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nothing to fear but the fearmakers

The New York Police Department, working with city health officials, federal authorities and other agencies, has been preparing for a possible attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, perhaps the most daunting threat facing municipalities in a post-9/11 world. A post-9/11 world. The world is a different place since then, despite the protestations of those who would have you believe that any fear, any preparation for disaster, any rumblings of threats and flight cancellations are just figments of the president's imagination; dreams and scenarios thought up by men in dark suits in enclosed rooms whose job it is to scare Americans into submission. And while the post 9/11 world is different, it's only because the fear is different. There has always been a certain climate of fear that hovered over America. The big, bad wolf lurked everywhere and we were all afraid of him, to answer the nursery rhyme question. The wolf was Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, air raid drills. The Russians were the biggest wolves of all and every person who didn't pledge to the flag with fervor was a potential commie and spy. The wolf was evident in the fear of a push-button war; one push of some glowing red button in a world leader's office and planet earth would be nothing but a huge mushroom cloud. We tiptoed around other countries. We lived in a world where we were walking down a dark alley at night and the only thing we could see was the shadow of the wolf, long and sinister.
Fear is nothing new. It's the type of fear that's new. Where we used to be afraid of missiles and bombs, we are now afraid of invisible agents of destruction; lethal doses of gasses or diseases spread into our air. We are afraid of white powders and radiation. We are afraid of "martyrs" dressed in explosives. New decade, new fears. Fear was not invented by the Bush administration, as much as Al Gore would like you to believe that. Gore gave a speech recently about fear and all but claimed that Bush invented the word and meaning on September 12, 2001. I found the link to Gore's speech via Jeff Jarvis, and I am going to quote the same passage Jeff did:
We are meeting, moreover, in a city that has itself been forced to learn how to conquer terror. And because we are gathered very close to ground zero, we should of course begin our deliberations with a moment of respect and remembrance for those who died on 9/11 and for those who have been bereaved. Terrorism, after all, is the ultimate misuse of fear for political ends. Indeed, its specific goal is to distort the political reality of a nation by creating fear in the general population that is hugely disproportionate to the actual danger the terrorists are capable of posing. That is one of the reasons it was so troubling last week when the widely respected arms expert David Kay concluded a lengthy and extensive investigation in Iraq for the Bush administration with these words: "We were all wrong." The real meaning of Kay's devastating verdict is that for more than two years, President Bush and his administration have been distorting America's political reality by force-feeding the American people a grossly exaggerated fear of Iraq that was hugely disproportionate to the actual danger posed by Iraq. How could that happen? Could it possibly have been intentional?
Let's put aside for the moment that I don't think the danger posed by Iraq was exaggerated at all. Let's revisit the sentences a few paragraphs above that: Terrorism, after all, is the ultimate misuse of fear for political ends. Indeed, its specific goal is to distort the political reality of a nation by creating fear in the general population that is hugely disproportionate to the actual danger the terrorists are capable of posing. So, the terrorists are not capable of blowing up buildings and killing thousands of innocent people in one swoop? They're not capable of flying planes into government buildings? Disproportionate? They already did those things! How could he say they are not capable of them when they already happened? Pardon me for being amazed at the set of balls on Gore, but I'm of the mind that he - and his entire group of anti-Bush crusaders - are distorting the political reality of this country by downplaying the danger that terrorists are capable of posing. And, like Jeff Jarvis says, they are creating more fear than anyone else. Let's reword that paragraph: Terrorism, after all, is the ultimate misuse of fear for political ends. Indeed, its specific goal is to distort the political reality of a nation by creating fear in the general population that is hugely disproportionate to the actual danger the current administration is capable of posing. If you vote for Bush, the world will end! All our money will disappear, we will be poor and famished and the sun will be blotted from the sky. We will go to war with every single nation on earth and our homeland security is so inept that the war on terrorism is failing and we are in danger of..... Hold on. The mantra of the Gore Bunch is: the Bush administration is creating a fear of future terrorism that does not exist, yet they are not doing enough about the future possible terrorist attacks on this country. And, while you're at it, you should fear Bush, who is actually the big, bad wolf in disguise, fear him with every fiber of your being because if you don't fear him and you vote for him, the country will be ruled by....fear. That's like having your kid tell you he's afraid of the monster in his closet and he needs a bedtime story, so you read him The Boy Who Was Eaten by the Monster in his Closet. I am afraid. I am afraid of terrorism and I welcome whatever Bush has done to combat it, even if some of those tactics infringe a bit on my freedoms. I'll wait an extra hour or two at the airport if it means that we are being more careful about what people can bring on planes. I'm afraid of suicide bombers and countries with nuclear capabilities. I'm afraid of radical muslim factions and rebellious groups hell bent on destroying my freedoms. Sure, I was afraid of some of those things pre-9/11, but I am more scared now than before. Is that because of Bush? No. It's because the threat really exists. I don't need the president to tell me that Saddam was a danger to society. I don't need a State of the Union speech to help me learn that suicide bombers exist. Ask the people whose relatives died in Bali if they think the situation is overrated. Bush did not put this fear into me. My fear goes back to the cold war, back to the days when the sirens would sound I had to crouch under my school desk and hope it was just a drill. My fear goes back to the Munich Olympics, to hijacked planes and to hostages held in Tehran; to the first WTC bombing, to the USS Cole. And my fear is not just of foreign enemies striking at us. I learned many years ago that the biggest perpetrators of mind-terror in the United States are those that oppose fighting terrorism with force. There are those, like Al Gore, who would rather see us downplay the dangers of our enemies. They tell you not to be afraid of those groups of "militants" and "insurgents," but to be afraid of our own leaders. That is dangerous ground to be walking. Rather than face the reality of the political world, they would have us believe that Bush purposely created this whole fear of terrorism thing as a way to control us, to prod us into voting for him because he's hard on terror. That school of thought is more dangerous to our general well being as a nation than is any orange alert. Who are the real fear-mongers here? To quote Mr. Gore, Terrorism, after all, is the ultimate misuse of fear for political ends. Welcome to the new breed of terrorists, then: Kerry, Dean and all the others who run for office on the platform that we should fear our current president, fear the current war on terror, go running out into the streets with your torches and meat cleavers and chase the big, bad wolf out of town! Too bad that guy they're chasing is the only thing standing between us and the real terrorists.

