Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11, 2005: Are We Safer?

Four years ago today, Osama bin Laden attacked the United States. Using fuel-laden commercial airliners as weapons, a well-drilled band of al Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth airplane crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside.
The U.S. responded by attacking al Qaeda and the Talliban government in Afghanistan. But bin Laden escaped and remains at large.
President Bush, using the now-discredited claim that Saddam Hussein actively supported al Qaeda, launched an invasion of Iraq 555 days after 9/11. (Former Secretary of State Colin Powell last week called his speech to the United Nations in which he made the case for war against Iraq
a "painful blot" on his record.)
President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 to declare "an end to major combat operations" under a banner that read "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."
Today we know that the mission has not been accomplished. Al Qaeda has attacked Madrid and London. American soldiers continue to die in Iraq. The Hurricane Katrina debacle has made it clear that our national government is not prepared to keep us safe in a large scale disaster.
The United States fought and won World War II in less than four years. The most notorious Nazi leaders were standing trial in Nuremberg on the fourth anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
One reader, in response to this post, wrote that he does not think that it's fair to compare WWII and TWoT, noting that Osama bin Laden is not a fixed target. If so, why then were we led into a war that has made our troops a fixed target while al Qaeda continues to launch attacks on our allies from who knows where?
Yes we have been in a war, but our Commander-in-Chief picked the wrong battlefield.
Yes it is a good thing that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, but the Iraq war has not strengthened our strategic position in the region and the world. Yes our leader has shown resolve, but the diversion of National Guard troops and materiel has weakened out ability to protect us at home.
George Bush and Dick Cheney made keeping us safe the rationale for returning them to power in last year's election. Have they lived up to their promise? Not according to Keith Olbermann:
It [the administration] promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.
It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.
Four years after being attacked by an elusive and still lethal enemy, the time has come for our leaders to accept accountability for their performance.

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