2.18.2004

POLITICS - Q&A

According to Fox News: Al Qaeda has cells in 50 to 60 countries.

Question: What happened to Bush's promise that he was going to go after the countries that harbor terrorists?

According to Fox News: We are shifting our focus toward the capture of Saddam.

Question: Why didn't we focus on Saddam in January 2002, not January 2004?

I ask these questions because Andrew Sullivan "fisked" John Kerry in the New Republic recently and offers this analysis:
Nowhere does Kerry say anything about the threat of Al Qaeda, or the designs of the Syrians or Iranians, or of Islamist terror-states more broadly. These real threats just don't seem to register on his radar screen. If this is the Democratic candidate's recipe to tackling the nexus of global terror, then he will be creamed in the fall. And he'll deserve to be.

OK. Well, let's fisk President Bush for a second. He completely ignored the threat of Al Qaeda, even though his administration was given a battle plan to attack Osama bin Laden in the beginning of 2001. Al Qaeda is spreading like the plague across the Middle East and Indochina, especially in Bangladesh. To date, Bush has attacked the country that has less connections to Al Qaeda than any of its neighbors, including Saudia Arabia, who are the big money men behind terror organizations. The citizens of the United States still face the threat of 'dirty' bombs, hijacked planes, bio/chem attacks, and the disruption of resource distribution (water, energy, food).

How, exactly, is Bush planning to address the 'designs of Syrians and Iranians'? We can all agree that we don't have time to wait and see if the 'Domino Democracy' Theory is going to work in the Middle East. Our little trip to pee in Saddam's sand box has only served to agitate the Islamist terror-states, and possibly helped deliver WMD (related program activities) right into the hands of these terrorists because we failed to secure possible WMD sites.

Do the real threats register on Bush's radar? That's the real question that needs to be answered regarding 9/11. The Bush Administration did not register Al Qaeda as a threat until it was too late. Period. No arguments accepted. Bush has been playing "catch-up" ever since. Bush's record as a "war president" is a study of reaction, not action.

Kerry will need to explain his position on global terrorism, and his plan to combat it. However, his record indicates that he will exhaust all other options before sending Americans to die on foreign soil. These other options include strengthening domestic security (which Bush has mostly ignored), strengthening foreign relations (which Bush has mostly ignored), and pursue the money launderers that fund terror groups (which Bush has mostly ignored).

Will the Americans endorse this approach to 'tackling the nexus of global terror'? I guess we'll find out in November, but I doubt that he will be 'creamed' as Sullivan suggests. We're beginning to see that Bush's approach to global terror and security is a combination of empty rhetoric and shockingly inadequate strategy. If this election will be settled on strength of record, Bush is the one in trouble, not John Kerry.

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