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Comments

Welcome to the new breed of terrorists, then: Kerry, Dean and all the others....

You who was whining about "dirty politics" just four days ago are calling the two leading Democratic candidates "terrorists"? Nice.

Too bad that guy they're chasing is the only thing standing between us and the real terrorists.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!

SAVE ME, GEORGIE, SAVE ME!!!!!

Fucking hell.

If you vote for Bush, the world will end! All our money will disappear, we will be poor and famished and the sun will be blotted from the sky. We will go to war with every single nation on earth and our homeland security is so inept that the war on terrorism is failing and we are in danger of.....

And this is different from what you're saying how...?

"If you vote against Bush, the world will end! All our money will disappear, we will be poor and famished and the sun will be blotted from the sky. We will stand back and open the doors, and the terrorists will wander around the country killing us all at their leisure."

Thlayli, once again you seemed to miss the whole point of a post.

It was Al Gore who was basically calling the Bush administration terrorists. I was just taking what he was saying and reversing it, using his party as the example.

Read it again. For comprehension.

I'm moving.

I like this blog. I read it quite often. Very good writing. Unfortunately, Michelle is becoming quite the shill for Bush.

"Too bad that guy they're chasing is the only thing standing between us and the real terrorists."

Give me a break. Bush can't even spell terrorist, let alone stop them.

Can't stop the terrorists, Vince? With all the threats from al-Qaeda and other radical groups since 9/11, with all the intercepted details of attempts to bring down planes, how many terrorist attacks have there been on American soil since 9/11?

That's right. None.

Vince - you claim the President can't spell and that you come here quite often, yet you spell Michele's name with 2 ll's.

My right wing party calls that being a hypocrite.

Why not write out your plan for dealing with terrorists and post it, rather than criticizing the President for what he has done and offer nothing as a solution.

Yes, what are the Democrats planning to do about terrorism? Sun Tzu said know your enemy – candidates like Kerry and Dean have studied Bush, Rove, etc. very carefully, but they seem to know next to nothing about different terrorist groups. So who do they consider to be their enemies - terrorists or conservative Americans?

Kerry sends messages of cooperation and collaboration to Hezbollah-supporting Iranian propaganda sources, (that is when he’s not calling the Saudis ‘Wasabis’) Other than making it clear that he’s an ‘internationalist’ who wants to collaborate and cooperate with nations like Saudi Arabia Pakistan and Iran, what plans has he made for dealing with terrorism?

Implying that Bush is the reason no terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil since 9/11 is laughable. Saying Bush is your protector, all dolled up in his flight suit, is worthy of Noonan or Coulter. The fact is the terrorists have not even tried to do anything on a 9/11 level since that day. That sort of operation takes years of planning and millions of $$$.

