If it wasn’t official before, it is now – we are barely more secure today than we were on September 10, 2001, and because of the threat posed by al-Qaeda look-alikes and home-grown al-Qaeda inspired groups, we may actually be less safe today than we were 7 years ago. And the price tag for all of this illusionary security? 3900 coalition soldiers, airmen, seamen, and marines dead. A minimum of 26,695 U.S. soldiers, airmen, seamen, and marines injured. An estimated $443,920,000,000 at about 10 AM MST today. An estimated 655,000 Iraqis, ~2.5% of the population of Iraq, dead as of last October.
And now al-Qaeda is planning on exporting terror from Iraq to the rest of the world, especially the United States. Last week, a reporter asked President Bush in a press conference about the National Intelligence Estimate’s supposed conclusion that al-Qaeda was as strong as it was on 9/11. His response: al-Qaeda is weaker today than it would have been otherwise had we not stomped on them and driven them out of Afghanistan after 9/11.
Well, no shit.
We might have been able to do more against al-Qaeda than we have if President Bush hadn’t focused almost exclusively on the military. Our diplomatic position is nearly useless due to Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and our “pre-emptive war” strategies. Our economy is being saddled with national debt at an alarming rate. And our cultural “soft power” has been squandered to the point that Russia, China, and other human rights violators can laugh at us.
President Bush squandered our national authority with his foolish and narrow-minded “military only” approach to combating terrorists and has made the United States, and indeed the rest of the world, less safe in the process.
Dead on the money, Brian. Bush’s policy is great proof of the old adage – if all you can think to use is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.
Here’s the thing that drives me nuts. This is not only true, it’s something that people were predicting BEFORE THE WAR. Don’t let anybody challenge you for having 20/20 hindsight…
True words. The soft power of alliances, diplomacy, aid, and friendship is far more effective than the hard power of arrogant force.
Meanwhile, 18 months from now, the next president will have to deal with this mess.
And I don’t hear the morass known as the “presidential candidates” saying specifically how they plan to “engage” the issue. I’ve heard ’em say, “Things will be different in early ’09, so I can’t say.”
Phooey. They could tell us such things as:
— Will you enlarge the military in terms of numbers of troops?
— How will you pay for that?
— Who would you name as secretary of state and national security adviser?
— Who would you name as ambassadors to nations who now hold us in lower esteem?
— How will you intellectually engage a world beyond our borders that is not always democratic, not always friendly, probably Islamic and perhaps nuclear?
— How will you demonstrate to that world the fullness of what it means to be American?
— What can you offer other nations that demonstrates faith in their individual and collective wisdom?
— How will you remove from the minds of Mideast nations the notion of “oil” as central to all American interests in that region? Can you do that?
Interesting questions abound to place before the presidential wannabees. I wish Wolf Blitzer et al. would ask them.
I’ve enough of “raise your hands if you think …” presidential debates.
We need to get you credentialed for the Dem convention next year. And gods, I’d PAY to watch debates moderated by Dr. Denny instead of The Beard….