September 12, 2006

Tunnel Vision

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From CNN: Democrats blast Bush for 'playing politics' with 9/11.

The White House quarreled with Democrats Tuesday over whether President Bush was trying to win political points by using a September 11 anniversary speech to defend the war in Iraq and his war on terror. ...

Democrats, in a campaign to win control of Congress from the president's Republican Party, charged that Bush was using a national day of mourning for partisan gain. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday that Bush was "more consumed by staying the course in Iraq and playing election-year politics." ...

In the speech broadcast in prime time on the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks, the president described a brutal enemy still determined to kill Americans, perhaps with weapons of mass destruction if they get the chance.

"If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons," Bush said. "We are in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world." ...

With his party's control of Congress at stake in elections less than two months away, Bush suggested that political opponents who are calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be giving victory to the terrorists.

"Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone," Bush said from the Oval Office ...

While Democrats have been using public opposition to the Iraq war to argue for a change of leadership in Congress, Bush's prime-time address showed how he has been able to use the power of incumbency to command public attention and make his points. Democrats objected to the tone.

"The president should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to commandeer the airwaves to give a speech that was designed not to unite the country and commemorate the fallen but to seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had nothing to do with 9/11," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said in a statement. "There will be time to debate this president's policies in Iraq. September 11th is not that time." ...

[Bush spokesman Tony] Snow noted that Emanuel, Kennedy and other Democrats attacked the speech shortly after the president was finished speaking, suggesting they were the ones who injected politics. "It appears that there had been a desire immediately after the speech to go ahead and make partisan points," he said. ...

Bush delivered a message to bin Laden and other terrorists who are still on the run. "No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice," Bush said.

Also from CNN: Bush's 9/11 speech sparks bitter partisan squabbles.

John's alternate title for this cartoon: "Snakes on a Train."

UDPATE I -- Sept. 13: From The Boston Herald: Letter across the divide by Jules Crittenden.

But enough about me.Some questions for you: Do you actually think our own president is a greater menace to world peace and stability than our opponents would be with nuclear weapons?Are we to accept the word of tyrants that they were well-intentioned and not engaged in weapons programs when all the evidence has convinced our leaders and intelligence agencies that they are?

UPDATE II -- Sept. 15: At least one Democrat has a plan for the War on Terrorism. John Kerry offered Five Priorities for Keeping America Secure, the first steps being to "redeploy from Iraq" and "re-commit to Afghaniston" (hat tip Antonio E. Gonzalez). Once, at the very end, Kerry manages to use the phrase "Islamic extremists," which is the only mention of Islam. Hamas gets a passing mention, but conspicuously absent is Iran. The expected multilateralism is there though:

*Work Through Global Institutions. Working through global institutions doesn't tie our hands it invests in our aims with greater legitimacy and dampens the fear and resentment that our preponderant power sometimes inspires in others.

I certainly don't agree with that assessment, but Bush might.

And things are not looking up in Afghanistan. Bill Roggio reports that Pakistan has a made a truce with the Taliban. (via TIA Daily)

According to Adnkronos International, the Taliban is now "calling the shots in North and South Waziristan." The Taliban and Pakistan have agreed on a truce that ensures the Pakistani Army "will not carry out operations against them" in North Waziristan. The tribal Jirga confirms this, and Pakistani troops have now withdrawn from North Waziristan.

These truces are fueling the resurgence of Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pak=
istan, and by default Afghanistan.

Posted by Forkum at September 12, 2006 06:14 PM
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