How many of the highjackers were Saudi? Why didn’t Bush invade SA? Why did he invite the Grand Poubah of SA to his hobby ranch? Talk about sleeping with the enemy!

Why won’t Bush testify under oath at the 9/11 commission? Because he is hiding facts that will discredit his Superman image to the Yankee proletariat. Your pious fearless leader must have something to hide. The fact he’s as eloquent as a stump means he can’t exactly weasel his way out of questioning. Why he won’t spill every last bit of information to this commission speaks volumes.

“Can't stop the terrorists, Vince? With all the threats from al-Qaeda and other radical groups since 9/11, with all the intercepted details of attempts to bring down planes, how many terrorist attacks have there been on American soil since 9/11?

That's right. None.”

All these ‘attempts’ are brought to you by the same people who claimed Saddam was in Niger buying yellowcake, Ritter was on Hussein’s payroll, Blix was a corrupt UN hack, Muslim chaplains were treasonous, Jessica Lynch fought off 1,000 ninjas, Hussein could annihilate us all in 45 minutes, crushed incubator babies et al. My skepticism is large; this “Bush is saving my ass” mentality is very misinformed.

The fact is the terrorists have not even tried to do anything on a 9/11 level since that day.

Fact? Really? Prove it.

All these ‘attempts’ are brought to you by the same people who claimed Saddam was in Niger buying yellowcake, Ritter was on Hussein’s payroll, Blix was a corrupt UN hack, Muslim chaplains were treasonous, Jessica Lynch fought off 1,000 ninjas, Hussein could annihilate us all in 45 minutes, crushed incubator babies et al. My skepticism is large; this “Bush is saving my ass” mentality is very misinformed.

It's a conspiracy! Everything is a lie! You mean Ritter is an upstanding guy who would never do anything wrong? I had no idea. Hey, is there really a war going on in Iraq or is that just another fake moon landing? Did the World Trade Center really come down on 9/11? If it did, is your theory that Bush planned it?

Go ahead, Vince. Live in your little bubble. Your ignorance is astounding.

Michele:

I point all the lies the Bushies have told you and you say I live in a bubble. Repeat after me: Ritter was right and Blix was right. There are no WMD's in Iraq. "Find me a way to this." (actually you'd be repeating after Bush, but I digress).

Unfortunately there is a war in Iraq. The 542 dead soldiers is proof. You can ask one of the thousands of troops missing limbs. Or their wives, who have to care for them because Bush sent them off to Iraq.

I have witnessed your transformation from a critically thinking, questioning person, to a worn-out, hysterical old bitty.

I think Vince is the perfect example of the new America Firsters, the deniers of the thousands of fatwas/mosque sermons/documents/terrorist attacks of the radical Islamists who have made it clear they are after the downfall of the Big and Little Satans.

People like Vince/Gore/McAullife et al, believe that 9/11 has been used by GW to gain "power", just as Lindbergh charged FDR in conspiracy with Brits and Jews using the war with Hitler to gain "dictatorial powers."

Such a stance is breathtaking in its mendacity.

What we have to fear [from deniers like Gore & Co] is the lack of fear itself.

Michele, great post!

Ritter is an ephebophile, so I will treat anything he says with that in mind when it comes to credibility; and Blix has been hedging as of late his "no WMD" in Iraq.

And Dr. Kay has said that Saddam was much MORE dangerous than we ever first believed.

Vince, I'm not even talking about Iraq. I'm talking about terrorism. 9/11. Suicide bombers. Crashing airplanes. Dirty bombs. Bio-terrorism.

You don't believe in those things? 9/11 didn't make you afraid that it could happen again?

And you still didn't address this:

The fact is the terrorists have not even tried to do anything on a 9/11 level since that day. Fact? Really? Prove it.

"Fact? Really? Prove it?"

You're saying the absence of attacks indicates Bush has indeed stopped some. Where's the proof? Why haven't seen swarthy characters being paraded in front of cameras, with definitive plans for attack? We've seen napkin sketches of missiles, we've seen WW2 vets being singled out for strip searches, hell we've even seen Bush's dental records. Please don't trot out the uber convienent 'national security' excuse.

To paraphrase Newton for every action there is an opposite reaction. Show me how Bush has stopped an attack!

Michele

Let's not tell Vince about those 'boys' in Lackawanna, I mean it was just a marshmellow toast/weenie roast camping trip in Afghanistan they attended. They really truly cross my heart had no intensions of doing anything untoward against the Great Sat...er, the United States and the kaffir...er, infidels...er American citizens, upon their return.

Dude, you're the one who used the word "fact" when presenting your idea.

But give me some time, Vince. I'll back my words up. You do the same, k?

