A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Larry Beinhart, author of Wag the Dog and Fog Facts
Say it loud, say it often, "Republicans are bad on national security." Every Democrat running for national office – and local offices too, why not? – should say, "I'm running because Republicans are bad on national security."
Then they should go on to say, here's why I’m saying it:
1. 9/11 happened on their watch. Of course, we can’t say, absolutely, that it would not have happened if they had not been asleep at the wheel. But we can say that they did not do all they could have done to prevent it. We can say that Bush literally pushed away the warnings.
2. George Bush and the Republicans failed to get Osama bin Laden. We got both Hitler and Hirohito in less time than we’ve been chasing bin Laden. Every day that bin Laden’s out there, he’s proof that you can attack the United States and get away with it. That’s a bad message to send, and believe me, people in the terrorist world have heard it loud and clear. That’s very bad for national security.
3. George Bush and the Republicans gave Osama bin Laden what he wanted. Bin Laden wanted the US to get into a quagmire. He wanted our troops tied down in an Islamic country so that an insurgency could do to them what the Afghanis did to the Russians and to the British before them.
A modern, hi-tech army is very good at invasions. It’s also good for fighting back against other armies. But a modern hi-tech army is not good at occupying a country against the will of the population. Even if the army is as violent and ruthless as the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan were.
4. George Bush and the Republicans squandered America’s power and prestige. Before 9/11 most people in the world probably thought that America’s intelligence services were able and astute, agencies to be feared. The Bush administration has made them appear bumbling and inept. They did this, first, by ignoring their warnings and then, second, by making them the fall guys for 9/11.
After 9/11 most of the world feared America's wrath and America's might. By failing to get bin Laden and his gang, then by attacking the wrong country, unleashing chaos, and getting our armed forces into a situation that they can’t win, the administration showed the world they have less to fear than they imagined.
5. The Bush administration empowered Hezbollah. The 'insurgency' in Iraq was Hezbollah's textbook and their inspiration. If Iraqis could do that to Americans, surely they could do the same to the Israelis. And they have. It's not yet on the record, but it's clear from everyone's conduct, that the administration encouraged the Israelis to 'unleash' their forces against Hezbollah. They probably thought Israel's modern hi-tech armies would quickly smash their enemy.
6. The Bush administration radicalized Hamas. Hamas was elected. Sworn to the destruction of Israel or not, they should have been encouraged to become responsible players with carrots as well as sticks. Instead the administration put them up against the wall, hoping to starve the Palestinian people into voting for a different group. Would that work if someone tried to do it to us?
7. Bush and the Republicans tied down our forces in Iraq while Iran and North Korea invested in nuclear technology. That made North Korea feel secure enough to test ICBMs. If they had been successful, they would have had a delivery system for their nuclear weapons. That would be incredibly bad for national security. Iran, with American forces tied down in Iraq, feels secure enough to defy the UN as well as the US. Very bad for national security.
8. By the way, every major European nation has had successful arrests and real trials of real, dangerous terrorists. People on the level of this group that the British just took down. The most ferocious terrorist arrested in the United States since 9/11 has been the shoe bomber. Ten, twenty, forty, a hundred billion dollars, a trillion dollars, and the best we have to show for it is the shoe bomber?! Republicans are bad on national security.
9. We have trashed the bill of rights. We have trashed the Geneva conventions. We have a president and a vice president willing to go the mat to fight for the right to torture people.
We have spent a fortune on illegal wiretaps.
We have spent a fortune on collecting everyone’s telephone data.
And what have we achieved by all of this?
A quagmire in Iraq. Dishonor. Debts. An empowered al Qaeda. A new war in Lebanon. The inability to stand up to Iran and North Korea. Osama bin Laden at large, an inspiration to extremists everywhere.
Republican are unimaginably bad on national security. Say it loud. Say it often, it’s the truth, Republicans are bad on national security.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Larry Beinhart is the author of Wag the Dog, The Librarian, available at nationbooks.org, and Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin available at BuzzFlash.com Progressive Marketplace.