17 May 2003

Has GW Bush Been an Effective Leader in the War on Terrorism?

Let's see, the Iraq war did the terrorists a favor, a respected non-partisan British think-tank with no anti-Bush bias declared Al Qaeda ""more insidious and just as dangerous" as it was before 9/11/01, the Bush administration refusal to pay for measures to secure ports and other sensitive facilities, the resurgence of warlords and comeback of the Taliban in Afghanistan, etc. ... But as Paul Krugman points out rather lucidly in his latest column, the Bush administration is all about the perception of matters, not addressing the real terrorism danger...

The administration's antiterror campaign makes me think of the way television studios really look. The fancy set usually sits in the middle of a shabby room, full of cardboard and duct tape. Networks take great care with what viewers see on their TV screens; they spend as little as possible on anything off camera.

And so it has been with the campaign against terrorism. Mr. Bush strikes heroic poses on TV, but his administration neglects anything that isn't photogenic.

I've written before about the Bush administration's amazing refusal to pay for even minimal measures to protect the nation against future attacks - measures that would secure ports, chemical plants, nuclear facilities and so on. (But the Department of Homeland Security isn't completely ineffectual: this week it helped Texas Republicans track down their Democratic colleagues, who had staged a walkout.)

What about the defeat of Saddam?
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