Thursday, September 16, 2004

Craig Unger : War president' Bush has always been soft on terror; His campaign says vote Republican or die - but he lets al-Qaida off the hook

Where's George Orwell when we need him? Because we Americans need him. We desperately need him. Consider: in August 2001, immediately after reading a memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US", President George Bush went bass fishing - and never called a meeting to discuss the issue.

A month later, on September 11, when he was told that the terrorists had attacked, Bush spent the next seven minutes reading a children's book, The Pet Goat, with a group of schoolchildren.

And when it comes to his own military service, recent revelations show that Bush got out of fighting in Vietnam thanks to his dad's political clout. Even then, Bush didn't fulfil his obligations to the National Guard.

Yet somehow the Bush-Cheney ticket is convincing Americans that only a Republican administration can handle national security. If John Kerry wins, Dick Cheney warned: "The danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating." The choice is simple: Vote Republican, or die. And voters are buying it.

A poll just after the Republican convention showed that 27% of the voters preferred Bush to Kerry when it came to national security. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that if Bush wins in November it will be because of the fear factor.

Yet the truth is that Bush is actually soft on terror. When it comes to going after the men who were behind 9/11 and who continue to wage a jihad against the US, Bush has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the forces behind terrorism, shielded the people who funded al-Qaida, obstructed investigations and diverted resources from the battle against it.

(click on the title for the whole article)

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