Michele, you get it, Jeff gets it, the president gets it, the NY medical examiner's office - which is having drills to deal with "a chemical weapons attack that would litter the streets with contaminated bodies" - gets it. (the quote is from yesterday's Times)

See, it is all about proving that Bush lied somewhere along the line, not the 3,000 people who died on 9/11 and the thousands more the terrorists would kill if they had the chance.

They think Bush lied - that's what's important to them. Everything else, including the fact that he probably didn't, means nothing.

Vince, Democrats have consistently relied on the tactic of attacking Bush (and conservative Americans in general) to cover up the fact that they do not have any real strategy for dealing with terrorism & the spread of Islamic fundamentalist-inspired hatred.

I’ve always disliked Anne Coulter, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc. because they blame liberal Americans for the 9/11 attacks. They treat liberal Americans as if they were the enemy. As a strategy for fighting terrorism, this isn’t just mean, it’s stupid and ineffective.

Lately it seems that the entire Democratic party is doing the same thing, treating conservative Americans, not the terrorists, as the enemy. They spend hours getting the dirt on Halliburton, Bush, Rove, et al, but they know next to nothing about terrorist groups. I don’t agree with everything Bush has done, but the Democrats offer no well-researched alternatives. Unless I missed something.

Again, what plans do the Democrats have to fight Islamist state-sponsored terrorism?

Jesus, Michele puts up a great post that echoes my own thoughts on the matter,* and she gets slammed by her two main la-lal-la-can't-hear-you trolls. But enough of them; none are so blind, etc.

From the first I called September 11th "the other shoe dropping." I was shocked but not surprised that this happened. I had been observing the news of what Middle Eastern fanatics and terrorists were up to for years, and one thing I had noticed was that all the attempts to appease the various groups of thugs over there had been causing them to get more violent, more vociferous in their rhetoric, more audacious in their actions against Western nations, not less. So when I heard the news reports on my way to college that day, I thought, "Well, it's finally happened." I was also not surprised that the World Trade Center was targeted, since Muslim terrorists already had attempted to get it once, and nothing much had been done to discourage them from a second try.

I don't know, maybe it's because I was raised in Miami, a city whose collective paranoia makes New York look like Hobbiton. Many of the inhabitants of my home town had fled the sort of stuff that a lot of Americans (and other people in more complacent nations) don't seem to think can possibly exist. Political oppression, the knock on the door at night, the loss of loved ones to prisons and coups, the fearful escape across the sea in leaky boats at night -- these are not things of long-ago legend, but recent family history for a lot of people in Miami. And there was terrorist activity there too -- look it up. And then there is the crime; Miami Vice was not entirely based on fantasy.

But anyway -- let's just say that I am unable to concur with the willful blindness of the peaceniks and argue that the best way to deal with terrorists is to try to "understand" their grievances, and maybe give them a hug. This attitude sounds like that of delicate maidens in Victorian times, who took to referring to their legs as "nether regions" for reasons of ostentatious modesty. George Bush may not be the ideal president, but such a creature does not exist. Fuming and frothing that Bush hasn't managed to "make it all better" and dissipate our fears with Magic Happy Dust isn't going to do any good. As long as Bush is perceived as the only one who is willing to do something about terrorists other than mouth platitudes, he's going to win a second term. So far I have not seen anything come out of the mouths of the Democratic candidates but "Bush scared us!", "Bush Liiiieeeedddd!!!", and nonsense about prescriptions drugs. Hey guys, none of the people who were killed in the Towers has a prescription drug problem anymore. Please make a note of what year it is. There's a war on, and we didn't start it.

*The post is not great because she echoes my own thoughts, but because it was well-written, duh.

Vince's LSD driven 'magic bus' mentality is tiresome. It is a bad trip to nowhere. Thirty years of living a life in delusion has compelled people to direct their hysteria on the simpleton notion that 'Bush scared us'

9/11/01 was not rock bottom enough to get him or others into rehab.

Note to all the Democratic presidental candidates, I disembarked the LSD driven magic bus mentality on 9/12/01 and I won't be fooled again.

Yellow cake from Niger? Vince is also a victim of Goebbel's Formula...present a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it as truth.

Well said Andrea. But for me 9/11 was not the other shoe, but the first one. There is a sense of that in a lot of people I think, particularly in NYC but elsewhere, other major cities and places with large concentrations of Jews. With so many people waiting for the other shoe, the Dems are committing political suicide with their hug a terrorist platitudes. I haven't been a huge fan of W in a long time (and I'm a certified Republican), but as has been repeatedly hammered home in these comments, he's the only one willing to step up to the plate and protect my life, my city, my country.

