Bush Selling Terrorism: Voters Must Say No Sale genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

No sale

We hear an abundance of speculation about just how much of the debate about Iraq and the war on terror is motivated by political objectives or by sincere beliefs. Many of those who support the President argue that he must be sincere since he holds steady in his beliefs that we must defeat the terrorists abroad or face them here in America despite a long period of poor poll numbers. They also argue that the Democrats oppose the Iraqi effort and criticize the execution of the war on terror as a matter of political expediency.

In the last couple weeks, the President and his Party have begun a new offensive in the war on terror...one that seeks to import maximum fear into the American psyche in order to stem the tide of an apparent voter exodus away from the policies of this administration. Perhaps I'm overreaching, but it seems to me that the GOP is expanding the breadth and depth of the war on terror into an ideological clash of civilizations characterized as a battle against Islamofascism in order to buy votes. The New York Times discusses this shift away from a focus on al-Qaeda in a new article published today.

Mr. Bush has long argued that Iraq has become the “central front’’ of the war on terror and that one benefit of the war there has been to draw extremists together in one place where they can be fought far from American shores. But the strategies discussed in the report generally apply less to Iraq than to the new breed of small terror groups springing up around the world, and the report acknowledged that “the ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry.’’

While the President may be correct in his analysis that the war on terrorism is expanding to other regions, he fails to see that his approach to the issue...particularly his decision to invade Iraq and the fact that progress in the troubled country seems elusive...may well be creating the new threats. Further, as he heightens his rhetoric in order to win votes by inferring that the origin of these extremists is Islam, he foments more animosity in more countries and the terrorism equation keeps growing.

If we concede that the President is sincerely motivated...and I might be inclined to concede as much...it nonetheless doesn't make him right. Additionally, if his approach is wrong and it is actually inciting more terrorists, then his convictions simply amplify the problem and diminish the potential for him to chart a new course. In the end, his rhetoric may well be more dangerous if it is sincere...but one cannot argue that his recent remarks aren't political. The fact that his politics stem from his ideology is no comfort to the many Americans that simply reject his conclusions. In fact, that merely makes it all the more important to counter his politics.

“Our effective counterterrorist efforts, in part, have forced the terrorists to evolve and modify their ways of doing business,’’ the White House report said. “Today, the principal terrorist enemy confronting the United States is a transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks and individuals.’’

In recent speeches, Mr. Bush has taken to calling the enemy “Islamo-fascists.’’ Today’s report said that what united the movement was “a common goal of ushering in totalitarian rule,’’ but did not use the president’s term, saying instead that the terrorists were exploiting Islam.

At a briefing about the report, the White House homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, said that “bin Laden remains the number-one target, but he’s not the only target.’’

“The greatest threat to us is this ideology of violent extremism, and its greatest public proponent is Osama bin Laden,’’ Ms. Townsend said.

Ms. Townsend said that “the long-term antidote to terrorism is freedom and democracy.’’

It’s easy to see that the President's politics is, like the terrorists, an ideology. The problem that presents is that it is heard by the opposing extremists as a desire to impose that ideology...not to simply extinguish terrorism. In that subtlety, Islamists who might otherwise oppose the activities of terrorists are drawn into the battle as they feel their way of life is being threatened...and one would be hard pressed to assure them otherwise. For a President who made it a point prior to his initial election to distance himself from the notion of nation building, he has now become the very thing that bin Laden and his ilk felt existed prior to 9/11...that the leader of Western Civilization was bent on exporting it to the entire world.

Until that perception is quelled, it seems reasonable to presume that the conflict will expand. Clearly it is time for voters to reject whatever the President is selling...it is just too costly.

Daniel DiRito | September 5, 2006 | 11:39 AM
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Comments

1 On September 6, 2006 at 4:17 PM, Lemming Herder wrote —

It's the same old song and dance.

I once saw an advertisement for a fake cellular phone to be mounted in your car (it was an old ad). That's what thsi administration is like.

It's not what is, but what they can make people believe it is.

http://dontbealemming.com/2006/09/06/president-bush-says-terrorists-goals-are-clear-can-we-say-the-same.aspx

Posted by the Lemming Herder from Don’t Be A Lemming!

2 On September 7, 2006 at 1:49 PM, whig wrote —

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson had some choice words.

Thought Theater at Blogged

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