Friday, February 24, 2006


Bush's incompetence threatens the nation

Anybody catch Michael Hirsh’s Newsweek column on Wednesday? Amazing stuff. Some excerpts (emphasis mine):
It is...sad to remember the support that once existed for the United States, then at the pinnacle of its power and prestige. On 9/10/01 America had adversaries, but mainly on the fringes. The invasion of Afghanistan brought barely a peep from the Arab street. No one had much use for Al Qaeda, even in the Islamic world. Global polls like those taken by Pew and the German Marshall Fund showed a remarkable degree of global consensus in favor of a one-superpower (in other words, American-dominated) world. The silver lining of 9/11 was a chance to reaffirm the legitimacy of America's role as trusted overseer of the international system. That is why Bush had so much support when he ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan, who were clearly harboring bin Laden, and so little backing when he shifted attention to Saddam, whose connection to bin Laden was plainly manufactured. The post-9/11 period was a fantastic opportunity for alliance- and institution-building. All that was required was American leadership. How then did we arrive at this day, with anti-American Islamist governments rising in the Mideast, bin Laden sneering at us, Qaeda lieutenants escaping from prison, Iran brazenly enriching uranium, and America as hated and mistrusted as it ever has been? The answer, in a word, is incompetence. We now have testimony from enough Republicans and Bush loyalists—from former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill to former CIA senior director Paul Pillar — that the administration knew all along how flimsy its WMD case against Iraq was. We also now know, from Berntsen and others, that the administration knew then how solid the intel on bin Laden's and Zawahiri's whereabouts was. So catastrophic was Bush's decision to shift his attention and resources to Iraq, when bin Laden was panting at Tora Bora, that one is tempted to rank it with Adolf Hitler's decision to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941, at a time when Great Britain was prostrate and America was still out of the war (a decision that almost certainly cost Hitler the war then and there). Yes, Iraq may some day become a legitimate democracy. But for now it is mainly a jihadi factory, cranking out new generations of hardened bomb-ready Islamists, as we have seen with the cross-pollination that has brought Iraqi-style suicide bombs back to Afghanistan. Bush of course has been lucky in his adversaries as well—not bin Laden, but the Democrats (not to mention many a media pundit). To this day they seem afraid to make the case that the great war presidency has been a disastrous war presidency, in large part because of the fraudulent Iraq invasion.... [snip] So, yes, bin Laden and Zawahiri have been fortunate in their enemies. Had the Bush administration been more competent, these two would have long since been bloody pulp, perhaps largely forgotten. Luckily for the rest of us, the Al Qaeda revolutionary program is so abhorrent that most of the world still has no choice but to stick with us, through thick and thin—and dumb and dumber. How long we can test the world’s patience is another matter. Alan Cullison’s 2004 article based on Zawahiri’s private thoughts is again instructive here. "Al Qaeda understood that its attacks would not lead to a quick collapse of the great powers,” he wrote. “Rather, its aim was to tempt the powers to strike back in a way that would create sympathy for the terrorists. ... One wonders if the United States is indeed playing the role written for it on the computer." What I wonder is, how many more years will we have to wait for Rumsfeld to figure that one out?
Hirsh is absolutely correct. Utter incompetence by the Bush administration has endangered our security, enmired us in a unwinnable war, allowed bin Laden to go free, and restricted our democratic influence across the globe. I'll go further. Bush's quixotic tilting at terror windmills has only endangered our civil liberties and now pits neighbor against neighbor across the country. His fiscal policies have bankrupted the nation. His judicial appointments have assured that religious fundamentalism predominate our society for a generation to come. His policies are handicapping the country's ability to adapt and embrace the technological and cultural changes that are beginning to sweep the globe. Until Katrina, Bush got a free pass from the traditional press. Well, now he's being held accountible. This recent debate about the sale of port terminals to the UAE, as minor an issue as it is compared to NSA wiretapping or the manufacturing of intelligence to start a war, seems to be doing him in. Good riddance.
I really like that you guys are here. In the meantime, would you read this and shout it out if you think it is as important as I do:

I've been trying to communicate that theme all day, even before I saw that, but I think we need to communicate the gravity of the situation to our neighbors and others who could snap out of their Cheney comas and start helping us reclaim our country before it's too late.
Excellent link, granny! I'm sorry I didn't see it until today! It looks like it made some other blogs, so I'll let it pass for now.

I do plan on posting something thoughtful about the precarious state of the American economy. Something tells me in 25 years Americans will be working for 3 cents an hour stitching together shirts for Bejing consumers...
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