The first presidential election since the act of war on September 11, 2001, offers a clear choice for the so-called war on terrorism, a term which is precisely the problem. As others have pointed out, terrorism is a tactical means to an end: America is engaged in a war against religious fundamentalism and, under President Bush, America is losing.
Three years after America’s worst attack, the President has failed to strike the enemy’s core. Every major state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, especially Iran, is firmly entrenched, if not emboldened. Al Qaeda is still active, beheading and bombing Americans across the globe. Both U.S.-led incursions, neither of which were proper declarations of war, accomplished nothing meaningful for America’s defense; by most accounts, Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers dispersed and, seen with the most rose-colored glasses, the Iraq invasion has been transformed into an act of altruism with America’s soldiers as Christian missionaries.
Instead, Bush has created a new government agency called Homeland Security, a fortress approach which not even Bush expects will defend us, recently declaring that stopping another attack is “up in the air,” (which evoked his earlier declaration, later barely retracted, that winning the war is impossible.)
Such determinism leads to pure defeatism: negotiating with North Korea and Iran, groveling before the United Nations for months, turning the other cheek at Fallujah, refusing to bomb mosques in Najaf, dropping food packages before bombs in Afghanistan, proposing the creation of a Palestinian state in each instance, acting explicitly for the sake of others, not in America’s self-interest.
Sacrifice also explains Bush’s domestic politics, which means major restrictions on speech, business and medicine. Bush merged faith and state with his state-sponsored opposition to abortion, cloning and embryonic stem cell research, a proposed Constitutional amendment to establish a religious definition of marriage and an office of religion in the White House.
Faced with the prospect of nuclear, biological or chemical war, Bush has pledged to pray in moments of crisis when asked during a debate how he knows what he knows, he answered that his knowledge comes from feelings — and his faith-based government has incited a revival of religious fundamentalism.
There is not one proper American principle Bush claims to uphold which he does not render meaningless with his actions. Bush once declared North Korea and Iran part of an axis of evil only to allow both countries to accelerate nuclear weapons programs and threaten to strike America. Bush ordered the Marines to attack Fallujah — only to command them to stand down during battle. Bush denounced state sponsorship of Islamism only to capitulate to Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
The President neither explicitly defined nor properly declared — let alone waged and won — the war. When he should have urged Congress to declare war on states that sponsor terrorism — he trivialized it as a war on a tactic. When he should have named the enemy, Islamism, asserted America’s right to self-defense and waged war on those who sponsor it he praised Islam, reduced the military to a mission of mercy and left Afghanistan and Iraq to the ayatollahs, whom Bush regards as free to elect an Islamist dictatorship.
Each argument against Kerry — liberal, willing to yield to the United Nations, eager to expand government — applies to Bush first. Kerry’s agenda may meet resistance in Congress, which blocked Truman’s and Clinton’s socialized medicine; Bush’s faith-based domestic and foreign policy will spread.
Should Sen. Kerry enact his worst war views including globalism and his anti-nuclear notions he, too, will fail to win the war, but he will have failed without having his policies wrongly branded an offense.
Without the façade of strength, Kerry’s appeasement will be judged as appeasement and at least Kerry’s presidency holds the faint promise of gridlock in government intervention and an end to America’s sacrifice in Iraq.
Bush the cowboy is a fraud—these war years have been one appeasement after another—and the enemy knows it. As the head of Iran’s war council, endorsing Bush over Kerry, said: “[D]espite his hard line and baseless rhetoric against Iran, he didn’t take, in practical terms, any dangerous action against Iran.” That is exactly why George W. Bush, who refuses to properly define, declare, wage and win the war against Islamism, must not be re-elected.