Tuesday, September 12, 2006

For The Love Of Terror

I read the text of President Bush's 9/11 (2006) speech, and was struck more by what he didn't say than what he did.

Still linking our invasion of Iraq with the terror attacks of 9/11 (2001). Which I've always found ironic, since Saddam Hussein - though not an advocate of democracy and freedom himself - was strongly against fundamentalist brands of Islam found in Al Qaida and Iran. It was Al Qaeda who attacked the U.S., not Iraq. And it is Iran (and Syria) funding the attacks against the U.S. troops today.

Terror is an extremely useful weapon. This is true if you're Osama bin Laden (still alive and well on this fifth anniversary of his terror coup). And it's just as true if you're the President. Because you can use the weapons of fear to achieve your political ends.

If you're the Republican Party, you can use terror to scare people into voting to keep you in office. Because if you talked about the economy, or healthcare, or global warming, or trade deficits and national debt, or the state of New Orleans, or any of a dozen other issues that have a larger impact on most Americans daily lives, then those Americans might not find a lot of reason to keep you in office.

And even if you're with the President on this issue and don't go for this Daily Kos type rant, think about this. What does it say about a person, or a party, who places the continuing threat of terrorism as the centerpiece of an election platform?

Should it worry you at all that if the continuation of a threat is indeed the primary road to reelection, that perhaps there might not be a lot of incentive to have that threat go away?

I do agree that the rise of fundamentalist Islam is a threat to our safety and way of life. But every congressional (controlled by Republicans for 6 years now), intelligence agency, and military report on the terrorist threat says that the "war" cannot be won via military might. It takes economic and political infrastructure changes, education and training, democracy and enlightenment to fight terrorism.

A party platform that benefits from increased terrorism and that is harmed by effective programs to eradicate terrorism...is a platform that no rational individual, even those in great fear for their lives and safety, should support.

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