War on terror a defining issue

The fate of President George W. Bush’s global “war on terror” is on the line, as the 2008 White House race heats up and Democratic and Republican hopefuls feud over how to keep Americans safe.

Republicans endorse Bush’s approach, warning of the stark menace of Islamic fundamentalism, and agree with the president’s view that Iraq is a central front of the struggle.

Adopting Bush’s 2004 election playbook, they also accuse Democrats of failing to even comprehend the mortal threat from terrorism.

Democrats, while vowing to avenge any future attacks, accuse Bush of botching the anti-terror fight, and argue Iraq was a disastrous diversion.

Hillary Clinton and rival John Edwards have squabbled over whether the “war on terror” actually exists, and the former first lady has also sparred with another adversary Barack Obama over whether to strike Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

In 2004, Bush sold the case that Americans were safer under his leadership than they would have been under Democratic challenger John Kerry.

But now, with US troops mired in Iraq and signs Al-Qaeda is regrouping, foreign policy looms as the dominant issue in the coming election.

“I think Iraq and national security will be top issues in 2008,” said Costas Panagopoulos, of Fordham University’s campaign management program.

Stephen Flanagan, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Democrats will try to capitalize on uncertainty about US anti-terror tactics among voters.

“There is a sense the Bush strategy hasn’t been so effective, and there is a need for a more nuanced and sophisticated approach, that’s what the Democrats are wrestling with,” he said.

Senator Clinton, who often notes that she represents New York, the prime target on September 11, 2001, has carved out a tough image on national security.

She promises no mercy should Al-Qaeda strike again in the heart of a US city, saying in a campaign debate in March: “I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate.”

But in a speech in Washington in June, Clinton condemned the “bluster and intimidation” of Bush’s approach and pledged to renew US alliances and crack down on nuclear proliferation.

Clinton has also accused Obama of endangering US ally President Pervez Musharraf after he said he would be ready to strike Al-Qaeda on Pakistani soil.

That comment detracted from Obama’s unveiling last month of a new anti-terror strategy, in which he pledged to end the war in Iraq and send more troops to the “the right battlefield” in Afghanistan.

Obama also pledges to dry up sources of terrorism with billions of dollars in new US foreign aid, end the use of “torture” interrogation methods and close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

One aide said Obama wants to overturn “conventional wisdom” on foreign policy, after he said that as president he would meet leaders of US foes including Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

And the Illinois senator claims Clinton’s foreign policy would mirror that of the current president as “Bush-Cheney lite.”

Third ranked Democrat Edwards rejects the premise of “war on terror” as a “bumper sticker,” not a “strategy to make America safe.”

Edwards advocates a preventive strategy of strong diplomacy, a battle against global poverty and improved intelligence gathering.

Among Republicans, front-runner Rudolph Giuliani has used his stewardship as mayor of New York after September 11 as the basis of his campaign.

He largely embraces the Bush approach and savages Democrats, saying Democrats are “back in the 1990s” during a debate in New Hampshire in June.

“This war is not a bumper sticker. This war is a real war.”

Rival Mitt Romney also takes a tough line, vowing on one occasion to “double Guantanamo” and writing this year in Foreign Affairs journal of the need for a war against “the Jihadists.”

Former senator Fred Thompson, expected to jump into the Republican race next month, is also a hawk.


  1. Steve Horn

    As I see it, we’re not involved in a global war on terror, we’re involved in a war to secure a large pool of oil beneath the sands of Iraq. We’re attempting to exercise impearlistic control over peoples and resources outside of our national borders.
    Even if we manage to gain control over the people and resources of Iraq, an examiniation of the history of colonial powers would reveal that our hold will be short lived and the price paid far in excess of any material gains.
    I’m not saying that we’ve failed to accomplish anything through our agressive tactics. We’ve started a civil war, we’ve managed to end the lives of thousands of both civilians and military men and women, we’ve lowered our position in the global community, we’ve given Iran and other states more power and status in the world than they could have every managed to accumulate on their own and we’ve shown ourselves to be the thoughtless greedy bastards that many had suspected us of being for years.
    No, this is not a war on global terrorisim, this is a clear example of a thoughtless, agressive group of people attempting to use force rather than negotiation as a means to an end, in this case, that end is oil.



  2. SEAL

    It’s obvious to anyone who is looking and with an IQ above a chimpanzee that our government is moving ever more rapidly to destroy the foundation upon which our nation has functioned for more than 200 years. Our Constitution was constructed to protect the people from government and the only way it could be changed was if the people allowed it. By creating three co-equal branches, they felt that would prevent any one group of bad guys from taking over. They were right, it did, until all three branches became controlled by the same one group of bad guys and the people allowed them to do as they pleased.

    Consequently, by working in unison, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches have successfully removed several critical protections from the peoples constitutional rights and gained control of at least 80% of the pubilic information.

    The protections they have removed are specifically chosen to inhibit the peoples power to control government and they have been very successfull in preventing this knowledge from being “exposed” to the general population by a free media. What they have done is obvious, open for all to see, but the public is unaware of the purpose for these changes. Only those who have viewed the government’s actions with a critical and distrusting eye are aware of the danger the people now face.

    Unless the people wake up and take action very soon, assert the power granted to them by the constitution, raise their voice as one to take control, and reverse the governments actions, they will soon face the decision of consenting to the dictatorial rule of corporate facism or formally revolting against their government. The first would be the end of democracy in the world and the second would be a violent and bloody conflict.

    The attitude most people have that their vote will set things right in 2008 is wishfull thinking. What they do not realize is that the only reason they have not already been fully reduced to a corporate dictatorship is because of the heroic will and determination of the Afghan Taliban and Iraqi insurgents and [this will be difficult to accept] the terrorists. If not for the inability of our government to gain control of Afghanistan and Iraq, they would have moved ahead with ending the american democracy and their NWO plans by leaps and bounds.

    Imagine the power they would have if they were in peaceful occupation of puppet governments of both of those countries and in control of that Iraqi oil? Forunately for the american people and the world, they completely misunderstood and underestimated the people of the Middle East. Their arrogance prevents them from learning anything from history.

    I lend my voice in support of Carl Nemo [who is far supperior to me in detailing the facts] to urge the people of the United States of America to WAKE UP and act NOW to let our government know there will be no more of this nonsense, that WE have the power in this nation, and they will serve OUR wishes or they will no longer be in government.

  3. douin

    All I can say is Thank God that there are such enlightened people still around such as Seal and Steve..and willing to speak out. Too many are hiding behind that proverbial tree and hoping that they will not be noticed if worse comes to worse.

    Scary…as it reminds me that is exactly what the German people, among others, did before Hitler unleashed his goal of World Domination upon us all. To fight evil, one must speak up. As Edmund Burke said, ” All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We need more brave men and women to come to the fore and speak out, or else we are lost. Remember, it only takes a few that are willing to come out from behind that tree…then more will follow. There is safety in numbers.

  4. EdEKit

    It is time for those of us who are opposed to the Invasion and conquest of Iraq to stop playing their game.

    The correct response to any statement that we are fighting “The War on Terror,” is this. AL QAEDA is the enemy.