Friday, August 11, 2006

Are You Safer Now Than You Were Five Years Ago?

The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer both have strong editorials today, lambasting the Bush administration for using the foiled airplane terrorist attack as another opportunity to bash democracy and promote their far-right Republican agenda, which has utterly failed to put a dent in Al Qaeda or the threat of another 9/11.

Dick Cheney is now telling the Connecticut voters who gave Ned Lamont his primary victory that they are Al Qaeda supporters:

In a telephone call with journalists, Vice President Cheney came close to suggesting that there is a new political blog out there called "al-Qaeda for Ned." His words have not received nearly the attention they deserve.

Mourning the fact that Democrats would "purge a man like Joe Lieberman" -- that word "purge" has a nice Stalinist ring, doesn't it? -- our vice president went on to say this:

"The thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, [from] the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al-Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task."

The loser in the Connecticut primary enthusiastically joined in the converting of American voters into terrorists, because they did not select Joe Lieberman:

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut seized on the reports of a terror plot yesterday to attack Ned Lamont, his Democratic opponent for re-election, saying that Mr. Lamont's goal of withdrawing American troops from Iraq by a fixed date would constitute a "victory" for extremists.

"If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England," Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event in Waterbury, Conn. "It will strengthen them, and they will strike again."

It used to be that Lieberman and other apologists for failed anti-terrorist policies used 9/11 as the reason to stay in Iraq: "If we just pick up and leave, if we set a specific timetable for getting out, that will just embolden the same people who blew up the World Trade Center" they would say. Now, since it's obvious that "the same people" and others just like them already have struck again; and would have carried out another major terrorist attack probably even worse than 9/11, had they not been caught in the nick of time, Lieberman and his fellow right-wing Republicans are saying we have to stay in Iraq to prevent another plot to blow up airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean.

I don't believe for a moment that Lieberman, or Cheney, or anyone else in the Bush administration truly believes what they're saying. You'd have to be dumber than a box of rocks to think that the U.S. presence in Iraq has done anything to reduce the threat from Al Qaeda. But clearly they do believe that Americans are that stupid, or that gullible, or easy to influence.

I think they're wrong. As Steve Soto wrote earlier today:

The point is that Al Qaeda is still around, despite a war and occupation that was sold to us on "fighting them over there so that we don't have to fight them here." Democrats need to point out that the GOP has nothing to offer this fall except a failed record on fighting terrorism, spending billions overseas, while taking their eye off the real threats.

Of course, Pres. Bush still had the nerve to say this [emphasis mine]:

"This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. ... We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. . . . And that is why we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people."

Obviously, the "tools" to which Bush refers didn't do squat to protect Americans or anyone else from these latest planned attacks. It was the British, with their superb intelligence and police work, who saved our asses. And as for "people who want to harm us for what we believe in," Bush and Cheney have made it crystal clear that what they believe in is telling Americans they are Al Qaeda sympathizers for voting the "wrong" way.

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