Friday, October 07, 2005

Bush: An Essential Contradiction

President George W. Bush's attempt yesterday to make his Global War on Terror the moral and military equivalent of the Cold War against the Soviet Union was less than convincing, I think, for anyone who remembers the basic threat of that bygone age: the extermination of all life on the planet. By comparison, subway bombings and even 9/11 are relatively minor concerns. As usual, the administration is playing the terrorist's game, inflating Osama Bin Laden's reputation by likening him to Stalin, describing Al Qaeda's ideology as if it were not just a security problem but an existential threat to the West. He described the terrorists' agenda as if it should be setting ours. A real mistake. Bush is playing politics, of course. He wanted to put Hurricane Katrina behind us and get back to the war president image that used to work so well for him. He wanted to justify Iraq by linking it, as ever, to Osama. But the fundamental contradiction in his approach was evident in the text of the speech:

"Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and al Qaeda attacked us anyway," said the president, which is true, as far as it goes. But a few paragraphs later, Bush boasts that with the help of other governments "we've killed or captured nearly all of those directly responsible for the September the 11th attacks." What he fails to mention is that not one of those terrorists was caught in Iraq, and the great majority were nabbed before the invasion. The threat we face now, such as it is, comes from a new generation of terrorists directly inspired by the Iraq war, and, oh yes, from Osama, the one who got away. - CD

Also see:

Newsweek Article: Jihad Express, 13 Mar 2005
For Islamic militants in Europe, Iraq far outshines Afghanistan as an urban-terrorism training ground.

Shadowland: When Victory Was Ours, 25 September 2003
Nine months ago, Saddam Hussein was contained and Al Qaeda was on the run. But that just wasn’t enough for the Bush administration. No wonder readers are upset

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