A forked and evasive tongue

George Bush speaks:

Since the removal of Saddam, this war – like other wars in our history – has been difficult. The mission of American troops in urban raids and desert patrols – fighting Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists – has brought danger and suffering and loss. This loss has caused sorrow for our whole Nation – and it has led some to ask if we are creating more problems than we are solving.

The war is undeclared – unlike most other wars in our history – but whatever. The question is fair.

That is an important question, and the answer depends on your view of the war on terror. If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone.

Nice little bait and switch there. The statement is true, but fails to answer the question. The question was not if George Bush believed that terrorists would become peaceful if America stopped provoking them, but if we are creating more problems than we are solving, which is a paraphrase of Rumsfeld’s proposed metric of success.

This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims – a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed. Terrorist operatives conduct their campaign of murder with a set of declared and specific goals – to de-moralize free nations … to drive us out of the Middle East … to spread an empire of fear across that region … and to wage a perpetual war against America and our friends. These terrorists view the world as a giant battlefield – and they seek to attack us wherever they can. This has attracted al Qaida to Iraq, where they are attempting to frighten and intimidate America into a policy of retreat.

Retreat from what? Having our troops stationed in every corner of the globe in a misguided, quasi-imperial Pax Americana? We don’t belong in the Middle East and the Islamic empire has stretched across the Middle East since the 700s. I further note that we did retreat from Saudi Arabia post-9/11, that there’d be no need to retreat from Iraq if George hadn’t ordered 160,000 troops there in the first place, and that George still hasn’t answered the question he raised.

The terrorists do not merely object to American actions in Iraq and elsewhere – they object to our deepest values and our way of life. And if we were not fighting them in Iraq … in Afghanistan … in Southeast Asia … and in other places, the terrorists would not be peaceful citizens – they would be on the offense, and headed our way.

This is a weird argument which assumes that because America is attacking Iraqis, non-Iraqis can’t attack America. It makes no sense. Sure, foreign terrorists can go to Iraq and Afghanistan if they want to attack American troops, but they remain just as free to walk across the Mexican border if they want.

September 11th, 2001 required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq … we were not in Afghanistan … but the terrorists attacked us anyway – and killed nearly 3,000 men, women, and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad … removing their safe havens … and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share.

This is spin worthy of a Clinton. The facts are that we were in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabians attacked America because, according to the Saudis supposedly responsible, they didn’t want American troops in Saudi Arabia. This is just a wildly dishonest paragraph, as even Rumsfeld has freely admitted that we do create terrorists by fighting them, the important question – which George Bush avoids – is whether we create them faster than we kill them.

What’s sickening is the way that this is cited as being “terrific and important” and “a great address” by Three Monkeys like NRO editor Katharine Lopez.