"U.S. intelligence analysts have long understood that Bush’s Iraq strategy is playing into al-Qaeda’s hands.
Indeed, one could say Bush and bin Laden have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship in which each enhances the other’s power; Bush using 9/11 as justification for consolidating presidential authority in the United States and bin Laden exploiting the Iraq War to rebuild his terrorist bands and burnish his reputation as a defender of Islam.
Yet, even as Bush’s clumsy “war on terror” strengthens the terrorists, the President still cites 9/11 and al-Qaeda as reasons to continue with what is essentially the same “stay the course” strategy in Iraq, albeit now repackaged as the “surge.” Bush also repeats many of his old discredited canards, as he did on April 10 to an American Legion post.
“This is an unusual era in which we live, defined on September the 11th, 2001,” Bush said. “See, that’s a date that reminded us the world had changed significantly from what we thought the world was. We thought that – we thought that oceans and friendly neighbors could protect us from attack.”
However, the truth is that no one who grew up during the Cold War thought the oceans could protect the United States from attack. Soviet ballistic missiles, which could be fired from the other side of the planet, carried the threat of annihilation for major American cities.
But Bush has found this refrain about the oceans and 9/11 to be a pleasing way to justify his view that he must anoint himself as an all-powerful Commander in Chief who can ignore the Constitution to confront the supposedly unprecedented danger from al-Qaeda.
In his April 10 speech, Bush also repeated his claim that the government’s “most solemn duty … is to protect the American people from harm.” By making that argument, Bush further rationalizes his abrogation of the Constitution. What’s most important, he’s saying, is that Americans can drive to the mall without fear of a terrorist attack.
But the oaths that the President and other federal officers take do not mention protecting Americans from harm. The oaths pledge to uphold and defend the Constitution, which embodies the principles of a democratic Republic.
Bush has turned this reality upside down. In the name of making Americans safer, he has tossed the habeas corpus right to a fair trial and other liberties guaranteed by the Constitution."
"While Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld installed neoconservative ideologues throughout the national security apparatus, sidelining the senior military, diplomatic corps and intelligence community, and creating parallel operations to avoid assessment by professionals, Rove was handed the rest of the executive branch to arrogate for political purposes.
On the one hand, Rove has sought to forge a permanent Republican majority. On the other hand, that project might not be completed in just two Bush terms. In either case, Rove's strategy has depended on subjecting the federal government to political objectives. He is not trying to achieve any abstract goal, such as reaching the conservative nirvana of limited government. The endless scandals revealed are not a random compendium of corruption and incompetence, though they are that, too. They are evidence of Rove's -- and Bush's -- larger strategy of hollowing out the federal government in the interest of building a political state.
In all his machinations Rove did not calculate that he would ever create an opposing force that might stop him. The Republican Congress had long shielded the administration from oversight and investigation, protecting Rove's handiwork. Now the Democratic Congress has begun to uncover seemingly endless series of abuses. In this respect, the clash of the legislative and executive branches is not over a difference in policy, as in the conflict over the Iraq war. Rather, Congress' effort is even more fundamental: to salvage the executive branch -- its capability of functioning in the public interest in the future -- from Rove's radical experiment to transform it forever."
"The problem with the war in Iraq isn't that we don't have a war czar. The problem is that the war is in Iraq and that George W. Bush is the president."ftr - one of the people who declined the war czar position is our friend Joe Ralston.