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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No, we're NOT at war 

In an article with the headline "Bush reminds Americans U.S. is at war," the President makes his case:

President Bush used terrorists' own words Tuesday to battle complacency among Americans about the threat of future attack, defending his record as the fall campaign season kicks into high gear.

Bush said that despite the absence of a successor on U.S. soil to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the terrorist danger remains potent.

"Bin laden and his terrorist's allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them," the president said....

In its updated counterterrorism strategy, the White House said that "the enemy we face today in the war on terror is not the same enemy we faced on Sept. 11. Our effective counterterrorist efforts in part have forced the terrorists to evolve and modify their ways of doing business."

Two months before the midterm elections, the report was the White House's latest attempt to highlight national security, an issue that has helped Republicans in past campaigns.

The statement "we are at war" is used when convenient, whether one wants to justify uncontrolled executive branch spying, or whether one wants to get re-elected.

But are we truly at war?

If we were at war, then the government would be mobilizing all citizens to defend the nation during the war, and if the government truly feels a threat, they'd probably be restricting the freedoms of Americans. Yes, one can argue that Guantanamo Bay is an "internment camp" for foreigners, but how many Americans (aside from Johnnie Walker Lindh) have been thrown into internment camps during THIS war? Not that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was anything to brag about, but if this is a war, then the Federal government is not mobilizing the nation effectively.

Is the Federal government shutting down the national borders to keep enemies at bay? Not in the least. In fact, the government is encouraging more and more people to cross the border illegally.

So far, I have not heard anyone ask the question, "Should the NFL cancel its games during the war on terror so that football players can be called up to the front lines to serve?"

Has the Federal government ordered businesses to shift to wartime production to meet our defense needs? Uh, no. Cheetah Girls CDs are still being produced in volume.

Is the Federal government deferring all other governmental initiatives so that the war on terror can be won? Well, here are some of the things that the White House itself claims that Bush spent time on in 2005. Remember that every moment that Bush spent on these initiatives was a moment that Bush did NOT spend fighting the War.
  • President Bush Signed The "Gulf Opportunity Zone Act Of 2005."

  • President Bush Signed The "Stem Cell Therapeutic And Research Act Of 2005."

  • President Bush Has Called On Congress To Make Tax Relief Permanent.

  • President Bush Signed Into Law The First National Energy Plan In More Than A Decade.

  • President Bush Signed Into Law The Highway Bill.

  • President Bush Signed The Central America And Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) To Level The Playing Field For U.S. Workers And Open New Markets For American Goods.

  • President Bush Nominated Ben Bernanke To Serve As Chairman Of The Federal Reserve Board Of Governors....The President Nominated, And The Senate, Confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts....President Bush Nominated Judge Samuel Alito To Serve As Associate Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court.

  • President Bush Signed The Patient Safety And Quality Improvement Act Of 2005.

  • The President Signed Class Action Reform To Curb Lawsuit Abuse.

  • President Bush Signed Bankruptcy Reform Legislation That Makes The System Fairer For Creditors And Debtors.

  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Is Working.

  • President Bush's New Medicare Coverage Will Ensure That Everyone On Medicare Has Better Choices.

  • Congress Is Acting To Extend Welfare Reform.

  • The Administration Is Helping Hurricane Evacuees Find Housing.

If this were a true war to which Bush was committed, we would not have wasted inordinate amounts of money shoving a new Medicare system down the throats of our seniors. Instead, we would have spent inordinate amounts of money shoving new missiles down the throats of Al Qaeda.

In short, the war on terror is pretty wimpy. You know it's wimpy when even John Kerry looks more macho than you regarding the war on terror. Here's what Kerry said during the debates in 2004:

The measurement is not: Are we safer? The measurement is: Are we as safe as we ought to be? And there are a host of options that this president had available to him, like making sure that at all our ports in America containers are inspected. Only 95 percent of them -- 95 percent come in today uninspected. That's not good enough.

People who fly on airplanes today, the cargo hold is not X-rayed, but the baggage is. That's not good enough. Firehouses don't have enough firefighters in them. Police officers are being cut from the streets of America because the president decided to cut the COPS program.

So we can do a better job of homeland security. I can do a better job of waging a smarter, more effective war on terror and guarantee that we will go after the terrorists.

I will hunt them down, and we'll kill them, we'll capture them. We'll do whatever is necessary to be safe.

But I pledge this to you, America: I will do it in the way that Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy and others did, where we build the strongest alliances, where the world joins together, where we have the best intelligence and where we are able, ultimately, to be more safe and secure....

When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.

Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where is Osama bin Laden?"

He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned."

We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.

Of course, I don't know that President Kerry's actions would have matched his words. Would he have killed Osama bin Laden by now, his lifeless body covered with more red gore than you could find at a Heinz processing factory? Would the members of Al Qaeda have died slow, agonizing deaths at the hands of Kerry Komandos? I doubt it.

But perhaps this "war" is like another war that many brave men and women fought a quarter century ago:

The war, one assumes, is the vague, never defined "war on terror" (although for a short while it became the "global struggle against radical extremists"). To call it a war, however, is on a par with the US "war on drugs," another never-ending and equally ill-thought-out enterprise.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

My aunt was recently talking about this. She said in WWI and WWII, the country was obviously at war, and the whole country rallied behind the effort. No one complained about food rationing or having to wear clothes without buttons. They grew victory gardens and collected scrap metal. Everyone sacrificed, but everyone was proud to do so. Big difference with today's war. She said our government is at war, but not the country.
Perhaps this is a different war that doesn't require TOTAL mobilization, but you'd think that there would be SOME level of commitment.

I'm too young to remember a total war, and you're DEFINITELY too young to remember a total war, but I think your aunt is right here.
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