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Bush's War

Saturday, Oct. 08, 2005 12:08 AM

Photo by Eric Draper, The White House

The supreme excellence is not to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles. The supreme excellence is to subdue the armies of your enemies without even having to fight them.

-- Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

In an address emphasizing the need to fight the War on Terror, President Bush mentioned 9/11, stating, "And we remember the calling that came to us on that day, and continues to this hour: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won."

Except, as we have seen, the vision bestowed upon Mr. Bush seems to have failed drastically on a domestic level. When Hurricane Katrina hit, we weren't ready. Even the accepted 72 hours only served to further compound the errors at the local, state, and federal levels.

Mr. Bush adds that withdrawal from Iraq is in keeping with radical Islamic goals of, "... (using) the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments."

Not that I've noticed, but it seems like these folks are doing pretty well without a permanent base of operations. And the outgrowth of our intervention in Iraq may very well be a state with a constitution based on Shari'a, or Islamic law - perhaps not the shining example of liberty on the march that President Bush is fond of mentioning.

But Mr. Bush's speech also described the terrorists as looking to, "... establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia."

Go crack a history book, or have Uncle Dick read one to you, George. By 750 AD, Islam's influence reached from Spain to India. Islam - radical or not - was a world power. One begins to think your use of the word 'crusade' that one time was not at all accidental. And while you're big on insulting Americans for not remembering 9/11 as the reason for our fighting terrorism, perhaps you should consider that Islamics haven't forgotten their history, either.

Against these purveyors of hate, Bush explains, there is only one answer: "We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory."

So, which of those explains our allowing Osama bin Laden to skate off into the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to chase a man who hid in a basement the moment we started our advance?

Bush affirms, "But let's be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of a rising democracy. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that once again will destroy the enemies of freedom."

And is it courage that motivated the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison? Is it courage that is behind the unwillingness to accept Senator John McCain's amendment to a military spending bill that would ban the use of, 'cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment'? (The Senate version passed 90-9 in favor, but the House version omits the provision.)

Someone cue Jack Nicholson's speech from A Few Good Men: "You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall!"

Coinciding with Bush's stirring speech was a press release listing ten foiled terrorist plots from 2002-2004. Each plot is given a nifty little name like it was an episode from, "The Man From UNCLE."

So if the terrorists were still trying to hijack planes as recently as 2003, they must have believed they had a reasonable chance of getting the necessary weapons or devices aboard a plane.

But, for reasons of security, there are precious little details, other than the occasional reference to a major operational planner involved in 9/11. Note that it is never stated that we caught these figures, only that we prevented their plot.

I am strongly tempted to regard this list only slightly better than the annual list of predictions found in supermarket tabloids. Jose Padilla got caught; to my knowledge, it has never been established that his plan to detonate a dirty bomb was a credible one. It is impossible to judge the seriousness or the effectiveness of our own security if it is veiled in secrecy.

We stopped ten plots; that's all well and good. But others, like the transit bombings in Spain and London; the resort bombings in Bali and other locations, the regular incidents in Iraq (does this still qualify as 'untidiness,' Mr. Rumsfeld?) ... have been successful.

What was that about not accepting anything other than complete victory?

(Incidentally, I happen to agree that we cannot withdraw our troops from Iraq. Not because we're waging some historic battle against a faceless and violent enemy, but because we toppled Saddam and directly or indirectly turned the country into an insurgent-infested cesspool. We have an obligation, a moral and ethical duty, to stand by the Iraqis as they deal with the consequences of our foreign policy.)

The Ministry has received 1 comment(s) on this topic.

Lianne - 2005-10-08 20:27:03
Fantastic piece of writing =)