Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"They will follow us"

President Bush either has no idea what he is talking about, or he is a pathological liar.

Bush exploited the fifth anniversary of 9/11 as a marketing opportunity for the continued occupation of Iraq. In his prime-time speech last night, he tried again to conflate the Iraq war with the War on Terror.

Bush began with a two-minute tribute to the "nearly 3,000" victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, but most of his 17-minute speech was devoted to justifying his foreign policy since that day. 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, with a photo of his twin daughters and the American flag behind him. "They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad."
What is he talking about?

The terrorists "will follow us" back to America if we leave Iraq? This is at least the second time Bush has used this expression. I keep waiting for him to explain what he means. One hopes that he does not literally mean that he thinks the terrorists can't find America unless they actually follow us here.

But, if that is not what he means, then the expression has no meaning. The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 found us just fine on their own. We didn't exactly leave a trail of bread crumbs for them to follow.

The phrase also fails miserably as metaphor. Terrorists are not inspired to attack simply because they sense weakness in their prospective targets. Terrorists strike because they want to make a point, and because they are evil enough to believe that killing is the best way to do so. Granted, we are more vulverable to attack under Bush's leadership, but it has nothing to do with the debate over the occupation of Iraq. It has to do with the fact of the occupation of Iraq, combined with Bush's complete failure to take common sense protective measures such as securing our ports and chemical facilities. If America is vulnerable, it is because George W. Bush has made it so.

It bears pointing out also that it is deluded to suggest or believe that America will not be attacked so long as our troops remain under fire in Iraq. Bush is right about one thing. Iraq is a festering sore of terrorism. It was not so before the American-led invasion, but it is now. However, the flypaper theory of counter-terrorism, aside from being incredibly hubristic (how dare we turn Iraq into a living hell just to make ourselves feel safer?), defies logic. There are, after all, many terrorists who have not been drawn to Baghdad. Those who blew up the train in Spain and who shot at the U.S. embassy in Damascus obviously managed to avoid getting stuck in the flypaper. And, they probably know how to look at a map and figure out where America is. In other words, fighting them over there does not guarantee by any means that we won't have to fight them here.

Bush keeps missing opportunities to unite, rather than divide, the country. Last night's address could have been used to begin healing the wounds that his policies have caused. Or, at the very least, it could have been used to mark the solemn occasion of the 9/11 anniversay without resorting to cheap politics. But, there's an election to win, so Bush fell back once again on empty phrases designed to motivate the base to go out and vote. Be afraid, Amurricans. Be very, very afraid. And vote Republican.

The goal of terrorism is to instill fear. Apparently, George W. Bush is not smart enough to understand that he is doing the terrorists' work for them.


karmic_jay said...

Fear Fear fear... that is all the shrubbery has. Will oursheeple be fooled again?

betmo said...

my thought is- so what if they do follow us back here. are we that weak that we couldn't do something about it? are our homes and shopping malls that much more important than the ones in spain or britain? their countries survive terrorist attacks and those people deal with it. no- i don't want to see terrorism happen here- but it already has and we need to get the hell over it. that is the only way we can do something about it.