Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 17, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

THE WAR ON TERROR....Greg Djerejian thinks I'm asking the wrong questions, but aside from some silly rhetorical jousting about the meaning of the word "war" he doesn't really make much of a case for why he doesn't trust John Kerry with the war on terror. After all, I don't think any of us are really surprised that Robert Kagan doesn't like Kerry.

Nor, as Laura Rozen points out, does he make much of a case for why he does trust George Bush. After all, here is Bush's record since 9/11:

  • By dedicating too few troops to Afghanistan in 2002, he allowed Osama bin Laden and much of al-Qaeda to escape. They are still on the run, and al-Qaeda is by all accounts larger and more dangerous now than they were on 9/11.

  • In the past three years he has done nothing to reform an intelligence community that is widely agreed to be fatally broken.

  • Postwar planning for Iraq was criminally negligent. The result has been chaos, troop overstretch, a violent and growing insurgency, and an increasingly safe haven for terrorist camps.

  • He has refused to negotiate with North Korea, despite their clear desire to do a deal. As a result, North Korea is close to being able to mass produce atomic weapons.

  • Domestic security is a joke. Bush has shown little interest in funding serious port security, hardening of chemical and nuclear plants, or improving local police and fire response.

So I'll ask again: aside from actually invading other countries, which I really don't think Bush is planning to do more of either, what is it about Kerry's national security policy that Greg doesn't like? The additional 40,000 troops in Iraq? The doubling of the intelligence budget? The willingness to criticize Saudi Arabia?

And aside from tough talk, what is it about Bush that he does like? Postwar Iraq has been a debacle, but even assuming you're willing to overlook that, is Iraq really so important that it overshadows every single other thing that Bush has failed to do?

I'm willing to give Bush partial points for Libya, but beyond that it's awfully hard to figure out what his successes in the war on terror are supposed to be. What am I missing?

Kevin Drum 2:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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