Saturday, February 25, 2006

Republicans are in charge and putting your security at risk every day - August Keso

"Be afraid, be VERY afraid!" That should be the new Republican 2006 campaign slogan. True, that has been the entire Republican and Bush administration campaign platform since 9/11, but in '06 they should follow that statement with, "Because we are in charge and putting your security at risk every second of every day."Shortly after Bush invaded Iraq, Iran wanted to talk about their ongoing support of terrorism and WMD program. Bush, of course, for reasons beyond rationalization or comprehension, refused to engage the Iranians. "On May 2003, shortly after the U.S. military destroyed the army of Saddam Hussein, a fax arrived at the State Department with an Iranian offer to open talks that would include a discussion of weapons of mass destruction..."Critics, including the two former Bush administration officials, European diplomats, and policy experts, say the United States may have squandered an opportunity to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program by not talking with Tehran. According to both Leverett and Pillar, the administration's priority was to avoid negotiations with the regime, out of concern it would imply acceptance of its continuation in office. Since then, Iran's government has become even more conservative, making the prospect of further negotiations more problematic."'No one at a senior level was willing to push Iran on diplomacy,' said Leverett. 'Was there at least a chance that we could have gotten something going? Yes, there was a chance.'"Iran, which, until Bush, had been moving toward a decidedly more open and democratic country, has returned to its nationalist Islamist roots. This phenomena isn't unusual. In times of crisis, nations, as evidenced right here in the United States regarding Bush, tend to turn toward radically fringe-type nationalistic leadership. It is Bush's policies, i.e., labeling Iran part of the notorious "axis of evil," invading Iraq without real justification, and then his refusal to engage Iran, that have led to the current unstable, highly volatile, and nuclear-ly dangerous Iranian position. Rather than stabilizing the region, as promised, and making America and the world safer for it, Bush's policies have instead completely destabilized the Mid-East, especially with regards to Iran.It appears now that war with Iran is becoming a certainty. Amazing, because attacking Iran would do little to address any of the region's real issues, and rather than increase security would instead lead to a cataclysmic chain of destabilizing events. The Iraqi government, which is closely aligned with Tehran, would be forced to eject US forces and leave the country to certain chaos. At the very least, the -- up until now -- quiet Iraqi Shia population would feel compelled to join in the insurgency, which would spell absolute defeat for the US military in Iraq. Finally, an assault on Iran would further fan the flames of the radical Islamic jihadist movement, which would exponentially increase the number of bin-Laden terrorists and supporters. Bush's highly irresponsible refusal to deal with Tehran when the opportunity presented itself is but one of many instances highlighting how he and the Republican Party have made America much less secure since 9/11. In a decision that can at best be described as reckless, Bush allowed a company from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to take over control of six of the nation's busiest, if not most sensitive ports. In a stunning display of arrogance and ignorance, Bush's Director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff of all people, gave his unconditional support to the President's borderline-insane decision."Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff on Sunday defended the government's security review of an Arab company given permission to take over operations at six major U.S. ports."'We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint,' Chertoff said on ABC's 'This Week.'"The UAE's anti-terrorism record is, as even Republicans have indicated, spotty at best. Yet, George W. Bush and his administration feel it appropriate to turnover the country's ports to them? This is supposed to make the country safer, because Chertoff has, "in general," gained assurances relating to national security issues? In general! Finally, and, perhaps, most significantly, although many of the American people still haven't made the linkage, nothing has highlighted the grave state of insecurity created by Bush and Republicans more than their disastrous response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Bush and Republicans have been careful to bundle their bungled Katrina response to FEMA because it helps to deflect from the larger reality. That reality, of course, is that FEMA is part of Homeland Security. FEMA would be responsible for responding to any major terror attack within the United States. Still, years after 9/11, FEMA, rather than improve upon what was once a very efficient and effective program, has actually become less effective. So much less effective that the administration was in "chaos in the wake of [Katrina]." "A series of previously unreleased e-mails shows an administration in chaos in the wake of the storm."Card may have been concerned, but he wasn't in a position to be of much help. Like President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and homeland-security adviser Frances Townsend, Card was on vacation when the hurricane struck. Back at the White House, the job of monitoring the storm was left to Kenneth Rapuano, Townsend's deputy. At 10 p.m., Rapuano left the White House to go home for the night, believing everything was under control."It wasn't. Half an hour later, at 10:30 p.m., the Homeland Security Operations Center sent out a two-page bulletin reporting massive flooding and bodies floating in the water. Rapuano later told Congress that no one at the White House woke him to tell him about the report, and he didn't realize the extent of the damage until 6 the following morning, when another Homeland bulletin warned that 'it could take months to dewater' the city. Only then did it begin to dawn on top administration officials, including the president, how grave a human -- and political -- disaster they were facing."Be afraid America -- be VERY afraid! -- because Bush and Republicans are in charge and putting your security at risk every second of every day!

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