Monday, April 05, 2004

BILL SAFIRE PUTS WORDS IN MY MOUTH


Safire writes: Doves opposed to the overthrow of Saddam — who had earlier argued that attacking Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan would lead to quagmire — have found a bellicose rationale for their antiwar stance.

First off, Bill, no one in the world, Mother Jones reader or otherwise, believed it was wrong to go after Al Qaeda--the terrorist perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on NYC and WDC--anywhere they may brood in the world.

The problem is Saddam Hussein had jack to do with 9/11. So when Bush decided to lead America into a war in Iraq, a pre-condition of which was to so contort and manipulate public sentiment over 9/11 so as to displace America's collective anger from Al Qaeda to Saddam, reasonable-minded people everywhere were left shaking their heads in bewilderment. After all, Saddam's threat had bee mollified for the good part of a decade. (Thanks to almost continual bombing and enforcement of no fly zones by the USAF and the RAF).

Hawks, Safire tells us, replied, "You never understood it's all one war." In their self-deluded world, I'm willing to concede they probably believe this. However, back in the real world, Bush's excursion in Iraq really has distracted us from the war against terrorism. Witnesses before the 9/11 commission testified that the Pentagon pulled out special forces troops from Afghanistan (elite operatives previously employed in hunting Bin Laden) and deployed them to Iraq. Now more than 150,000 troops, billions of dollars of expenditures, and who knows how much military hardware was diverted to the Persian Gulf; Bush has lost OBL, and American troops and their private sector counterparts are being slaughtered and publicly mutilated in Iraq by the very same general population Bush told us would welcome americans with outstretched arms as liberators.

Safire is right about one thing. Who did what prior to 9/11--whether the administration was too slow to develop and implement a terrorism strategy--is really a non-issue, politically speaking. (Excepting of course if we find evidence of deliberate attempts to hide impending attacks). What is the issue is how Bush pulled the Iraq bait and switch, manipulated America's emotional reaction to 9/11, and used the war as a foil to achieve a laundry list of conservative objectives unrelated to the war on terror. For this, Bush should be drawn and quartered--POLITICALLY SPEAKING.

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