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Six Years of What?

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This week, we mark the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And where do we stand? Let's see.

Osama bin Laden is still at large, and continues to taunt us.

Al-Qaeda and its sympathizers continue to plan attacks on Americans and our allies.

Top foreign policy experts say that we are losing the war on terror.

And Americans feel less safe today than ever before.

All this despite our having to take our shoes off in airports.

All this despite the fact that I am not allowed to carry a four-ounce bottle of shampoo onto an airplane.

All this despite the Bush administration's insistence that only George W. Bush can keep us safe, and that a vote for John Kerry would have been a vote for the terrorists.

And all this despite Bush's assertions that we are fighting the terrorists over there so we won't have to fight them over here.

Instead of keeping us safe, Bush diverted our attention and resources from a noble effort in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was hiding, and chose to wage an unprovoked war of aggression on an unarmed country that had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11 and posed no threat to us. As of this writing, Bush's Iraq adventure has cost the lives of 3,762 U.S. troops and countless innocent Iraqi men, women, and children.

Instead of keeping us safe, Bush turned the world against us with his arrogant cowboy-style foreign policy, bypassing the United Nations and international law. Shoot first, ask questions later.

And, of course, when questions do get asked, it's done under what they like to call "enhanced interrogation techniques" (so they don't have to call it "torture").

Yes, instead of keeping us safe, Bush has his advisors engage in semantic and legal gymnastics to justify torture, even as he denies its use.

Instead of keeping us safe, Bush kidnaps "terror suspects", their families, and anyone that the bounty hunters care to sell us for whatever reason and whatever price. He locks them up in places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and he throws away the key.

Or he sends them to other countries that are known for their use of torture, and lets them do the interrogating.

Instead of keeping us safe, Bush methodically undermines the rights and liberties that until now were guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. He spies on us without court warrants, he does away with habeas corpus, and he establishes secret prisons, and military kangaroo courts that mock the rule of law.

If anyone complains, Bush simply has his servants in Congress pass legislation that legalizes Bush's illegal activities.

And I fear that it will not stop, because Congress chooses to represent the White House rather than We The People.

Barring impeachment, Bush still has another 16 months in office. Imagine how much more damage he can do.

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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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