Trust the Gene Genie

Thursday, July 20, 2006

We are fighting terror, right?

I've tried to avoid it, but I'm afraid there's no longer any way around it. I have to post some politics.

It's occured to me that the Bush Administration never was fighting a war on terror. If you look at what's happened since Sept. 11, I think it's fairly obvious. Rather than go after terrorists and terror regimes, the Bush White House's no.1 priority became expanding presidential powers.

Stay with me, because I promise this will make sense. Think back to those days immediately following the terror attacks in New York and Washington. We were a nation united like it hasn't been since World War II. I mean, Democrats and Republicans alike. All of sudden, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda became national punching bags. I mean, bin Laden's face was put on toilet paper and sold at novelty stores. But in all seriousness, he's the man responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent American civilans. Civilans. People like you and me. And it seemed like everyone was united in bring this man and these poeple to justice and stopping terror once and for all.

So you'd think the thing to do, at the very least, is capture bin Laden and bring him to justice. But instead our president resolves to go to Iraq, pulls troops off the search for bin Laden and other terrorists in Afghanistan and devotes resources to a war that has no real, tenable connection to fighting terrorism. Earlier this year the CIA even dissolved it's bin Laden task force. We are officially no longer looking for bin Laden. And I'm not suggesting that capturing him ends terrorism -- I don't think anyone believes that. But he should at least be held responsible for the attacks on our country. We as Americans, and certainly those families, deserve it.

But somehow, Iraq became the national priority and we trumpet the capture of Saddam Hussien, a man who had nothing to do with 9/11 and nothing to do with terrorism. We give up the fight against terrorism and instead invaded Iraq, spending billions of dollars that could and, really, should be used to secure our ports, our railways, our border crossings and our national landmarks here at home. Those aren't the actions of an administration serious about fighting terror.

Probably the most glaring example of that is the fact that were in Iraq. Because you have to think about terror on a more basic level -- like why were we attacked in the first place and what needs to happen to improve our image with Muslims around the world. Going to Iraq has, in effect, played right into bin Laden's hands. Everything he ever preached about America to his followers is now essentially true. Look at the serious mistakes some of our soldiers have made (like Abu Ghraib), look at the unrest and flat-out security issues for the common people in Iraq. And all of sudden you have Muslims thinking maybe the crazy guys like bin Laden are right. Because before 9/11 bin Laden and al Qaeda were still extremists in the Middle East who enjoyed very little popular support. The Bush Administration's handling of the "War of Terror" since 9/11 has effectively reversed that. More and more Muslims sympathize with men like bin Laden, men who are preaching that America is dangerous and America wants to destroy Islam. And as a result, rather than "taking the fight to the terrorist" we're simply creating more terrorists every day. And Iraq has become the place where al Qaeda can very, very effectively train them. (Most of these conclusions were released a couple weeks ago in Foriegn Policy Magazine -- about as serious and reputable a publication on international afairs as there is). The point is, if the Bush Administration were set on fighting terror, they've done it in about as wrongheaded a way as you can do it.

But what makes me mad is how this administration has dragged America's image through the mud. Think of what we did in WWII and how afterwards we truly were the world's shining beacon of freedom. I don't think anyone outside the Republican party thinks of the country that anymore. Inside or outside the United States. Our human rights abuses in Iraq and at Guantanamo on an international stage, the disolve of personal privacy and other civil liberties here at home, we're not the great country we used to be. Because the current admisnitration is more interested in expanding its powers than keeping its people safe and being an example of freedom and tolerance to the rest of the world. What was it Bruce Wayne told Ducard? It's important we hold onto our compassion because that's what makes us different from our enemies? Something like that.

Anyway, I could go on. And on and on, probably. So I'll stop now. And it'll be back to fun, frivolity and lists next week at the Rob Report. I swear.

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