PRESIDENT BUSH'S SPEECH ON IRAQ...
Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.
...And, Would You Trust Hillary With The Patriot Act?
Listening to President Bush's address to the nation about Iraq the evening of December 18, a number of points stood out. He began by indicating the current war in Iraq began almost 3 years ago. What's noteworthy about this is that the Iraq war has already lasted almost as long as the Second World War, and the Iraqi insurgents are nowhere near as numerous as the Nazis and Japanese were.
Secondly, President Bush explained that no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were found, but what did he expect when American military action was announced far in advance, giving Saddam Hussein plenty of time to relocate his WMD (which the U.S. had helped him obtain in the 1980s) most likely to Syria? And how serious can President Bush's concern be about WMD when "Dr. Germ" and "Dr. Death" were recently freed from Iraqi prison?
Next, the President cited the terrorists' objectives including the oppression of women. But doesn't Islamic law oppress women in Saudi Arabia among other places? And I don't recall any discussion about the U.S. attacking the Saudis. President Bush also said the terrorists object to our values and way of life. Yes, as Muslims they object to our pornography, abortions, etc., but so do many Americans. The President further stated that if we didn't fight the terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and other places, they would not be peaceful citizens. However, Osama bin Laden said Al Qaeda has not attacked Sweden and other western nations specifically because they haven't stationed troops in what Muslims consider their land, such as Saudi Arabia, propping up the oppressive Saudi royal family. And remember, the U.S. provided Muslim children with textbooks promoting jihad (holy war) against foreign infidels (e.g., Soviets) in Muslim nations.
As a sign of progress, President Bush related that more than 50 Iraqi battalions are now taking the lead. He failed to mention, though, that only one battalion can operate independently after 3 years. Moreover, he has no clear idea of how many battalions have been infiltrated by insurgents so they can warn their allies when mililtary action is about to occur.
Next, the President announced he had developed a plan to revive the Iraqi economy and infrastructure. I imagine the Iraqis are wondering why it took almost 3 years finally to come up with a plan to create jobs, provide electricity, potable water, etc.
Apparently, the President thought it extremely positive news when he announced in his Sunday night, December 18, speech that a recent survey showed two-thirds of Iraqis expect things to improve more in the year ahead. But why would he be encouraged by this news? Aren't two-thirds of Iraqis Shiites who are the majority? And hasn't the problem over the past 3 years always been Sunni support for insurgents? So the fact that the Shiites expect things to improve is no surprise. After all, the way things have been in Iraq over the past 3 years, they almost have to improve.
Then President Bush said that for every life lost in Iraq, there are countless more lives reclaimed. I don't think it's helpful to look at lives in terms of some sort of cost-benefit analysis. By "reclaimed," the President probably meant not being oppressed by Saddam but haven't we learned the Shiites have been torturing Sunnis as Saddam tortured the Shiites?
President Bush indicated that he considered the war in Iraq as part of the global war on terror which he engaged after the attacks of 9-11. Among the immediate actions taken was legislation such as The Patriot Act (which will soon be extended till February 3, 2006).
Also, as a check and balance to executive branch authority, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides that any eavesdropping on Americans' phone conversations is supposed to be authorized by a special secret court. In case of an emergency, the court must be informed within 3 days after the surveillance has begun. However, according to THE NEW YORK TIMES article, "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts" (December 16), the President hasn't always gotten the court's approval. And on the night of December 20, the judge of the court, U.S. District Judge James Robertson, resigned over this.
Serious questions are raised for all Americans because of this circumvention of the court. Remember when the Clintons got FBI files on people? Suppose Hillary Clinton is elected President in 2008, and this Patriot Act law is in place. Would you trust her tapping your phone? Since President Bush has said the war on terror will last indefinitely, Hillary could always say President Bush set the precedent to tap your phone without court authorization if she just thought you might have information about terrorists, however she chose to define that term.
In case you think this is nonsense, remember that Section 802 of The Patriot Act states that "the term 'domestic terrorism' means activities that appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion."So, if you tell a politician to support or oppose pro-life, Second Amendment, gay marriage, etc., government policies or you'll vote them out of office, could that be considered "intimidation" and therefore a "terrorist" act? Think about it!
The morning after his address to the nation, President Bush held a press conference in which he stated that anyone "discussing" his program (involving the eavesdropping on Americans' phone conversations without court authorization) is "helping the enemy." Think about the far-reaching implications of this accusation. Some have expressed a concern that this would undermine citizens' Constitutional right of free speech.
© 2005 Dennis Cuddy - All Rights Reserved
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Dennis Laurence Cuddy, historian and political analyst, received a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (major in American History, minor in political science). Dr. Cuddy has taught at the university level, has been a political and economic risk analyst for an international consulting firm, and has been a Senior Associate with the U.S. Department of Education.
Cuddy has also testified before members of Congress on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Cuddy has authored or edited twenty books and booklets, and has written hundreds of articles appearing in newspapers around the nation, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He has been a guest on numerous radio talk shows in various parts of the country, such as ABC Radio in New York City, and he has also been a guest on the national television programs USA Today and CBS's Nightwatch.
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Suppose Hillary Clinton is elected President in 2008, and this Patriot Act law is in place. Would you trust her tapping your phone? Since President Bush has said the war on terror will last indefinitely, Hillary could always say President Bush set the precedent...