National Security And The CA-11 Campaign
On Tuesday, Matt O. wrote about the recently-released National Intelligence Estimate. He pointed out that the NIE findings belie the Bush Administration’s assertions that the war in Iraq is somehow making us safer from terrorists. Let me just repeat these NIE quotes from Matt’s post:
"Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists … are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion. [...]Matt goes on to note that nowhere on his website does Richard Pombo even mention his support for George W. Bush’s failed Iraqi policy, and Pombo’s entire position on National Security consists of the following single sentence:
"The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement."
I am very protective of our constitutional rights as American citizens, but I find it outrageous to suggest that foreign terrorists deserve the same rights as the American citizens they seek to destroy.Now, that’s a helluva National Security Policy (and one I promise we’ll visit at length tomorrow). You see, Pombo is trying to have it both ways. While blindly supporting Bush’s Middle East tactics, Pombo is simultaneously trying to distance himself from Bush’s failed policies.
The LA Times had an interesting article on Wednesday entitled “Security Shaping Campaign.” The subtitle for the article read: ”The debate over whether Bush's policies have made the country safer is fast becoming the pivotal issue in the November elections.” Here are some excerpts from that article:
With Congress entering its final days before adjourning for the fall election campaign, the two parties are fighting over which image will be uppermost in voters' minds on Nov. 7: that the U.S. has taken the terrorism challenge head-on by invading Iraq, or that the invasion and its bloody aftermath have left the United States less safe. […]Well, no shit, Sherlock.
Democrats in past years have been reluctant to challenge the GOP on national security matters, because the issue has benefited Republicans in recent cycles and Democrats have been divided on Iraq. On Tuesday, they made it clear that they intended to fully engage their rivals on the security front this time. […]
Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, who leads Democratic strategy for House campaigns, said few developments would shape the debate like the newly revealed intelligence report.
"There was a debate as recently as two weeks ago about whether Iraq is advancing or debilitating America's interests," Emanuel said. "You have now the best minds of American intelligence saying it's debilitating, and that is affecting the political terrain for this election."
You see, the NIE is merely confirmation of what most of us already knew, either intellectually or intuitively — that the Bush Administration’s ham-handed foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 has made the world a much, much more dangerous place. If Rahm Emanuel didn’t understand this, all he had to do was check out this chart of worldwide terrorist incidents per year that was prepared by Thom K in LA.
Jerry McNerney had it figured out. He has had a long-standing foreign policy statement on his website that lays out his position very succinctly:
Our foreign policy has been hijacked by fears resulting from the terrible attacks on 9/11. Terrorists must be dealt with harshly and without compromise or negotiation. However, our foreign policy needs to be guided by a rational assessment of what actions will result in a more secure homeland.Frankly, we didn’t need the NIE to tell us that Bush’s national security policy is failing. The facts have been there all along, clearly visible to anyone willing to accept them. All we’ve needed from the very beginning were leaders courageous enough to stand up to the Bush Administration and tell the American people the truth. Leaders like Jerry McNerney.