"The fact is the terrorists have not even tried to do anything on a 9/11 level since that day. That sort of operation takes years of planning and millions of $$$."

I simply cannot understand the thinking processes of people who seem to want to believe that 9/11 was some sort of isolated instance, a one-shot deal. There are many on the Left who seem to think that we are no longer under threat.

They've forgotten about the Lackawanna Five. The've forgotten about the U.S.S. Cole, the Kobar Towers, and the first WTC bombing. We get warnings of impending attacks on airliners, and a few days later they have a collective case of amnesia. They want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that a 9/11-style attack could never happen again.

Well, I've got news for you ostriches. I work at the CDC, and we're in the process of making contingency plans for continuing operations off-site in case Atlanta, and thus our facility, is rendered uninhabitable by a dirty bomb (or worse). Do you understand what this means? It means that you are not privy to all the intelligence that is guiding public policy right now. Nor should you be. But thank God somebody in the government is paying attention.

And as for difficulty and expense of terrorist operations: How difficult and expensive would it be to find three fanatical Muslims in this country -- just three -- who would be willing to go into three busy subway terminals in NYC at rush hour, wearing Semtex jackets with nails and ball bearings, and simultaneously detonate themselves? What sort of impact do you think that would have on the country?

Don't delude yourself into thinking that the threat has passed. Terrorist acts are not always difficult and expensive to plan. Ask the Israelis.

Vince wrote, ..."The fact is the terrorists have not even tried to do anything on a 9/11 level since that day. That sort of operation takes years of planning and millions of $$$."

Tell that to the Ozzie who lost people in Bali. However, since there weren't enough Westerners blown to smithereens that night, it doesn't meet his standards. Tell us, Vince, how many dead before you consider it terrorism?

You also wrote, "How many of the highjackers were Saudi? Why didn’t Bush invade SA?"

Under your logic, we would have invaded Japan directly. Would this have been a wise idea? You obviously know more than we do, and many military people besides, what would be your recommendation?

As to Niger, get the facts. Not Niger, Africa and Brit Intel STILL stands behind their comment.

Oh, and I know we talk about Lakawana, but weren't there some in Oregon and Seattle, too?

Nope, nothing to see there, move along.

And let's not forget the DC sniper.

Which WAS, BTW, set for 9/11/02 except for 1 little problem, the bomb wasn't ready in time.

And from Econopundit:

The widely-reported Al Gore keynote address to the New School's Conference FEAR: ITS POLITICAL USES AND ABUSES seems to have overshadowed the sponsor.

Remember the sponsor, the journal Social Text?

It churns my stomach to imagine how these superior thinkers view all us slow learners who believe we're at war.

As for invading Saudi Arabia, there's a very good reason we don't do it: that country has no military worth speaking of. All they have is money. They are like the old lady who sends money to her evil grandkids so they can use it to fund their bank heists. Heinous as the SA's actions are, we can't invade them with military force -- it would be like attacking an old lady with a cudgel. What you do is indirectly intimidate them by 1) cutting off or diverting their money avenues, and 2) taking out their hired hands in a very public and obvious manner, as we have been doing by going after Al Qaeda et al. And there are a number of other things we are doing... they are called... what's that word, the antis use it all the time when referring to things they think the US isn't doing... Oh yeah. Diplomacy. Funny, I thought antiwar lefties wanted us to use diplomacy not war.

Michele -

Remind me.

What were those aluminium tubes used for again?

What happened to those facilities that Iraq was using to produce chemical and biological weapons and that were revealed in surveillance photos?

Which well-known terrorist organisation offered to help kick Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991?

How did the Iraqis intend to use unmanned aerial vechiles to attack the USA?

In what ways did Iraq support terrorism against the USA?

How is your life safer as a result of the invasion of Iraq?

Why is there no urgency to invade North Korea?

Why did GW invite Karimov to the Whitehouse?

You know, it's not your fear that I object to. On a subjective level, I share your fear. I was on a plane from Boston to Los Angeles not a week before September 11th. Had I flown out a week later, I could be dead right now.

It isn't your fear I disagree with. The bin Laden's of the world objectively hate us. They want to kill us, to terrify us, and if I believed for one second that George Bush gave two shits in hell about catching him, or about preventing terrorism, I would actually support him in that. As liberal as I am, if I believed a word the man said I would back him up to the furthest extent the law allows. I wouldn't back up the USA PATRIOT act because I believe it to be a moronic piece of legislation that only serves to help monitor American citizens who aren't intending to commit a single crime, due to its complete inability to monitor foreign nations (that's what we have Echelon for, after all) and its focus on activities that terrorists usually don't participate in. Monitoring our library records won't do anything but confirm an act after it has already taken place at best, and anyone with an IQ over 35 can avoid checking a book out of the library. Still, despite the Ashcroftian pallor over the Department of Justice, despite the rhetoric, if I believed Bush cared for one second about catching the people responsible for 9/11 and stopping any further actions of that kind, I'd support him.

