Michael Totten is a pretty smart guy, so it makes me pipe up when I think that he’s way off base on something. Essentially Michael’s argument says that 9.11 so changed the philosophy of President Bush that he has been enlightened, and has decided to bring freedom to the oppressed in the hopes of fighting terrorism. The problem with this admittedly optimistic view of things is that it doesn’t really pan out when you look at the evidence.
I get a lot of grief for not giving the President mega-kudos for his actions in Afghanistan, but to be honest he did what any American president would have done in the aftermath of an attack (It’s not like FDR had a choice about entering WWII after Pearl Harbor), and the credit is due to the soldiers who did the fighting – and even Donald Rumsfeld’s strategy (that one’s going to come back to haunt me). I do still feel that his address to the nation right after is the best of his career and transcended traditional right-left politics, but it was sadly all downhill from there. Bush dresses up his foreign policy in the drapery of fighting terrorism, but in fact he is focused like a laser beam on preserving the old order. How else can you explain the logic that in order to fight an oppressive middle-eastern rulership that does not allow political opposition and directly, conclusively supports terrorism our answer was the invasion and occupation of Iraq rather than squeezing the Saudis until they choked ? I understand the importance of oil to our economy, but I think most Americans would be willing to pay more for unleaded if it meant less terrorism.
We preserved the old order by invading Iraq under dubious to false pretenses (I’m still waiting for Operation: Congo Freedom if our new business is honestly liberating the oppressed. The African subcontinent is sure to be the next Afghan-style hiding place for the next Bin Laden.)and making a mad dash to secure that country’s oil reserves to make deals with the same interests that made up the inner circle of Bush’s contributors. Next to prostitution, that’s the oldest game in town – and really not that different when it comes down to it.
It will be refreshing to have an American president who honestly believes bringing freedom to those who need it helps fight terror, but George Bush is not that man (or woman).