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now that we figured out how to go in reverse...

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Message Jayne Stahl
After being startled today, like everybody else, by eerily-familiar live footage of yet another airplane crashing into a Manhattan skyscraper, I couldn't help but think of some comments made, a week ago, by President Bush on the campaign trail in California when he argued that Democrats are weak on national security. "If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party," the president said, "it sounds like--it sounds like-- they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again." (AP) Amen, Mr. President, but will somebody explain how is it that the party that brought us "national security" and intelligence czars wasn't able to prevent an airplane from crashing, once again, into a building in Manhattan? Where have our tax dollars gone since 9/11? Wasn't the rationale behind the "war on terror," the USA Patriot Act, and the NSA domestic surveillance program about preventing this sort of thing?

Oh, and the president isn't the only one raising questions about the Democrats ability to keep us safe. If you listened to 2008 presidential hopeful, John McCain, at a news conference yesterday, you would have heard him accuse former President Bill Clinton, the husband of his prospective nemesis, of not taking the necessary steps, in the 1990's, to prevent North Korea from going nuclear. Apart from hearing the familiar, and tired, refrain about who will keep us safe that you've heard from Bush, and Cheney, you'd swear you were listening a re-run of Fox Sunday's Chris Wallace interview of Bill Clinton.

With virtuouso chutzpah, Senator Mc Cain, like Fox anchor Chris Wallace, stepped up to the plate to "remind" Mrs.. Clinton "and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies, that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure." (AP) Yes, yes, that may be Senator, but at least her husband's administration tried to negotiate with the Koreans which puts him one step ahead of the current team. As Senator Kennedy reminds us the president was AWOL when the North Korean ambassador came to the United States, and the ambassador was sent to New Mexico to meet with Bill Richardson "because he didn't have anyone else to talk to." (AP) It's hard to play one-handed poker.

Moreover, does Mr. McCain need to be reminded that it was on President Clinton's watch, back in 1994, that U.S. negotiators convinced North Korea to suspend its nuclear program, and allow U.N. inspections. Clearly, the Bush administration has been too busy flexing its preemptive muscle as if in a furtive effort to ward off erectile dysfunction, under the thinly guised pretext of spreading democracy, and thus unavailable to such trifling, and insignificant, measures as diplomatic talks to stop nuclear proliferation. What's more, thanks to the efforts of the administration Senator McCain so staunchly defends, we have more nuclear players now than we did when Mr. Clinton was commander-in-chief, and efforts to contain proliferation have come to a decisive halt.

Sooner or later, one suspected Senator McCain would show his hand, and indeed he has emerged as the state-of-the-art cheerleader for Bush that he's been all along. Still, it's very scary when a prospective presidential candidate distorts and twists history in ways we don't expect them to, at least not until they're elected. Under Clinton, McCain says, "The Koreans received millions and millions in energy assistance. They've diverted millions of dollars of food assistance to their military." Oh, and how many "millions of dollars" of food, welfare, and medical assistance have we "diverted" to our military which, after all, has only succeeded in expanding the Halliburton bottom line.

And, while he's at the business of pointing fingers,as a prominent member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, McCain should move that finger a bit closer to home, say, in the direction of the current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld who, you may recall was CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals from 1977-1985, and on the board of the ABB Group, the company that built the atomic reactor in North Korea. Mr. Rumsfeld was also head of a few notable pharmaceutical companies, G.D. Searle, Gilead Sciences, and worked with Bechtel, in Iraq, in the 1980's on a pipeline project. (Rath Foundation) Indeed, our illustrious Secretary of Defense reportedly even visited Baghdad, back in 1983, and discussed "topics of mutual interest" with the leader he recently worked diligently to depose, Saddam Hussein.

So, while some in Congress, and on Fox News, appear to be intent upon airing the previous administration's dirty laundry, it might not be a bad idea for them to pay a visit to the local dry cleaners first. Backing in to a tight space only works when one knows how to back out.. Now that we figured out how to go in reverse, it's time to learn how to go forward..
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Jayne Stahl Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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