I am tired of hearing how we have not been hit by terrorists, on our soil, since 9/11 and that George W. Bush should get credit for it. The significance of the statement, is that John McCain’s expertise in foreign affairs and how he would handle whatever may come up, will be as resolute as was the action by W., and this will result in similar safety for Americans. We also hear, that like Bush, McCain would not negotiate with leaders of nations who oppress their people and support terrorists. This, in contrast to Barack Obama, who is willing to engage.
Let’s take each of these in turn.
The fact that we have not been attacked again since 9/11, has little positive to do with what our government has done since then. Many seem to have forgotten that it was eight years between the first attack on American soil, the World Trade Center, and the second attack on the same target. The terrorists have plenty of time to set up their attacks, and they take it. From their point of view, the next one must be more spectacular than the last one was, and this will take time.
On the other hand, what we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq has not made us safer. It is exactly what Osama bin Laden wanted us to do. In the book The Looming Towers by Lawrence Wright, he describes how happy bin Laden was when he realized that he had finally struck us hard enough that we would retaliate by sending troops to make war in the middle east. Our attack on Afghanistan surprised him, because it turned out we could handle that, but when we didn’t finish the job and went on to attack Iraq, he could visualize how the Russians had exhausted themselves both financially and militarily in a war without end in Afghanistan and he could see us doing the same thing. All the while, he is getting more recruits than ever, just as happened when the Russians came to Afghanistan.
We have now lost more than 4,000 killed and more than 25,000 wounded, between the two wars, we’ve stretched our military to near the breaking point, and we are spending ourselves into bankruptcy. I’d say, bin Laden’s strategy is working.
Furthermore, more than 10% of the Iraqi population has been driven out of the country and are living in refugee camps. This is creating more fertile ground for bin Laden recruits.
If McCain is elected, he will continue the Bush policy and rather than “win” in Iraq, in the long run, we will lose.
My second pet peeve, is the constant confusion, or more precisely, lack of differentiation, between preparation and pre-conditions. Bush, McCain and Hillary Clinton will not engage with Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, etc., unless certain preconditions are met. This has consistently led to our not meeting with them at all. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is prepared to meet with any of them, without them first having to meet certain conditions. That does not mean taking anything off the table in negotiations. When Reagan met with Khrushchev, when Nixon went to China, when we negotiated with Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis, there were no preconditions, but the fact that we met, may well have kept us out of war.
Any such war, would have been a “preventive war” not a “preemptive war”, another area of apparent confusion that is the subject for another discussion.