Sunday, September 09, 2007

Are we Safer today? The right and the wrong of it.

The WashingtonPost has a piece today by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton who are the former chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 commission. The title is "Are we safer today?" To them, the answer is no. I think we are, but I am certainly willing to listen to other voices, but it's hard to have respect for them when they say something like this:

We face a rising tide of radicalization and rage in the Muslim world -- a trend to which our own actions have contributed. The enduring threat is not Osama bin Laden but young Muslims with no jobs and no hope, who are angry with their own governments and increasingly see the United States as an enemy of Islam.

So...the answer is giving young Muslims jobs? So they think that the young terrorists turn to radical Islam because they have no hope for the future? May I remind these gentleman of the background of the 19 hijackers from 9-11?? Almost all were well educated and middle class or even wealthy, among them an architect, teacher, and a law student. So please spare me the notion that it is poverty that drives some to fanatical Islam.

Then there is this:

Four years ago, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld famously asked his advisers: "Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?"
The answer is no.

Really? And what proof have you of this? Have you polled the radical mosques in the Middle East? Have you sent someone out to count terrorists like the census bureau does when counting Americans? I really want to know how you know this. It would have been nice to give that information in the article.

From everything that I have read about radical Muslims, they saw the United States as a paper tiger. They hit us over and over in the 90's and we basically did nothing. So they kept hitting us. Then, when we showed military might by going into Iraq, they have, by some wild coincidence, stopped hitting us.

Also, by some wild coincidence, we keep thwarting terror attacks. Yet, according to these gentlemen, we are not safer.

Then there is this:

Moreover, no question inflames public opinion in the Muslim world more than the Arab-Israeli dispute. To empower Muslim moderates, we must take away the extremists' most potent grievance: the charge that the United States does not care about the Palestinians. A vigorous diplomatic effort, with the visible, active support of the president, would bolster America's prestige and influence -- and offer the best prospect for Israel's long-term security.

Visible active support of the President? You mean like this?: ( From Pres. Bush, 2002)

My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security. There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror. Yet, at this critical moment, if all parties will break with the past and set out on a new path, we can overcome the darkness with the light of hope. Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born.

I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.

And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East.


I can understand the deep anger and despair of the Palestinian people. For decades you've been treated as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Your interests have been held hostage to a comprehensive peace agreement that never seems to come, as your lives get worse year by year. You deserve democracy and the rule of law. You deserve an open society and a thriving economy. You deserve a life of hope for your children. An end to occupation and a peaceful democratic Palestinian state may seem distant, but America and our partners throughout the world stand ready to help, help you make them possible as soon as possible.

Not only does this show a fundamental understanding and sympathy for Palestinians, but a vision of hope for the future to live in peace with the Israeli's. But why stick with facts when propaganda will do? It is not the fault of Pres. Bush or our govt. if Palestinians cannot strive for the vision Bush stated above. But none of this seems to "count" in their eyes.

More from the WaPo article:

Military power is essential to our security, but if the only tool is a hammer, pretty soon every problem looks like a nail. We must use all the tools of U.S. power -- including foreign aid, educational assistance and vigorous public diplomacy that emphasizes scholarship, libraries and exchange programs -- to shape a Middle East and a Muslim world that are less hostile to our interests and values. America's long-term security relies on being viewed not as a threat but as a source of opportunity and hope.

I agree with this one part, But it seems to be making an assumption that isn't true, that the U.S. is doing none of those things. On the contrary we have begun to "use all of the tools of U.S. power." An e-mail I recieved a while back stated the following:

3,100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq.

Teachers now earn 12 to 25 times their former salaries.

25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program.

There are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

There 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations.

sources: Coalition provisional authority briefing and Forbes magazine.

I'm sure that many reading the article in WaPo will assume that none of this is going on. It's like a parent lecturing a kid to do his homework while the kid is busy doing it.

I am just sick and tired of the United States and Pres. Bush getting no credit for all the things we have done right. And they are not small things.

The Petraeus report comes out tomorrow. I am sure there will be mixed reactions and mixed reviews on whether the surge is working. But I can guarentee you that none of the postive will be emphasised. None of the progress touted in the MSM.

Because the United States is like the underappreciated wife. No one notices all the things that get done, only those things that do not.