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A vote for Bush was a vote for the terrorists

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The past week was an interesting one in the so-called "war on terror".

First, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that his "gut feeling" was that the U.S. is at high risk this summer for a terrorist attack. On other words, the guy in charge of homeland security told us that the homeland is not very secure.

Almost immediately afterwards, as if on cue, we learned that al-Qaeda has regrouped and is now as strong as it was before 9/11.

But wait! How can this be?

In the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won the support of "red state" voters by touting 9/11 and the "war on terror" and convincing them that only he could keep America safe. A vote for John Kerry would be a vote for the terrorists.

Now it appears that a vote for Bush was a vote for the terrorists.

Bush took his eye off the ball. He let bin Laden get away. Almost six years after the attacks of 9/11, bin Laden is still at large. And why? So we could focus instead on Iraq, which, at the time we invaded that country, posed no threat to the U.S. or our allies, and had no credible ties to al-Qaeda.

So here we are.

Iraq remains devastated. Many Iraqis believe that life for the Iraqi people is worse today than it was under Saddam Hussein. In many cases (if not most), the Iraqi people have fewer jobs, less clean water, less electricity, and a lot less security than they did before we went there. And those are the lucky ones.

Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children have lost their lives in this war.

Countless others have been tortured.

And, as of this writing, more than 3,600 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, and tens of thousands more have been wounded.

And for what? For nothing, I fear.

And every day we remain there, real security gets more and more unlikely -- for the Iraqis, for the U.S., and for our allies.

Bush had his chance, and we know now that his promises to keep us safe and effectively combat terrorism were no more credible than his promise to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Enough is enough.

There are no more good reasons to stay in Iraq. And there can be no more excuses.

Every day we remain there will result only in more death, more destruction, and less security.

And now the Iraqi president has invited us to leave.

It is time to surge the troops homeward.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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