But I don't. I look at ravaged Afghanistan, already a totally messed up country before we got there and now just as bad going on two years later, and I see no signs of the money we promised to rebuild, no signs that bin Laden was caught, and continuing war. I see people coming to hate us. I look at an Iraq which is talking about enacting the same laws that caused a woman to be under threat of stoning because she got pregnant, an Iraq that continues to kill American soldiers some nine months after 'victory' and which has made no bones about the fact that it is unhappy with how we're running the show, and I see that we'll have troops in Iraq for years to come. It seems to me that we've merely delayed the terror attacks, that they come in Iraq now because it's cheaper and easier to kill Americans when they come to you.

I see no evidence that Bush has done anything to combat terror. Hell, by your analogy, since Bill Clinton never saw a foreign group commit terror attacks (again, a foreign group...I'm not counting domestic terrorism like those that assassinate Abortion doctors in the name of their God, or who blow up Federal Buildings in the name of martyrs that they self-enshrine) on US Soil, he was a great fighter of terrorism.

That's by its very nature absurd. Clinton failed many times to stop terrorism. One of the big Republican charges as to how he failed was that he was too involved in trying to create peace in the Middle East, in fact. Candidate Bush had some harsh criticisms while he was on the campaign trail about those who use their military might in extended forays into other nations for the express purpose of creating new regimes. He called it nation building and he said he was opposed to it.

I of course would expect him to change to some degree following September 11th. Any sane leader would. The question for me is, and has always been, what is the right course of action? I don't believe Bush knows what it is, and I certainly don't believe he's in any way, shape or form engaged in any activities that will make myself, my loved ones and my neighbors one iota safer. The fact that thousands upon thousands of Iraqi's died (alongside hundreds of Americans) in a cause that was mislead from the beginning, which will not in any way prevent terrorism (and which Bush himself has admitted will actually attract terrorists to Iraq to kill Americans) and which seems to counteract the very ideals that the man claimed he stood for upon election disturbs me greatly.

Do I love Gore, Kerry, Dean, etc? Not really. And I think anyone who thinks we're getting out of Iraq any time soon or with clean hands is fooling him or herself. We're there. We will be there for years. Even if the hand-off happens in June, Bremer has hinted that sharia law will not be allowed to be the law of the land in Iraq. While I applaud this, how is he going to enforce it once we're gone? Clearly, the only means to enforce any such decision in the face of the Shiite majority is to remain in Iraq. It's a fantasy to think we can remove troops from the country any time soon when we're talking like that.

I honestly fail to see one single, solitary act of the Bush Administration that has in any way made us safer. In Iraq, 'rebels' (I have no idea if they were al-Qaeda, native Iraqi baathists, or what have you) are raiding police stations and killing two dozen police (actually, 23, according to my last review of the stories) and freeing dozens of prisoners. If Iraq goes Shiite, I don't see how we can avoid a situation where it, too, lends support to anti-American terrorist groups...and this assumes it doesn't degenerate into civil war, which many (liberal and conservative alike) have claimed it will.

Your fear is understandable, and I share it. But I remember last year you posted, and I paraphrase, about your daughter and how she had grown to be nearly a teenager in the time between wars, and how you feared what would happen if we waited that long this time. And I think many people shared your fear, and as such we were goaded into a war on false pretenses, a war that did nothing to end the possibility of terrorist strikes on US soil, a war that did not confirm any threat posed by Iraq (indeed, the war mainly served to confirm how little threat Iraq posed to anyone, and how much of its supposed strength was a sham) and which killed many children as young as your daughter or younger. And so I can only conclude that fear is often dangerous and that the risk of giving in to it is that you will take action precipitously, which I think we did this time.

And yes, I cede that Hussein was a monster and his sons were monsters. (I don't cede that his fourteen year old grandson Mustafa, also killed by US forces, was a monster as well. But he may have been.) Uday and Qusay and Saddam were evil sadists who killed people to stay in power, who deliberately bilked the oil for food programs out of money and thereby helped create famine that killed their own people, and who at times even killed for pleasure. I'll accept all that. I can't imagine being anything but glad that they're gone. That doesn't change the fact that I find the doctrine of pre-emption that the US used to justify the invasion to be incredibly dangerous to US safety in the long run (because any such doctrine could well be used by any rogue state with a significant nuclear program and a sense that US troops were menacing them to justify their own first strike, as just one example) and I wonder what the long term cost in lives of our actions will be, both Iraqi and our own citizens. It's possible that we did the right thing for the wrong reasons, and that it will turn out to be incredibly costly in lives.

