I think these words are far too
strong to describe my reaction to the presidents
new ad campaign. It is better to get worked up over
his actual performance than the usual political posturing
that goes on before an election. But given that, where
does Bush get off taking credit for being a strong leader
after Sept. 11?
There were some things that the president did right.
For example, he addressed the nation very quickly. Soon
after the attacks he visited New York and stayed at
Ground Zero while the Secret Service felt it was still
too dangerous. He promised that we would fight terrorism.
The problem is that any person in office would have
stayed to rally the morale of those at Ground Zero.
Any president would have had to address the nation very
quickly after the attacks to ensure citizens that the
government hadnt fallen. As for fighting terrorism,
the Bush administration appeared to be somewhat in the
dark before Sept. 11. According to Bushs former
counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke, the administration
seemed unaware and complacent about the rising terror
threat. Taking military action against al Qaeda was
inevitable from the moment the first plane hit.
is a strong leader if what you want is to be someone
who uses terrorism as a ticket to an election. It took
three months before we sent troops to Afghanistan. Troops
should have been breathing down al Qaedas neck
from the moment we made the link. The Bush administration
explored diplomatic avenues even though Afghanistan
was harboring terrorists and did nothing to remove them.
The Taliban had a terrible human rights record, and
we still waited three months before we marched in. All
this with a clear act of aggression against our country.
Fast-forward to Iraq and we see a very different tact
from the administration. There was no conclusive proof
that Saddam Hussein had a link to al Qaeda, or that
there were weapons of mass destruction. There had been
no attack on U.S. soil since 2001 and Saddam was showing
the same resistance to U.N. inspections that he had
since the end of the first Gulf War. With many voices
from around the world saying that there were still diplomatic
avenues to explore, we launched a pre-emptive strike
against Iraq. Iraq did have a terrible human rights
record, but that didnt seem to play a major role
in the decision to attack Afghanistan. At best, this
is inconsistency in leadership. At worst, this is using
our nations credibility and power for a personal
The first showing of the administration was indecisive.
We had a reason to attack and waited. The second showing
was hasty and reckless. And this is considered strength
worthy of a post-Sept. 11 world? No matter how good
your marketing spin is, it cant save a faulty
product. Both of the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
show traits that a government should never exhibit.
What can we expect if Bush is elected again? If the
administration sticks with the holier-than-thou pre-emptive
war doctrine, and actually applies consistent reasoning,
the United States should launch an offensive starting
with the West Coast of North Africa, sweeping through
the Middle East into the old Soviet republics, and finish
with a glorious shock and awe campaign in
China, North Korea and a handful of other East Asian
countries. So if you want blood lust, vote Bush.
Chatman is a sophomore journalism major from Arlington.