There's a reader who e-mails me every time I write a column that criticizes George W. Bush's so-called "war on terror."
"How many attacks have we had on our country since the president took on Iraq?" he asks, obviously convinced that because we started and are now escalating a war there, the world's terrorists are cowering.
Well, guess what - there haven't been any attacks on us since Sept. 11, 2001, because we're doing enough damage to ourselves. We don't need any outside help. All Osama bin Laden and his gang of cutthroats have to do is sit back and watch us squander our money, our civility and our standing in the world.
The tragedy of 9/11 was bad enough with the loss of 3,000 innocent American lives. But, even if the terrorists wanted to, they couldn't have planned a more destructive scenario than what we've done to ourselves since. We played right into their hands.
The pity is that after the attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon we headed down the right path, marching into Afghanistan to destroy the terrorist training camps and ousting the bin Laden sympathizers, the Taliban. Then, for reasons that still remain a mystery, we not only let bin Laden escape, but decided not to hunt him down. Instead, we took on the hapless and, as it turns out, weaponless Saddam Hussein instead. And now, because we took our eye off the ball, we've got renewed problems to deal with in Afghanistan.
Make no mistake, this will go down as the biggest and most costly blunder in U.S. history. It not only has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been used much more effectively in a battle against terror, not to mention to help with our own problems at home, but it has cost us America's reputation. We no longer are viewed as a beacon of freedom for the world, but a nation to be vilified for its war-mongering, its torturing and its refusal to work with other countries.
There was a time when people of other nations distinguished between the bad decisions of our country's leaders and the good of the American people themselves. No more. The American people, who returned this disastrous administration to power in 2004, are now viewed as villains themselves.
Yet, incredibly, what this administration has done to this country hasn't sunk in with the president and vice president.
The time has come to turn things around, to admit our mistakes, to regain our moral compass. Instead, the men with their hands on the controls are not only going full steam ahead, they're closing their eyes and refusing to hear the pleas from the American people and some of their closest friends. We once impeached a president for telling lies about his affair with an intern. Yet we give a free pass to a president who told us lies to start a war, has effectively reduced America to a rogue nation, and insists on continuing a failed course.
Can we actually survive another two years?
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