Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The denial of a president

By Michael J.W. Stickings

And so, there's this:

The war in Iraq has become a “cause célèbre” for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better, federal intelligence analysts conclude in a report at odds with President Bush’s contention of a world growing safer.

In the bleak report, declassified and released Tuesday on Bush’s orders, the nation’s most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.

Bush and his top advisers have said the formerly classified assessment of global terrorism supported their arguments that the world is safer because of the war. But more than three pages of stark judgments warning about the spread of terrorism contrasted with the administration’s glass-half-full declarations.

Bush's response? Predictable. It was all denial. Even against the assertion by Pakistani President (and yesterday's Daily Show guest) Pervez Musharraf that the Iraq War has "made the world a more dangerous place," Bush continues to deny what many have been arguing for a long time, that is, that the war has not only become a quagmire, with Iraq teetering on the brink of all-out chaos, that it has not only drawn attention and resources away from the real war on jihadist terrorism being fought elsewhere, and particularly in Afghanistan, but that it has in fact made the situation much worse that it would otherwise have been.

The Iraq War -- Bush's war -- has weakened America and strengthened her enemies. To be more direct, Bush has weakened America and strengthened her enemies. Bush, the architects of the war, and their allies and apologists, including the rubber-stamping Republicans in Congress, have in their zeal to wage war in Iraq harmed America. Bush and the Republicans would have us (and you voters) believe that they are far more trustworthy with respect to national security, to America's interests at home and abroad, than the Democrats. That's what Bush said in '04 and it's what the Republicans are saying now heading into November.

But do you believe them? This NIE report -- which may or may not just be a matter of "selective declassification," as Senators Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin allege -- exposes these charlatans for what they are. They cannot -- they must not -- be entrusted with America's national security any longer. It is simply too dangerous to let them remain in power. The ongoing debacle in Iraq proves just how truly incompetent -- and truly what a threat to their own country -- they really are.

If jihadist terrorism and its threat to America's national security is a concern to you, vote Democratic. The alternative has been an unmitigated disaster.

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  • And it doesn't look like he's about to acquire one either. It's one thing to make the case that going to war with Iraq was a good move, whether because Saddam may have had WMDs or because he may have had links to jihadists or because he was a brutal tyrant or because the entire Middle East is better off without him. (I don't make that case, but I suppose one still could.) But to claim, against all the evidence, against the conclusions of the intelligence community, that the war has weakened the terrorists and that the world is safer now is simply lunacy. It shows just how enmeshed these people are in a web of fantasy of their own making, how they got it wrong and continue to get it wrong to the severe detriment of U.S. interests everywhere.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 9:36 AM  

  • The problem, as I view it, is that virtually all the actions of this President in the region are fomenting instability and hostility that may soon reach a point of no return. Even worse, the efforts of this administration are failing to create a wedge between extremist leaders and their populations. On the contrary, the language used by this administration, coupled with the perception that the U.S. is engaged in unwarranted and ideological aggression, has served to push otherwise moderate populations into alignment with radical governments and extremist organizations.

    As I attempt to grasp the magnitude of allowing this President unfettered authority between now and the end of his second term, I can't help but wonder what it would take to dissuade a man with his level of certainty and conviction from undertaking the actions that will facilitate the ideations he seems convinced have been presented to him through a mix of fate and faith.

    History may well record this chapter as a period of unparalleled extremism. Worse yet, the United States may well be viewed as the primary force in facilitating that eventuality. George Bush, when asked about his legacy, seems content to respond that while he can't predict the future he believes his actions will prove to be pivotal. He may well be correct but, in this instance, I would suggest he recall the expression, "Be careful what you wish for".

    Read more here:

    By Blogger Daniel DiRito, at 1:00 PM  

  • I saw something on that, too, Bill. Scary stuff.

    Excellent comment, Daniel.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:49 PM  

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