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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003


Are you safer today than you were before Gulf War 2?

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, June 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Howard Fineman - of all people - offers a bit of advice to the Democratic candidates, Dean included. He states that the fiasco over WMD could be framed to suggest that Americans are much less safe now than before we intervened in Iraq. He takes Dean's question ("What did he know and when did he know it?") and reframes it as "What did he do and when did he do it?” Fineman frames this in the context of another possible attack, if indeed Iraq had WMDs and they are not found. Let me elaborate by quoting more of the article:

The kitchen table issue with swing voters is elsewhere: on the issue of security. The president has argued, in essence, that we took out Saddam as a matter of self-defense and that doing so made America a safer, more secure place. What evidence is there for that? Not much. Indeed, one of Donald Rumsfeld’s earlier explanations for the lack of WMDs was disconcertingly in the other direction. He said that the stuff might have been spirited out of Iraq altogether. Not the kind of notion that would have made voters feel safer. He quickly ditched that argument. Where is the connection to al-Qaida? Sure there might have been one, but no real evidence of it has yet surfaced — and we know al-Qaida is dedicated to attacking us in the homeland. What about radicalized youths in the Muslim world? The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s spawned a generation of deadly radicals, including Osama bin Laden. Are we doing the same a generation later?"

Security will be an issue in the 2004 election, but I must admit that I agree with Fineman. Are we safer? That's a good question. Saddam and his sons, for all we know, are still on the loose and possibly coordinating attacks against our soldiers in Iraq. Osama bin Laden has not been found, and our government has essentially abandoned Afghanistan to an international coalition of peacekeepers who are barely able to control anything besides Kabul. In addition, IF Iraq had WMDs before the war, and we do not find them, who possesses them at this time? Were they spirited away to another country, or perhaps sold off to terrorists outside of Iraq? These are all questions that our administration must answer, and I believe they can be equally applied to 9/11 - although I wouldn't want to see any candidate try to capitalise on that tragedy in order to garner votes (do you hear me, RNC?).

Just some food for thought...


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.