...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, March 05, 2004
      ( 12:56 PM )
Bush is a Steady Leader Shame

Bush's reelection theme is that he is "Steady" in times of crisis. He is coarsley using images of 9/11 and invoking it, as he has done ever since it happened, to further his own political purposes. He declares constantly that he is a "wartime president" and that we are "at war." His intention is to make us all afraid and to overload us with the idea that this "war on terrorism" is equal to the cold war and the brinksmanship that terrified my generation throughout our entire childhoods.

Voice of a Veteran calls the "Bush is Steady" campaign a whole lotta BS:

"Steady." Is that as good as $200 million can do?
That means about the same as "Consistent" and
with that we would agree, as in consistently
outrageous, consistently noncomapassionate, and
consistently arrogant - sending our kids off to die
and be wounded, for what? Your mission to save
the world? To save your corporate donors? To
keep the family honor? It's all misguided - every bit
of it, and your money is going to have a tough time
counteracting your B.S.

But Bush supporters, and even the general public don't see the BS yet. The exit polls and other national polls have shown that those who support Bush do so because they think he is a strong leader and because of how he is prosecuting the "war on terrorism." But now we learn that indeed, he isn't prosecuting it much at all. In fact, his administration has been hindering it in order to advance its goal of invading and occupying Iraq.

NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski ("Mik-el-chow-ski) reported this week that the Number One Enemy and the person that tied Saddam's Iraq to Al Qaeda, Abu Musab Zarqawi, could have been targeted and possibly taken out by us several times, but the Bush administration chose not to do so. As a little background, Colin Powell, in his February 2003 address to the UN, invoked Zarqawi's name as proof that Saddam was connected to Al Qaeda, a main reason why attacking, invading and occupying Iraq was the number one goal in the "war on terrorism." Zarqawi, a Jordanian, is known to have ties to Al Qaeda and we knew exactly where he was...and did nothing.

...long before the war the Bush administration had
several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation
and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself - but never pulled
the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had
revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had
set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq,
producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

(Mama's note: this was in the Kurdish area, fully controlled
by the US and unreachable by Saddam - Saddam could not
have been connected with activities going on there)

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the
camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it
to the White House, where, according to U.S.
government sources, the plan was debated to death
in the National Security Council.

"Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a
country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties
after 9/11 and we still didn't do it," said Michael O'Hanlon,
military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was
planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the
White House again killed it. By then the administration
had set its course for war with Iraq.

"People were more obsessed with developing the
coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the
president's policy of preemption against terrorists
according to terrorism expert and former National
Security Council member Roger Cressey.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London
arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab
connected to the camp in Iraq.

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and
for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi's
operation was airtight, but the administration feared
destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its
case for war against Saddam

Yes, you read that right. The Bush administration had three very clear and viable opportunities to take out this mastermind terrorist, a guy some people think is responsible for many of the ongoing attacks in Iraq (including the terrible ones committed this week on holy days), and they refused to do it because they didn't want to take away an excuse for their war on Iraq.

THIS is strong leadership? This is a steady hand in times of crisis? This is criminal is what it is. Once again we have to sit back in disbelief, knowing that hundreds of dead and thousands of injured soldiers, not to mention the hundreds and thousands of Iraqis, went over there for no better reason than to complete a task that was the empire-building goal of men who had returned to government from another era and were (and still are) intent on creating an oasis of American might in the middle east.

If reporters had done their jobs instead of regurgitating white house press releases, then these things might have come to light a lot sooner and perhaps have prevented the deaths and injuries that families have been enduring over the last year. If the reporters will start doing their jobs NOW, following this example by Miklaszewski, we may have a chance to counteract a lame duck president that has done nothing but drag this country into the dirt.

For more on this story, check out Dkos and Talking Points Memo.

UPDATE: Tom Burka reveals another thing that has distracted the administration and Republican leadership from its "war on terrorism."

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