web counter Media Lies: Another "expert" speaks

Monday, January 17, 2005

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Another "expert" speaks

The Washington Post published an article by Richard Kohn that is very critical of President Bush.

You only need to read three paragraphs to know how wrong the author, Richard Kohn, is.
Bush has in the past used presidential speeches to rally the country, but he has failed to follow through on the promise of his rhetoric. After 9/11, like Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor and John F. Kennedy upon assuming office, Bush lifted our spirits and brought much of the world to our side. He quickly defined what had happened -- War! -- and so readied us for sacrifice while warning friend and foe alike of our resolve. In a bold campaign, he overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan and put al Qaeda on the run. Those first months were the high point of leadership for a president fond of talking about himself as a leader.
I'd like to see one quote where Bush has talked about himself as a leader. He doesn't do that. He is an uncharacteristically humble President.
But Bush identified the wrong enemy -- "terrorism" instead of "radical Islamic terrorists" -- and quickly slipped into the apocalyptic rhetoric of good and evil, complicating strategy and making success impossible to measure. He followed with actions uncharacteristic of wartime presidents and harmful to war-making. First, he implored the American people to return to normal, never asking for sacrifice (or even for youth to join the military). Then he refused to increase the size of our ground forces, even after embarking on campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unlike Lincoln and Roosevelt, he turned the conduct of war over to underlings, eschewing active presidential involvement. He refused to abandon his domestic agenda (as Lyndon Johnson did in 1965) or to subordinate it to war's necessities (as Roosevelt did in World War II).
Rarely can you pack this many canards into one paragraph.

He's wrong about the "label" Bush chose for the war — terrorism. Terrorists are making common cause with criminals in South America just as they are in Iraq. This is not a war against islamofacists. It's a war against terrorism in all its forms, worldwide. Until the nations of the world agree that terrorism is impermissible and take action to end it, this war will go on. The world simply must understand that violence is not the way to solve problems. In order to do that, terrorists must be exterminated. Those who chose terrorism must understand that only one fate awaits them — death.

Second, one could argue whether or not asking Americans to "return to normal" was the right thing to do, but what exactly is the "sacrifice" that Kohn would have Americans make? Americans are raising money to help the troops, donating to tsunami relief in Southeast asia, working hard to overcome the bias of the media and "experts" like Mr. Kohn. Congress has been willing to spend into deficit to support the war effort, support Iraq with billions of dollars of aid and cut back on other programs to keep the deficit from ballooning further. What other sacrifices would satisfy Mr. Kohn?

Third, he raises the issue of troop strength. If he was the expert that he claims to be, he would know better. But in his rush to criticize Bush, he's all too willing to ignore the evidence.

Fourth, he regurgitates the fiction that Bush is a disengaged President who doesn't manage his administration. As I wrote just yesterday, nothing could be further from the truth.

Finally, he criticizes Bush for "refusing to abandon" his domestic agenda. This one particularly galls me. I'm sick and tired of reading "experts" who think America is incapable of doing two things at once. We not only can, we do. "Experts" like Mr. Kohn should heed the aphorism - "Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way".
Bush never followed up his burst of bipartisan rhetoric with true bipartisan action, and, unlike his predecessors, he avoided the commitment of time and energy necessary to bring our allies together, antagonizing them instead with take-it-or-leave-it choices. Most divisive of all, he attacked Iraq without a unifying casus belli.
This is the most despicable accusation of all.

Kohn, parroting Kerry's campaign rhetoric, claims that Bush hasn't worked with the Congress and avoided expending the energy to bring our allies together. This despite the fact that Bush worked with Kennedy to pass the No Child Left Behind Act only to have Kennedy stab him in the back — repeatedly, and France, Russia and Germany would deeply involved in UNSCAM and would never have allied with us in Iraq.

I'm sick and tired of "experts". Aren't you?