Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How George W. Bush helped Osama Bin Laden win the war on terror

By Diane Silver

I don't always agree with Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, but Cohen did a magnificent job today of stating the obvious: Osama bin Laden has won the war on terror, and George W. Bush is the person who made that victory possible.

The War on Terror -- or the WOT as Fox News likes to call it -- is not just a battle of bombs. It's a battle of ideas, and so far, Bush has played right into Bin Laden's hands. I agree with Cohen that Bin Laden couldn't have created a better situation for himself, then the one Bush has created.

There are so many ways that Bush has helped Bin Laden that to list them all, I'd have to quote Cohen's entire column, but I'll make do with just a couple of paragraphs. Cohen writes:
It is not merely that bin Laden has not been captured or killed and that videotapes keep coming out of his hideout like taunts. It is, rather, that his initial strategy has borne fruit. It was always his intention to draw the Americans into Afghanistan, where, as had been done to the Soviets, they could be mauled by the fierce mujaheddin. He tried and failed when he blew up the USS Cole off Aden at 11:15 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2000, killing 17 sailors and crippling the ship. But he succeeded beyond his wildest expectations when the United States responded to the Sept. 11 attacks by invading Afghanistan and, in a beat, then going to war in Iraq. It remains mired in both countries to this day....

How did bin Laden get so lucky? How did he get so fortunate in his choice of enemies? The Bush administration not only validated his wildest dreams -- dreams that even some of his aides thought were unrealistic -- but went even further. By using torture, by the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, by employing "extraordinary renditions" of suspects to countries where they could be tortured, by insisting on going it almost alone in Iraq, by telling the international community to shove it, by declaring a war for an idee fixe -- this fierce obsession with Hussein goes back a long way -- the United States has made itself reviled in much of the world.
Isn't it time we walked away from this madness? We can't vote Bush out of office, but we can cripple him by getting at least one Constitutional check back in place. That's why a Democratic victory in the Congressional elections is so important in November.

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