Friday, September 10


Great read. John Dean thinks Bush-Cheney are Osama's Dream Team:

Bush and Cheney seek to make complex problems simple, and describe them as black and white, good versus evil. Kerry and Edwards (maybe because they are trained as lawyers) appreciate that the real world is varying shades of gray, nothing is simple, and the complex problem of terrorism will not be solved by tanks and troops, and pretending we can keep terrorists from America by fighting wars in the Middle East.

Experts on terrorism, as well as military analysis, have repeatedly pointed out this truth: "A strong military force, by itself, does not deter terrorism -- in point of fact, terrorism has developed as a response to strong governmental powers." Other nations might think twice when facing the force of overwhelming strength. But not sub- or trans-national terrorists, who don't fight on battlefields. Nor do casualties trouble the terrorist leaders whose religious beliefs postulate that death is a great reward.
Despite these truths, however, Bush and Cheney continue to think in these terms. If anyone ought to be accused of having a pre-9/11 mind-set, it is they. Their tactics might have worked well in the Civil War, but they are failing in the fight against modern terrorists groups.

Read between the lines of the 9/11 Commission Report. It is saying that the Administration's choice to focus on troops and tanks, at the expense of diplomacy and other measures, makes us vulnerable to terrorism - rather than protecting against it. These are the views of a bipartisan body that looked extensively at the facts and sought the wisdom of the most knowledgeable people in the nation.

Examine, if you will, the progress that has been made in apprehending terrorists thus far, for it has come largely because of the work of other nations. Despite all the effort Bush and Cheney have made to alienate them, others have come through to make crucial arrests abroad.

Bush and Cheney remain insensitive to what the "Arab street" thinks of them and this nation. They have only covered up the failures of their military command with its consequences at Abu Ghraib, which has embittered (at a minimum) a generation of Muslims against America.

Arab- and Muslim-Americans should have been a primary weapon in the war on terrorism. We need their knowledge and language skills. A program to recruit numerous patriotic Americans of Arab descent into the FBI will be essential to winning the battle with Islamic terrorists.

Yet this Administration's abusive tactics - including FBI interviews that have delved into religious practices, mass detentions that were clearly based on religion and national origin, and the like - have seriously damaged the Administration's image in Arab- and Muslim-American communities.

In short, for the past three years the Bush Administration has utterly ignored the approach that the 9/11 Commission recommended. It is not that this approach has not been conspicuous. The Commission stated the obvious when it said that "long-term success demands the use of all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland security. If we favor one tool while neglecting others, we leave ourselves vulnerable and weaken our national effort."
As prolific writer Joseph Coates explains, terrorists have clear goals: they "seek to prove that governments cannot protect their people." By committing terrorist acts, they hope to provoke an extreme response, "the more extreme the better" - for such a response aids them in recruitment, and arouses hostility toward the responder.
In his recent essay, law professor Oren Gross described a similar dynamic: he believes that by forcing excessive response, terrorists seek to destroy the fabric of democracy, discredit the government, alienate citizens, and undermine the moral basis of the government's actions.

What better way to convince other Islamic fundamentalists that the West shouldn't be in the Middle East, than for a Western country - in an extreme response only tenuously connected, if at all, to a terrorist attack - to wage a preemptive bloody war in the Middle East? Even better, that this war would be justified by the need to prevent the use of dangerous weapons that turn out not to exist.

Bush and Cheney have to be Osama's dream team for November. They have all but promised even more extreme responses in the future, which surely must please Osama.


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