Saturday, September 09, 2006

John Kerry: Switch the Fight to Afghanistan

John Kerry ripped into the Bush administration with his speech on national security today. He's been on a roll for the past few days since Congress has been back in session and Bush has been on the campaign trail trying to win back support for his national security failures and his war in Iraq, based on lies, with a series of redundant speeches.

The American public is tired of the fear-mongering. We need a real solid plan for national security and real leadership. John Kerry's national security plan laid out in today's speech at Boston's Faneuil Hall, puts BushCo to shame.

Kerry penned two OP/ED's today in conjunction with his speech, one from the Boston Herald that I posted earlier, and this OP/ED in the Union Leader:
John Kerry: Switch the fight to Afghanistan

Donald Rumsfeld — who should have been fired as secretary of defense long ago — gave an ugly speech in which he spoke of “moral confusion.”

There certainly is a lot of moral confusion around these days. It is immoral for old men to send young Americans to fight and die for a strategy that has not weakened terrorism but worsened it. It is immoral to treat 9/11 as a political pawn — and to continue to excuse the invasion of Iraq by exploiting the 3,000 mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who were lost that day. They were attacked and killed not by Saddam Hussein but by Osama bin Laden.

President Bush has a strategy to try to win an election. We need leadership that has a strategy to win the War on Terror.

Iraq has made America less safe. The terrorists are not on the run. Terrorist acts tripled between 2004 and 2005. Al-Qa-da has spawned a decentralized network operating in 65 countries, most of them joining since 9/11. Only Dick Cheney could call this a success.

The situation in Afghanistan deteriorates steadily. The Taliban now controls entire portions of southern Afghanistan, and across the border Pakistan is one coup away from becoming a radical jihadist state with nuclear weapons. Only George Bush could declare this “mission accomplished.”

It’s time to refocus our military efforts from the failed occupation of Iraq to what we should have been doing all along: destroying al-Qaida. We need to redeploy troops from Iraq — keep up the training and counter-terror operations, establish an over the horizon military capacity — and free up resources to fight the War on Terror.

Every time President Bush tells the Iraqis we will “stay as long as it takes,” he is giving squabbling Iraqi politicians an excuse to take as long as they want to. Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines. So we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet — a clear deadline of July, 2007. As our generals have said, the war cannot be won militarily. “Staying the course” isn’t far-sighted; it’s blind. Leaving our troops in the middle of a civil war isn’t resolute; it’s reckless. Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America’s leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion.

Neither can the administration engage in the delusion that we’ve won in Afghanistan. Last Thursday the President said we’re on the offensive against terrorists in Afghanistan, even as the NATO commander said the opposite is true and made a desperate plea for more troops to stop a major Taliban offensive.

We must recommit to Afghanistan. This administration has cut and run while the Taliban-led insurgency is retaking control over entire areas of the country. They’ve cut and run even as we’ve learned that the mastermind of the most recent attempt to blow up American airliners was an al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan. The same killers who attacked us are still plotting attacks against America and they’re still holed up in Afghanistan.

We must send significant reinforcements to Afghanistan: at least 5,000 more troops, equipment, and reconstruction funds. Five years after 9/11, the politics of deception and smear stalks this land. But this cynical strategy can not redeem a Katrina foreign policy or re-elect a rubberstamp Congress. Americans see the truth through the fog of fear.

On the other side, the only thing they have to offer is fear itself. It’s up to us to offer a new course that will actually win the war on terror.

Sen. John Kerry was the 2004 Democratic nominee for President.

  • John Kerry OP/ED: Post-9/11 Policy Hasn’t Made World Safer: Rather than occupying Iraq, we Must Destroy al-Qaeda

  • John Kerry’s ‘Real Security For America’ Speech: “The Bush-Cheney Administration Has Engaged in a Policy of Cut and Run in Iraq”

  • John Kerry Blasts ABC’s ‘Path to 9/11?

  • John Kerry on Release of Phase II Report on Misleading Iraq Intelligence

  • John Kerry on Hardball: “There is No Appropriate Torture”

  • John Kerry Responds to Bush’s Latest Speech

  • John Kerry: ‘It’s Immoral for Old Men to Send Young Americans to Fight and Die in Conflict With a Strategy That is Failing’

  • John Kerry Responds to Bush Speech on the Creation of Military Commissions to Try Suspected Terrorists

  • John Kerry Responds to Bush’s Speech to the Military Officers Association of America

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