Monday, September 25, 2006

Another Right-Wing Frenzy

The right wing have been building themselves into a frenzy over the recent ABC drama and the recent interview with Bill Clinton on Fox News. The reason for this frenzy is, as always, nothing more than a distraction from the facts, a classic case of sleight of hand. Recent events have conspired to expose the arguments of the right as nothing more than pure fabrication. Consequently, an attack on the 'left' (as if Clinton really represents the left) is depressingly predictable. Perhaps the only real surprise about the attacks, is what they have focused on - the 'war on terror'.

It is fairly clear to all but the rabid right, that if there is indeed a 'war on terror' the western powers are losing the battle. On the foreign front, they face catastrophe in Afghanistan and anarchy in Iraq. Recent reports have only gone to highlight the massive tactical errors that were made by Bush and the neocons. First came the report on the supposed 'links' between Hussein and Al-Qaeda. The report highlighted the huge mis-judgement made by the White House in pursuing Bush's obsession with Iraq, rather than securing Afghanistan and eradicating the threat from Al-Qaeda. Instead of concentrating on fighting a war on one front, he decided to open a second front (a classic military mistake). As a result of this tactical error, Bin Laden is still on the loose and, if the loony right are to be believed, a constant threat to the United States and her 'coalition partners'. Then came the report that confirmed every intelligent persons suspicions, that the war in Iraq had increased the threat of terrorism, not reduced it. The report was compiled by 16 intelligence agencies in the United States and offers a damning criticism of Bush's own Barbarossa. And yet, despite the evidence that keeps on presenting itself (British intelligence has also claimed that there was no link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda), the loony right continue to bang their drums to their inevitable beat.

Furthermore, not only has Bush failed on the foreign front, he has pretty much failed at home as well. He has failed to provide adequate protection for the US population by pushing through a cut in funding for security on public transport. Of course, the timing was crucial, coming shortly before the attacks in London on public transport. It seems faintly bizarre that, at a time when the media persistently reports the terrorist threat on behalf of the White House, the President cuts funding on a segment of the infrastructure that is a known target. He then attempted to push through a deal that would given up the control of some of America's major points of entry to a company based in Dubai. Yes, at a time when America was supposed to be facing continuous threats, the President was giving up American control of potential targets. And this is before we get into the horrors of Guantanamo, wire-tapping citizens and the decision to disband the unit that had been tracking Bin Laden for 10 years. Strange times indeed when Bush is portrayed as 'tough on terror' by the rabid right. But now, they have turned their attentions to Clinton's administration.

The focus of much of the recent feeding frenzy has been the Clinton administration's failure to deal with Bin Laden. That's right, now it is his fault that the twin towers were attacked, can the rabid right sink any lower? The focus of much of the controversey has been the inability to deal with Bin Laden in Somalia. Of course, as always, this diversion demands that we forget a few convenient facts. Operation Restore Hope was initiated at the end of Bush I's term of office in an attempt to put an end to the growing chaos in the country. Now, if the right are to be believed, Clinton pulled troops out of Somalia despite the fact that Bin Laden was present in the country. This, in turn, led to Bin Laden declaring that:

The argument then follows that, as Bin Laden was emboldened by this move, he was keen to strike at the Americans once more. They even claim that Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda openly called for attacks on US troops in Somalia from 1992. So, by know you begin to think, "Well, that's kinda compelling evidence there." Except, when you begin to analyse why the US withdrew from Somalia. Despite, as some on the right have claimed, the public calls to attack American troops, the Republicans were pushing Clinton to remove troops from Somalia as soon as possible. Here is the proof, the following is the Statement of Republican Policy on U.S. Armed Forces in Somalia, adopted April 1, 1993 (I have added emphasis in the appropriate places):

U.S. military forces in Somalia have fulfilled the mission given them by President Bush. Republicans therefore call on President Clinton to bring our troops home.

The United States has a proud tradition of providing international humanitarian assistance to those truly in need. Somalia is a case in point. In the early 1980's, and again in the early 1990s, the American people and the U.S. Government responded to famine in Somalia by bringing in massive quantities of food and medical assistance.

In the last several months, as anarchy gripped that country and famine again loomed on the horizon, President Bush sent U.S. Armed Forces to Somalia to restore order and permit food to reach the people. He made a commitment to withdraw our troops when the mission was completed and return the operation to the U.N. This process was begun before he left office. The mission has been accomplished, but our troops remain, and it appears President Clinton has no intention of bringing them home. Instead, U.N. bureaucrats who want to keep the United States in Somalia will decide their fate.

Republicans commend our Armed Forces for restoring order to Somalia and for helping to alleviate human suffering in that country. However, we have several deep concerns. Without appropriate congressional consultation, President Clinton has committed thousands of U.S. military personnel to a U.N. peacekeeping operation commanded by a foreign national for an indefinite period of time. Our men and women in uniform will provide both the fighting teeth and the logistical tail for this open-ended operation.

Republicans believe U.S. Armed Forces should always remain under U.S. command. They should not be loaned to international organizations to conduct operations with ambiguously defined objectives.

Furthermore, costs to the U.S. taxpayer continue to mount. In addition to the $800 million in costs already incurred by the U.S., President Clinton has just committed the taxpayers to another half billion dollars.

The United States is the world's only superpower, but this does not mean we are omnipotent, nor that our obligations are universal. Republicans believe that President Bush's commitment to pull our forces out of Somalia should be fulfilled.

Ok, try not to laugh at the last paragraph, I'm sure they didn't mean that. So, you see, the Republicans attacked Clinton for keeping troops there indefinitely despite, as our right-wing friends say, the apparently obvious intentions of Bin Laden. Furthermore, it would appear that rather than confronting the terrorists, the Republican party were more concerned with how this adventure was going to affect the wallets of the American people. Once again the evidence points to sheer incompetence on behalf of the Republican party, and once again the evidence suggests that the Republicans are, and always have been, soft on terror.