Editor’s note: The views expressed herein are the personal views of Larry Klayman and not those of Judicial Watch.
One could not think of worse foreign policy, strategic and economic scenarios. If the Bush administration had intentionally planned it, matters could not have degenerated much more than the current state of affairs.
After the horrors of Sept. 11, Americans were united with the rest of the civilized world in the urgent need to retaliate against bin Laden and root out and destroy his terrorist comrades and client nation states, such as Iraq. After the tragedies of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, who could have blamed the United States if we used overwhelming force – tactical and small nuclear weapons if necessary – to destroy bin Laden and al-Qaida in the mountains of Tora Bora?
Who could have faulted President Bush if he had moved swiftly and unilaterally to take out Saddam Hussein, perhaps with surgical strikes, without warning and under cover of darkness, on his presidential hiding places? The premeditated and horrific attack on the United States would have been justification enough for such measures, just as the assault of Pearl Harbor provided justification for Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. When I was a young boy, we were taught, particularly during the Cuban missile crisis, that an attack on the United States would mean total destruction to the aggressors.
But the Bush administration, borrowing a page from modern-day Israeli doctrine (in recent years, the Israelis have lost their resolve to respond with overwhelming force, thereby stirring hornets’ nest after hornets’ nest), simply responded in kind, haplessly hiring mercenaries in Afghanistan to try to root out the terrorists, and beginning a war of words, which has now lasted over a year against Iraq.
And, at home, the Bush administration’s preparations for new terrorist attacks have been lagging and ill-planned. (See Judicial Watch’s book, “Fatal Neglect“). The result: bin Laden has not been taken “dead or alive,” Saddam Hussein has succeeded in driving a wedge between Western allies, anti-war protesters have had time to gather forces and Americans have been “terrorized” by constant dire predictions of doom at home by their own government.
Oh, and let us not forget, the combination of this government dithering, ineptitude and resulting uncertainty has sunk the world economy, with matters only likely to get worse as the United States must now, however late, go virtually alone into Iraq, wage war and absorb the certain huge terrorist retaliation that will follow. The “wise men” of the Bush administration have succeeded only in allowing the terrorists to succeed.
It speaks well and badly of Americans that the administration has not paid a major price in terms of its popularity ratings given the current state of affairs. We are a loyal people, even more than our “British heritage” would engender. The colonialist spirit and resolve – our pioneer mentality – was forged in hardship and the ever-present realization that life is full of tough challenges. However, we are also largely an uneducated nation, spending much of our time on distractions such on “sex, lies and videotape.”
Hence, for the moment, the Bush administration gets a virtual pass, with our anger being vented mostly on the French and Germans who, given their historic opportunistic – and in large elements of their societies, still anti-Semitic – tendencies (some French and German leaders, including President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder, have common “interests” with their Arabic brethren), have tried to throw a monkey wrench into President Bush’s belated war on Iraq.
And, the American people have not only been poorly served by the Bush administration, and a Congress that spends most of its time covering up its failure to have conducted adequate oversight of government, but by the media as well. And, I am not just talking about the so-called “liberal media.” While this segment is historically pacifist, it has tried to jump on the bandwagon of the president’s popularity and rarely, if ever, renders any strong criticism of the “war effort,” lest ratings fall.
It is indeed a phenomenon of the Clinton era that so many viewers and listeners to television and radio became increasingly conservative. The stench of Clinton’s corruption turned the country not only off, but to the right, as Americans were disgusted by not only the first family but the Democratic Party and other liberals who served as their apologists. Now, even leftist journalists are writing “fluff” books about President Bush, trying to emulate the success of Fox News. As CNN became known as the Clinton News Network during the 1990s, Fox News has become the Bush News Network.
Even a proud conservative like myself cannot watch it religiously – the drumbeat of constant propaganda can induce vomiting on a steady basis. And, when any news source or interested party dares to criticize the administration, it has been branded as unpatriotic, a charge which results in ostracism from the Washington establishment – the modern day version of biblical stoning. The “yes men of the media” have now merged. There is little difference between the liberal and conservative elements – virtually no one asks any hard questions for fear of being excluded from the party circuit.
But we must be critical. This country is far off course. The administration is now offering to “bribe” Turkey into allowing American troops to be stationed there with more money than has even been set aside to defend civilians in this country, as part of our so-called homeland security. And, the constant delay in moving against Iraq has turned the “war effort” farcical, with Saddam Hussein having the “chutzpah” to challenge G.W. Bush to a presidential debate. Another year of this rudderless and incompetent leadership, with its reliance on boasts and threats rather than swift, decisive action in fighting the war against terrorism, could doom our country. Americans must now stand up and demand a different, forceful approach that cuts the rhetoric and accomplishes real deeds. Ronald Reagan knew when to pull the trigger.
While returning on a flight to Washington from Nashville recently, I sat next to a mother of a Special Forces enlisted man. She was in Nashville to wish her son off to the Persian Gulf. I asked her if she was worried about her son and the eventuality of war with Iraq. Tellingly, the mother complained of the administration’s constant threat of war, the religious leaking of information about how it would be carried out, and the president’s continual boasts that fighting was imminent. She sounded off in exasperation by concluding, “I don’t believe we are ever going to fight, so my son bought a beach chair and towels for his trip. At least he can get a tan.” I asked if she and her son did not have trust in the administration and she replied, “Who in the military does anymore?” While undoubtedly not exemplary of every serviceman and family member in the military, this chilling story points up one of the dangers of President Bush’s incessant talk without action. He has become like the boy who cried wolf and it is harming morale.
I realize that my opinions are not going to win friends and influence people. Indeed, some of my colleagues at Judicial Watch even vehemently disagree with me. But I would feel as if I turned my back on my country if this alarm bell was not sounded. If I must take the heat, and experience the modern day equivalent of stoning, so be it. I cannot and will not sit back and watch the terrorists win this war, and see our nation, and the world, be rendered impotent to act quickly and decisively before it is too late. Let’s hope the president finally acts before matters get even worse!