soldiers are heroes. They risk their lives every day in order to protect us and keep us safe. We owe it to them to only have used them as a last resort, and only for a clear and present danger. We failed in that charge. All we can do to make it up to them is to figure out how to get them home safely and as quickly as possible. Any politicians irresponsible enough to do what has been done are not protecting us, but merely fueling anti-American feelings around the world . They are also misleading us as the world degrades into an even more unsafe place. Remember it was eight years between terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Don't be lulled into some false sense of security because since 9/11 we don't get attacked regularly. Terrorists don't necessarily work that way. As we have seen from the few plots we have managed to foil since that time. Don't allow politicians to convince you who is strong on terrorism. We don't really know at this point, what current politicians would be strong on terrorism. So far, all we know are those that are particularly inept, misleading, and foolhardy. The politicians that led this campaign and those that were most supportive of it, are not strong on terrorism. It's true they talk a tough game when sending your children out to die. But they don't seem to manage to send out their own children, and so many of them never managed to serve their country even though they grew up during war time. It's amazing what some politicians were able to convince a large portion of the American public. But drunk driving and avoiding the draft and combat in war time are really not virtues. When you can see the validity of the things that we have discussed here, you can begin to vote into office those politicians that will really keep the country safe. No party has cornered the market on patriotism. Regardless of what some politicians and conservative commentators would have you believe. Vote with your head and we will win this battle. But it won't be easy. The president was just reported to be gearing up for election season by attacking the Democrats and saying that anyone who advocates pulling out of Iraq doesn't understand national security issues. Admittedly, for the one or two politicians out there who are advocating pulling out immediately, that may be true. But this is not what many Democrats and others are talking about. They would like a timetable to show the American people that we don't plan on leaving their sons and daughters in the midst of this disaster for many more years to come. The administration is having trouble with this because they have no clue how to get out of Iraq, when we'll be able to get out of Iraq reasonably, or what Iraq will look like when we do. So they do what they've been doing for the last six years. They mislead, they obfuscate, they draw your attention away from the real issues. If I were them maybe I would do it to. I certainly wouldn't want to focus on the issues that I've created when I've made such a mess and clearly don't understand international policy. To quote Santayana and he has been time and time again: Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it. Maybe if the members of this administration had spent more time in Vietnam combat instead of so much time finding ways to avoid it; and thus avoid serving their country in a time of need, perhaps they would've learned enough to avoid the terrible mistakes they've made today. We'll never know, because enough people in this country felt it was okay to allow those who were too afraid, too cowardly to fight in our wars, to wage them now using our children. It's a sad state of affairs, but let the blood of those children rest squarely and equally on the shoulders of this administration who put them there and on the people who kept this administration in power. It's not a pretty thing to say, but unfortunately the truth is like that sometimes. If you can honestly say you sleep better at night because Saddam Hussein is deposed... then you obviously limit your news sources to the Fox network. Because I'll wager there are very few Iraqis who would even say that. I'd sleep better at night if Osama bin Laden were caught or killed. But we didn't finish that job. Now, if you would like to moved towards straightening out this situation, and get back to doing what is best for our country, instead of what is best for just the oil industry, then we should all vote much more conscientiously and carefully in the future. And then what? Maybe we will actually get some politicians concerned with real national security issues, like the fact that over 90% of all shipments coming into our ports go unchecked. And put more money into intelligence services, but use business quality control methods to improve intelligence gathering, and also realize that there are sources or "snitches" out there that still may get it wrong even if they don't seem to be lying to us. At the same time, hopefully these new politicians will not abuse the American people by taking away those things that make this country great, by illegally wire tapping and watching where we go on the internet. By the way, those things haven't led to anything significant, except to prove why this administration needs to be impeached. The best days for the greatest country ever to grace the face of this earth lie ahead. We have proven, as a people, that we can do anything--ANYTHING. The sooner we start cleaning up our government and making our politicians accountable, the sooner we can get back to those most pressing of national issues, such as Healthcare Reform.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

As a foreign policy hawk, i am pleased to say that some of your security thinking is quite sound.

You obviously have faith in the Dems ability to put forth a strong anti-terror stance. I do not share your faith, but await such details from Democratic thinkers.

Thus far, the Dems have been able to say only what they would NOT do, but have yet to state what they would do to defeat Islamist terrorism.

My best guess is that America will reject what they perceive as foreign policy weakness. The Dems better get cookin'...