Reader Responds: Don, who runs the blog Revolutionary Moderation, writes in to share his perspective from Canada:
To respond to a few of the questions you posted on September 16, I think there was a certain fear that Bush was not going to show any restraint in Afghanistan. I myself thought it was an expensive and drawn-out police operation, and that a thousand special ops guys could accomplish better and more cheaply what a hundred thousand soldiers and daily carpet bombings couldn't. But after September 11, the world was willing to grant your country and your President a lot of leeway to respond. Canadians, among others, joined the effort. Something has happened since then, and it would serve the American electorate well to ask what.Thanks for the thoughts.
The argument about too much security/not enough security is interesting, but I think the people who claim that security could be strengthened for the United States are complaining less about the money, and more about the focus. Iraq presented zero threat when the US invaded.
France (among others) suggested the US give Iraq's "seed of democracy" room to grow. They were told to shove off. Check the article I blogged about the Friedman essay: http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=279&row=0. My favourite line? "... Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein ... have the same line: the Iraqi people aren't ready for democracy." I wonder if the "culture that breeds terrorism" isn't related more to hopelessness and poverty and colonialism than it is to a lack of democracy, even so. The occupation turns a colonial past into a colonial future.
"The terrorists fighting in Iraq would otherwise be coming to the United States." The so-called flypaper strategy. If it were true, it would be obscene to imagine that your current administration would send US soldiers into harm's way as bait. But as cynical as I am, I'm not THAT cynical, yet.
And who could we get to rebuild instead of Halliburton? How about these guys?
Finally, yes, September 11 woke your country, and the world, to a grave threat. Bush's Iraqi adventure, and the implication that we'll all be fine if only we shop some more, have been lullabyes to return us all to complacancy. "Don't worry - your government will fix it.". After Afghanistan, things could have gone in an entirely different direction, but Bush elected to make his "Axis of Evil" SotU, and the world is many times more dangerous as a result.