Thursday, June 19, 2008

"The most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is one of things I like most about Obama (and why I think he's such a strong presidential candidate): He doesn't take any shit and he fights back, refusing to let the GOP smear machine define him. McCain and that smear machine are trying to portray him as soft on terrorism -- what else is new? that's become their standard smear against Democrats, dating all the way back to the 2002 midterm elections -- but his
response today, in an address on "Detainees and Afghanistan," was masterful, putting his pathetic accusers in their rightful place as the architects and proponents of disastrous policies in response to the terrorist threat:

Now in their attempt to distort my position, Senator McCain's campaign has said I want to pursue a law enforcement approach to terrorism. This is demonstrably false, since I have laid out a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy that includes military force, intelligence operations, financial sanctions and diplomatic action. But the fact that I want to abide by the United States Constitution, they say, shows that I have a "pre-9/11 mindset."

Well I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.

The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors – the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we'd be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.

Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership – the people who murdered 3000 Americans – have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That's the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism.

Yes, by all means, let's talk about 9/11, and the so-called war on terror, and the quagmire that is the Iraq War and Occupation. Let's talk about Bush's and McCain's and the Republicans' record on national security. Have they succeeded in making the country safer or in defeating the terrorist threat? Hardly.

But if they want to have that debate, and if they want the November election to be about that, Obama is more than up to the challenge. And he won't let them get away with their stupid fucking bullshit.

As Greg Sargent
puts it: "Only two years ago, some Dems were still saying, 'please, please, PLEASE, let's NOT talk about 9/11.' Now Obama is inviting an argument about it -- and more important, he's saying it's an argument he will win. That's the key here."

Yes, it is.

And he will.

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