• From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 12:55:48 -0400

Ursula: I don't watch much American news, so am occasionally lulled into thinking that everyone disapproves of Bush and his phony war.

From my point of view, Bush doesn't take the war seriously enough. His ouster of Saddam was marred by corruption and incompetence in countless ways. Bush distorted intelligence about Iraq in order to rally public opinion behind his invasion plan. He also shows little interest in real homeland security, such as border control, more rapidly securing loose nukes, etc. There are good reasons not to trust his administration. Given the planless follow-through, the Iraq regime change campaign was a mistake.

That said, I agree with Bill Clinton that an immediate or premature withdrawal of troops would cause more problems than would be caused by staying the course. And in the larger picture of combating "terrorists of global reach," we can't reasonably call that a "phony war," although I know many list members see Iraq as a symbol of the entire war.

Consequently, I would rather err on the side of winning that war than on the side of protecting the individual rights of terror suspects. I mean, we did that in the '90s. We treated terrorism as a criminal issue, going so far as to hamstring FBI agents pursuing Bin Laden, thwarting CIA operatives who had a chance to effectuate a popular revolution in Iraq, and turning a blind eye to terror-preaching mullahs in Europe and elsewhere. The results were that the problem just got worse and the stakes of the attacks got higher and higher.

If we don't get this right, there will be nuclear terror attacks in our lifetimes. Bush doesn't have it right, but the political alternatives I see presented are practically suicidal.

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