Why George Bush Has Not Made Us Safer

Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission ask, Are We Safer Today? In many ways we are no safer now than we were six years ago. One problem is that the bumper sticker which says “we are creating more terrorists than we can kill” is true:

We face a rising tide of radicalization and rage in the Muslim world — a trend to which our own actions have contributed. The enduring threat is not Osama bin Laden but young Muslims with no jobs and no hope, who are angry with their own governments and increasingly see the United States as an enemy of Islam.

Four years ago, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld famously asked his advisers: “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”

The answer is no.

While the Bush administration tries to fight this militarily (and in the wrong country) the real battle is one of hearts and minds:

We are also failing in the struggle of ideas. We have not been persuasive in enlisting the energy and sympathy of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims against the extremist threat. That is not because of who we are: Polling data consistently show strong support in the Muslim world for American values, including our political system and respect for human rights, liberty and equality. Rather, U.S. policy choices have undermined support.

No word is more poisonous to the reputation of the United States than Guantanamo. Fundamental justice requires a fair legal process before the U.S. government detains people for significant periods of time, and the president and Congress have not provided one. Guantanamo Bay should be closed now. The 9/11 commission recommended developing a “coalition approach” for the detention and treatment of terrorists — a policy that would be legally sustainable, internationally viable and far better for U.S. credibility.

A major problem remains that, “no conflict drains more time, attention, blood, treasure and support from our worldwide counterterrorism efforts than the war in Iraq. It has become a powerful recruiting and training tool for al-Qaeda.”

Supporters of the war commonly claim that liberals are soft on fighting terrorism based upon our opposition to the war. In reality, it is the Republicans who have failed the nation by not understanding the nature of the threat and attempting to fight in a counterproductive manner. Unfortunately all the Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, repeat the same erroneous beliefs which we have heard from the Bush administration since 9/11.

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11 Comments

  1. 1
    absent observer says:

    Historians will note that GWB’s presidency was marked by one persistent theme: expanding the executive. Every other piece of bullshit that’s come out of the Oval Office in the last six years has served the Unitary Executive. We’re not dealing with someone who cares about your sense of reason. We have an Emperor expanding an empire.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I agree that expanding the powers of the Executive Branch has been a major theme but not that everything was based upon this. Bush is responsible for other types of evil besides expanding the powers of Executive Branch.

    For example, Bush also tried to destroy entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security with his Medicare proposals (which are still harmful but which were moderated thanks to some more reasonable Republicans) his failed Social Security plans.

    He’s also helped push the agenda of the religious right and the neoconservatives. Of course the neocon agenda does fit in well with the Unitary Executive idea .

  3. 3
    Jason Andrew says:

    How about some support for these assertions? How did he try to expand the power of the executive? How did he try to destroy entitlement programs? I thought he was just trying to buy votes with that drug program. I have never heard a democrat accused of trying to destroy entitlement programs by expanding them. If you honestly think Bush wants to destroy entitlement programs, you are not living in reality.

  4. 4
    Jason Andrew says:

    This site has lots of opinions but not many facts backing them up. Blogs aren’t about copying news artiles…they are about opinions!!!!

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Jason,

    These topics are discussed in much greater detail, along with many facts, in other posts. It is not possible to repeat all the information presented previously in each post or comment. That’s why there are topic tags and there is a search function for the blog.

    To answer very briefly, the biggest problem with the Medicare D program was the extra funding given to Medicare Advantage Plans which cost significantly more to care for each beneficiary as opposed to those in the government program. Bush’s original proposal was to only provide prescription coverage to those who switched to such plans. Even Republicans such as Grassley recognoized how dangerous this would be to the program and blocked portions of Bush’s plan.

    The major flaw in Bush’s Social Security proposals, which would have undermined the financial viabliity of the program, was ithat it didn’t take into account the fact that current revenues are used to pay out benefits to current beneficiaries and are not held in reserve for current workers. Putting money into private accounts would leave insufficient money to pay out current beneficiaries.

  6. 6
    Jason Andrew says:

    Isn’t that the same thing that they do with social security funds? Yet you seem to be against reform of social security…or at least Bush’s plan which I thought sounded better then the status quo. If you are a libertarian, shouldn’t you be against these types of programs in the first place?

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Bush’s plan is worse than the status quo as it is not financially sound. Perhaps if we still had a budget surplus after he was in office (and didn’t have the war to pay for) we’d be able to use general revenues to replace the lost revenue from people placing a portion of their payroll taxes into private accounts. However Bush had no mechanism to fund this reduced money coming into the program.

    Who said I was a libertarian? I disagree with libertarians in making some exceptions for government programs which are beneficial.

  8. 8
    Jason Andrew says:

    You think medicare and social security are financially sound? I thought everybody agreed that those programs are on the road to bankruptcy. The Clinton economy was built on the dot.com bubble and corporate fraud (enron, world-com, etc). Any supposed budget surplus was BS.

    The website says “defending liberty…” So you aren’t really defending liberty; you are defending the liberty you want but not the liberty that you don’t think people should have. Why don’t you change the logo of the website to “defending the democrat party and attacking the republcans?”

  9. 9
    Jason Andrew says:

    Wasn’t Bush proposing to divert a very small percentage of social security funds? Like 2%?

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    “You think medicare and social security are financially sound?”

    I never said that. Bush’s actions would make them even less financially sound than they are.

    “So you aren’t really defending liberty; you are defending the liberty you want but not the liberty that you don’t think people should have.”

    No. You have a very narrow view of what liberty means.

    “Why don’t you change the logo of the website to “defending the democrat party and attacking the republcans?””

    If you actually read the site before writing you would see that I’m not a Democrat. I have posts crticizing and supporting both parties.

    “Wasn’t Bush proposing to divert a very small percentage of social security funds?”

    If Social Security is not financially sound, then even 2% would be harmful. You can’t have it both ways.

  11. 11
    Jason Andrew says:

    Yes, I see you criticizing both parties, but mostly republicans. I think liberty means being able to do what you want? How is that narrow? Capitalism is economic liberty and these government programs take away economic liberty. I don’t want to be a part of social security. I think I should be able to take my forced social security deductions and put it somewhere else. Are you against that?

    Yes, 2% would hurt a program heading to bankruptcy, but it is better to try to make some changes than to do nothing until there is a crisis. And you make it seem like Bush was really doing something drastic. He wasn’t.

    What is your solution for social security?

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