Then again, maybe it will all work out for the best. I don't believe it will, but it is a possibility that I cannot in good conscience ignore. I still find the rhetoric to be false, and at times entirely too reminiscent of previous governments who sowed fear to justify stifling dissent (and anyone, liberal or conservative, should find the Bush Administration's tendency to set up 'free speech zones' where protesters can be confined well away from the tv cameras and even the sight of the President himself to be frightening. Why does he need protection from a few old men with signs? Several cases of men in their fifties being arrested for the temerity to want to wave their signs from in sight of the President...cases that have mostly been dismissed to date, I admit...have struck me as wholly unnecessary and a good reason not to vote for Bush in the upcoming election) and so, I again see no signs of Bush being 'hard on terrorism'.

I am afraid of terroism. I'm more afraid of living in a country where I am lied to and manipulated to justify a war, a country that rounds up the dissenters and makes them protest from behind buses so the President can't see or hear them, that holds people indefinitely without allowing them to see lawyers or even informing their families as to what they're being held for. We've had terror attacks ever since a former Army soldier named McVeigh killed hundreds with nothing more advanced than a Ryder truck and some fertilizer, since the SLA went on their rampages, since bombers attacked Wall Street more than half a century ago. I loathe terrorists, whoever they are, whatever they believe, be it Allah or Jehova they pray to.

If I believed for one single solitary instant that Bush was the answer, and not simply a man with a remarkably similar mindset to theirs willing to lie so that we could settle an old score he had with Iraq, I would vote for him. I do not, and so I will not. I believe he is a liar, and that his lies are every bit as bad as his predecessors, and I will not vote for him.

"I like this blog. I read it quite often. Very good writing. Unfortunately, Michelle is becoming quite the shill for Bush." - VINCE

And that's unfortunate in what way? ;]

shrug Ko, Vince, Rossi: leaving Bush out of the discussion for the moment, what is Gore, Dean, Kerry, Edwards et al going to actually do to combat terorism that will be effective? Period. This is th question that counts in the post 9/11 world: what are they going to do, what strategies and tactics do they propose, and how will those strategies be effective?

"Bush is doing it wrong!" isn't an answer to the question.

It seems people would like tom know what I’d do to combat terrorism. Here we go:

1.I would never have let Bush give the Taliban $43 million. Awarding an anti-drug government with money to fund an anti-everything-else agenda is sheer stupidity. I suppose drugs are bad mmmkay, but I’ll take my chances with heroin, thank you.

While the Taliban and al-Qaeda are loosely connected, do you suppose American’s taxpayer dollars funded al-Qaeda in part? Wouldn’t that suck?

2.When the Taliban refused to hand over al-Qaeda, that just invited invasion. I’m glad the US invaded. Finding and killing every last member of al-Qaeda is something I’d pay money to see. Unfortunately, the US has done a half-assed job in Afghanistan. OBL hasn’t been found, warlords and druglords control the country again, and other countries (Canada, for one) are acting like janitors in Afghanistan. Now, al-Qaeda killed 20+ Canadians in the WTC attacks, so payback is in order. Unfortunately, the US seems more interested in pursuing the Ba’ath party (who are despicable, but didn’t attack the US) even though the job in Afghanistan is going no where near done.

That being said, OBL will be found within 6 weeks of the US election. Call it tin-foil time, but you read it here first.

3.1) and 2) cover Afghanistan, but what about the other 15 highjackers? I would have invaded and occupied SA, rather than invite their leader to hang out at my hobby ranch. Why didn’t the US invade SA?

4.Now, Islamofacists are found in and control many countries; Yemen, SA, Iran, etc. But not in Iraq. Like saying Hitler was a decent painter (“an apartment in one afternoon. 2 coats!”), Hussein kept the Islamofacists in order. Although it pains many a person to say, Saddam ruled over the Islamic terrorists with such an iron fist it would make Ann Coulter blush (if she had actual blood running through her veins). So what does the US do? Invade!

Invading Afghanistan: draining the swamp. Invading Iraq: creating a swamp.

I’d add more but I must do my actual day job.

