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Eric Margolis: Bush & Kerry Evasion

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    Repubs pick a fight about Vietnam while Bush ruins America right now? http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2004
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      Repubs pick a fight about Vietnam while Bush ruins America right now?
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      file=/gate/archive/2004/08/27/notes082704.DTL&type=printable

      ===
      An Attack on the U.S. Economy
      by Eric Margolis
      Toronto Sun
      http://www.maxlogan.com/margolis.0829.htm

      Wherever he is, Osama bin Laden will be beaming as he watches my
      beloved hometown, New York City, turned into an armed camp and a
      victim of municipal nervous breakdown.
      Sheik Osama has repeatedly warned America will never know peace until
      it withdraws from the Mideast and ceases supporting Israel. He
      ordered followers to attack the heart of America's power, its
      economy.

      He has been horrifyingly successful. The 9/11 attacks cost America
      $98 billion US, and billions more annually for heightened internal
      security. The Bush administration's constant, politically-timed
      warnings of imminent al-Qaida attacks -- none of which materialized --
      and attendant media hysteria, have left Americans frightened and
      emotionally exhausted.

      The Republican National Convention here is being guarded by the
      city's 37,000 cops -- a force twice as large as Canada's entire army.
      Ten thousand police will guard the convention centre at Madison
      Square Garden, backed by thousands more FBI, ATF, Secret Service, and
      other "federales." Still, rumours abound al-Qaida will attack the
      convention.

      Roadblocks, checkpoints, flashing red lights, heavily armed
      paramilitaries, and armored vehicles will turn New York into a
      traffic nightmare, disrupt commerce, and make the world's most
      important city look like Damascus during a military coup, or a remake
      of the film Escape From New York.

      As this strange spectacle unfolds, the Bush and Kerry campaigns are
      arguing furiously about the 30-year-old Vietnam War -- at a time when
      the U.S. is losing the wars it is now waging in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Neither candidate has advanced any cogent or realistic plan for
      dealing with these military-political quagmires. Bush keep intoning
      meaningless platitudes like "we've got to stay the course." But at
      least he has been consistent about Iraq, even though consistently and
      disastrously wrong. Kerry keeps shifting his position, and has
      seriously damaged his credibility by trying to be both pro-war and
      anti-war at the same time.

      The sordid smear campaign launched against Kerry's war record by an
      apparently Republican-funded hit squad called "Swift Boat Veterans
      for Truth" has besmirched both candidates' reputations and further
      damaged America's already battered image around the globe. Kerry's
      feeble reaction to the shameful attacks seems further evidence of
      weakness and indecision.

      How the Kerry campaign can get away with letting a draft-dodging
      president attack his war record escapes me. Maybe Kerry's too much of
      a gentleman. How can decent Americans and veterans' organizations,
      like the American Legion, to which I belong, accept this disgraceful
      business and not roar disapproval at the president? This is not
      politics, it's pure filth.

      As a U.S. Army veteran, I know that military citations are often
      awarded too freely and overblown to promote careers. Kerry may not be
      quite the Democratic Rambo he contends, but at least he was there, in
      combat -- while Bush was making sporadic guest appearances at the
      Texas and Alabama National Guards.

      Mind you, the Bush administration didn't flinch from concocting a
      cascade of lies about the Iraqi threat -- including Saddam's nukes
      and Iraqi drones about to spray poison on sleeping America. So why
      would it discourage fabrications against a genuine threat -- at least
      to the current presidency -- namely, John Kerry?

      Bush and Kerry ought to be debating how to pull 150,000 U.S. troops
      out of two stalemated wars costing $6.5 billion US a month. A recent
      Spanish congressional report estimates that had Bush not invaded
      Iraq, oil would now be around $30 a barrel, instead of $43. Americans
      have yet to understand the full cost of the president's foreign
      misadventures.

      Neither candidate is telling Americans the truth about Iraq,
      Afghanistan or the misnamed "war on terrorism." Sadly, many Americans
      don't want to hear awkward facts, as Gov. Howard Dean found to his
      chagrin.

      The hard truth is that the U.S. is stuck in two no-win colonial wars,
      precisely what bin Laden wanted. The U.S. is increasingly under
      attack by Islamic militants who hate America --not, as Bush fatuously
      claims, because of its freedoms and democracy, but because of what
      the U.S. has been doing in the Muslim world.

      Americans need to debate that, not rehash Vietnam.

      *********************************************************************

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