History will remember President Bush for one thing and one thing only: justifying every war, every violation of The Constitution, and every immoral policy with links to 9/11. Whenever a policy of President Bush's is questioned--he ties it to 9/11....

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 08/16/2006

History will remember President Bush for one thing and one thing only:  justifying every war, every violation of The
Constitution, and every immoral policy with links to 9/11.

Whenever a policy of President Bush's is questioned--he ties it to 9/11.  Invaded the wrong country?  9/11.  Tortured prisoners?  9/11.  Wiretapped American citizens?   9/11.  Sold our ports to the UAE?  9/11.  And now: blocked a ceasefire agreement in the UN long enough for Israel and Hezbollah to wage war?  9/11.

For President Bush, it's all about 9/11.  Translation?  If you question what I do, you are a traitor.

How should Democrats respond?  By talking about a "Smart and stronger" foreign policy.

Here is the most recent exampleo of President Bush shamelessly justifying a brutal policy by linking it to 9/11:

The conflict in Lebanon is part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding across the region. For decades, American policy sought to achieve peace in the Middle East by promoting stability in the Middle East. Yet the lack of freedom in the region meant anger and resentment grew, radicalism thrived and terrorists found willing recruits. We saw the consequences on September the 11th, 2001, when terrorists brought death and destruction to our country, killing nearly 3,000 of our citizens.

Did you catch that?  Lebanon is now part of the 'broader struggle between freedom and terror.'  Deja vu all over again.

Amazing how Bush can say this stuff with a straight face.  For the rest of us, we did not see any 'freedom unfolding' in the past few weeks in Lebanon.  We saw buildings collapsing.  We saw ambulances exploding.   We saw children dying. And we saw a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah escalating.

For everyone in the world except George W. Bush, the situation in the Middle East is much worse after the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel flared up into a full scale shock and awe war.

Israelis are less at ease, not more.  Hezbollah is more emboldened, not less.  The United States is seen with more suspicion, not less.  More people died, not less.  Ties between Iran, Syria and rockets being launched at civilians are stronger, not weaker.

Bush's decision to block cease fire--to use Condi Rice and John Bolton to prevent diplomacy from happening--was a stupid and weak policy that has resulted in more death and less stability.

A month ago, Iraq was in full meltdown. Now, Lebanon is a smouldering tinderbox  on top of it all. 

In the midst  of all this, Bush has once again claimed 'victory' where there is none.

Victory?  The war in Lebanon has turned Hezbollah into the rebel group of the month.  They stood up to Israel and the United States and did not roll over and  die. Congratulations, President Bush.  Your 'war on terror' in Lebanon did little more than kill thousands and thousands of innocent people, destroy the infrastructure of yet another country, and turn a radical Islamic group hell-bent on destroying Israel into a league of heroes.

And now, on top of all this, Lebanon will be yet another location in the Middle East where people wonder if they will have electricity and water on a regular basis--and blame it all on the United States.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. 

How Democrats Can Keep On Top Of This Debate
The most basic way to take  charge of this debte--for the sake of the country and the Middle East--is for Democrats to use the phrase 'Smart and Strong.'

Our policy must be smart and strong.  And what is smart?  Working with other people? What is strong?  Using diplomacy instead of military invasion.

Democrats need to start standing up and saying things about our policies in the Middle East that sound like this:

President Bush would like us all to believe that America is strongest when we launch invasions and occupy foreign countries.  He is wrong.  America is strongest when we work with other nations.  American is strongest when we persuade our allies to join us.  America is strongest when we stand with our friends in the Middle East, not when we stand in the way of cease fires.

This is a very different way of talking about foreign policy:  strong is working together.  The other half of the equatio is talking about being smart, which can sound something like this:

President Bush thinks it is smart to encourage an ally to launch a military invasion.  He is wrong. We are already seeing endless trouble as a result of what we did in Iraq.  A smart person would learn from those mistakes and try something different. Not George Bush.  He sees the problems we have in Iraq and says:  I'll do the same thing in Lebanon, but this time it will be better because I say so.  Smart policy in the Middle East brings results, not destruction.  Smart policy in the Middle East creates new and closer allies,  not more people who hate Americans.  Smart policy in the Middle East tries every possible avenue to avoid war, not every possible excuse to launch another one.  Americans are tired of George Bush and his dumb policies. 

Here the logic does not look backwards and blame Bush for what happened in Iraq, but looks forward and says:  Let's try something new, now.

One thing is or certain, President  Bush will keep in talking about 9/11 as election season heats up.  He's tried it several times before and he will try it again.

This time it will not work. Americans are tired of a weak and stupid foreign policy. 

© 2006 Jeffrey Feldman

© Jeffrey Feldman 2006, Frameshop

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