One more thing:

5. Cooperate fully with the 9/11 commission. Learning everything you can about this event in order for it to never happen again is paramount. Why is Bush stonewalling this commission. Please, Bush supporters, I dare you, give me a reason!

It seems that the free Iraq wants to implement Islamic law. How this is good for terrorism prevention down the road is beyond me.

Why in the world anyone would want to invade Saudi Arabia, thus creating a jihad not seen since the Crusades, is completely alien to my way of thinking. You do know that Mecca is the most holy city for Muslims, right? Jerusalem is second or third on the list.

I'm astonished that the same people who shouted "Get US troops out of Saudi Arabia, don't you see how they upset OBL" are now telling us we should invade the country. Which is it?

Actually, many Muslims hate the current rulers in Saudi Arabia more than we do. That doesn't mean that invasion is a good idea, but targeting the Saudi economy and attacking the legitimacy of the Wahhabis diplomatically would probably be effective.

Vince, the only policians who have openly confronted the facts about Saudi support of terror are Mc Cain ® and Lieberman. Do you support them?

Otherwise, most of the Democrats seem to be doing everything they can to avoid the issue.

shrug Ko, Vince, Rossi: leaving Bush out of the discussion for the moment, what is Gore, Dean, Kerry, Edwards et al going to actually do to combat terorism that will be effective? Period. This is th question that counts in the post 9/11 world: what are they going to do, what strategies and tactics do they propose, and how will those strategies be effective?

It is a question that counts. It is not the question. As I mentioned before, we had horrible terrorist atrocities on US shores before, we simply didn't panic and give away the store over them. (Can you imagine Bill Clinton exercising the kind of powers the PATRIOT act gives? Or being able to place protesters in ghettos behind buses or have them arrested if they got out of them? How about John Kerry or Howard Dean with that kind of power? I'm not at all sanguine with the idea of any politician with those sweeping powers and will hope that I'm right and that the Democrat who gets in won't use them. Still, I would rather they were struck down now before that happens.) However, since you asked, I believe Kerry's policy is that increased international cooperation and information sharing is on the table, and that we should work more closely with international agencies to arrest suspects outside US borders. Rather than alienating them with our belligerent rhetoric and then being surprised when they don't leap to our aid when we need them.

Dean has no coherent policy as far as I understand it, but that's okay, neither does Bush.

"Bush is doing it wrong!" isn't an answer to the question.

No, but it is a reason not to support him. Bush's policy seems to be 'invasion or the threat of invasion' and we're seen so far as I can tell that it has little to no actual effect on terrorism. It just moves it. Now, perhaps the idea of a war of attrition on foreign shores that will wear down our military preparedness should we actually require it shouldn't alarm me, but it does. We're only holding on in Afghanistan because of UN support (support they're probably going to withdraw sometime soon) and we're relying on them to help us convince the people of Iraq to go along with our designs for the transfer. It seems logical enough to me that we should therefore work with those people, as Kerry and Edwards have proposed.

In short, 9/11 was a horrible crime. We should have acted as though we were hunting horrible international criminals, and in the future that is how you can defeat terrorists, by treating them as criminals instead of legitimizing them by treating them as military opponents. At this moment, one of the most popular songs in the Middle East is "Kharittat Al-Tariq" ("Road Map"). The lyrics to this song are as follows: Hey people it was only a tower and I swear by God that they are the ones who pulled it down.

The fact is, after seeing thousands of Iraqi's killed by us in the process of invading Iraq, most people in the Middle East are willing to believe that. We've made it impossible for our intelligence agencies to operate in the region, we've sown hostility that will hamper effective anti-terrorist cooperation in the future, we've made potential enemies out of half the world. So yes, the idea that the next President will stop doing these things is in fact an answer to the question.

Nice post. I smile at you jumping in to respond to some of the falsehoods proffered in the comments section. I'll can't resist trying to help you a bit.

Matthew Rossi says that, due to "thousands of Iraqis" killed in the Coalition Invasion, "most people" in the Middle East are willing to believe that Americans knocked down our own towers. That's quite a logic leap.

I could equally postulate that, due to the liberation of "thousands of Iraqis," and the humane way the war and the post-war have been conducted, "most people" in the Middle East are willing to believe America is not their enemy.

That may be an overstatement, but I'll wager it's closer to the truth than Mr. Rossi's assertion.

Dear US citizens,
I am writing from Australia. When you vote if affects every country in the world, but we can’t vote in the US. So please remember, you are voting for all of us. If you elect a crazy war-mongering idiot, we will suffer too. Aussies will always be fighting with you so the cause must be true. Please take care this time. Every country's support for the American people needs your responsibility.
Cheers,
Brad