Yet again, President Bush has tried to bolster his credentials and his power by appealing to fear—this time attempting to draw comparisons between his middle east meddlings and World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, arguing that “staying the course” in Asia proved wise when completed, catastrophic when abandoned. Interesting if weird parallels, as WWII involved fighting Japan, an imperialist power (as the U.S. has become), Korea, a Communist threat to world security that never materialized, and Vietnam, another instance when listening to the French would have been wiser.
His purpose, of course, was once again to argue that his warmongering keeps America safe from al-Qaeda, ignoring that Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist organization until the U.S. invasion, glossing over his complete failure to capture Osama bin Laden—in fact, the president doesn’t even bring it up anymore. He DOES like to keep trying to scare the public, warning that another attack could come at any moment, and claiming his administration’s policies have so far prevented such attacks (an unsupported claim), ignoring that his administration dropped the ball and allowed the 9/11 attack he loves to reference so frequently. Truth is, we’ve been LESS safe on his “watch.”
His blind obsession with Iraq, fought on the heels of Afghanistan, has made the country even less safe, straining the military so far that commanders warn we can’t continue past this spring, while officers quit in droves and troops fall to the extreme stress of drastically increased deployments, and the U.S. commitment needed to end the mess with no end in sight. U.S. military planners had always prepared to fight wars in two theaters simultaneously. We’re doing that—for longer now than we were in WWII. Another conflict would leave us simply vulnerable. Imagine Iran and North Korea decide to push their advantage and attack together. We couldn’t handle it. We’re weak.
Bush’s arrogance and go-it-alone attitude has left the U.S. with few friends, and mostly made clear to foes that the only power we respect is nuclear power. Hence, the sooner a nation can achieve nuclear weapons, the better. How does this make us safer? We’ve given them every incentive to ignore diplomacy and pursue arms.
And how about the cost of all this invasion? The U.S.S.R., remember, fell under internal economic pressure, not at the hands of enemies. The increase in U.S. debt is financed by overseas borrowing, and adding this to our large, continuing trade deficit will only hasten our almost inevitable second place status to solid, expanding economies like China, India, and the European Union. This won’t help our safety either—in fact, it will largely prevent our recovery.
What is it about 9/11 that makes so many Americans so myopic? Take the hero worship of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, praised for his leadership following the 9/11 attacks. Yet what did he do other than what any mayor would have had to do?
And while Bush harps on the New York attacks, he gutted every dollar he could from every program he could, leaving FEMA a shell of its former self with an incompetent political appointee at the helm—not to mention denying global warming and pulling out related environmental treaties and programs, a step toward more frequent and more destructive storms. He has come as close to repealing free speech as possible, hand picking audiences, censuring media images of the war, using the justice system to harass politic opponents, and spying on U.S. citizens while striving to keep such practices secret from Congressional oversight. How does this make us safer?
All in the name of 9/11.