Karl Rove attacked liberals the a few days ago for their weak response to the 9-11 attacks. Liberals were weak and uncertain. Conservatives, on the other hand, were robust and strong in their response to the attacks. Nothing is uncertain in Rove’s mind as he looks at September 11, 2001.
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," he said in a prepared text released by the White House. "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
Three years of war in Afghanistan and two years in Iraq now show the results of the conservatives’ robust determination. Afghanistan remains chaotic and unstable. American forces continue to sustain casualties. The central government has little authority outside Kabul. The warlords who divide the remainder of the nation rule in a lawless, arbitrary manner, enforce strict Islamic law against women. Lack of personal security in Afghanistan has led some to remember the Taliban favorably.
Afghanistan at least had a tangible connection to 9–11. Iraq did not. Conservatives created a false threat to justify a robust response to “terror” that included military action to topple Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist government. Two years on, American forces are the target of an increasingly well organized resistance that reflects most Iraqis’ opposition to the presence of a foreign occupier. Even though resistance was entirely predictable based on Iraqi history and politics, American forces lacked the numbers and skills needed to secure the nation in order to prevent the chaos that incubated resistance.
As a liberal who opposed both the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, I will tell Karl Rove that I had no less anger, no less hatred for the attackers. No less desire for revenge. I also THOUGHT. Even as I mourned and raged, I looked at the broader context of history and motive, seeking to understand as much as I could about this watershed event before responding.
Karl Rove did not think. His response was more visceral.
"I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt as I watched the twin towers crumble to the earth, a side of the Pentagon destroyed and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble. Moderation and restraint is not what I felt -- and moderation and restraint is not what was called for. It was a moment to summon our national will -- and to brandish steel."
Karl Rove–and America–needed revenge. Attacking the al-Quaeda and its Taliban supporters allowed America to strike back, to extract a toll from the perpetrators of this heinous crime. The world applauded and supported America’s actions. What I questioned then and still question now was the long term effectiveness of a military strategy against non state terror organizations. I saw no real evidence of strategy that used intelligence, investigation and analysis to pursue this these elusive, decentralized networks. Taking the Taliban out of power did not destroy them or al-Quaeda and its networks around the world. They remain a threat that Bush/Cheney’s policy of military intervention, now grinding up American soldiers and equipment, does nothing to address.
My response to 9-11 was restraint. I thought about the causes and impact of the 9-11 attacks. I looked for alternatives for protecting my country and the world from terror. I sought to know the attackers motives and beliefs in order to understand the nature of this threat. Because I know the chaos of war, I looked to avoid its destruction and death. Because I took time to think, Karl Rove dismisses me as an American, my ideas and beliefs not worthy of consideration. I am a liberal who is timid and afraid, some one who will not stand up for his nation. Only conservatives have the clarity of thought and will to protect America, according to Rove.
The chaos and carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq are the Conservatives legacy. So to is the loss of American credibility and rising distrust of America throughout the world. This conservative legacy is testimony to how little Americans stopped to think about the long term consequences of the Bush/Cheney wars. Instead, this nation responded to feelings manipulated in the pursuit of meritritious policies. Some thought would have saved this nation and the world much grief.