Friday, November 11, 2005

Who did Bin Laden vote for?

I spent some time meandering through my thoughts about which '04 Presidential candidate would be the worst for Bin Laden. In particular, I wondered who he wanted to see in the US Presidency.
All statements he made prior to the election of neccessity must be ignored, for he will say whatever is most likely to achieve his goal. If he felt it in his interest to have Kerry in power, he may have threatened people who are considering voting for Bush hoping to cow them into voting for Kerry, or he may have threatened people considering voting for Kerry, in expectation of a backlash against him. So obviously any statement he made must be completely discounted.
Moving on to more relevant factors, which candidate was in his best interests? Was it Kerry, because a less aggressive foreign policy would give Bin Laden breathing room to regroup and recreate his terrorist infrastructure? Or was it Bush, because his aggressive foreign policy allowed Bin Laden to better recruit malcontents within western countries?

To settle this factor, I evaluated the two candidates based upon their plans for removing the threat. Bush proposed an aggressive expansion of democracy. We can all agree that expansion of democracy is a good thing, but we all disagree on whether such an expansion can be successfully driven by agressive foreign policy.
To me, Kerry's plan involved treating the conflict as less of a war and more of a criminal enforcement. There are a lot of ways to shot easy holes in the 'war on terror' by asking simplistic questions like "Wars must end, when will it be over?" But much like the "War on Poverty", the "War on Terror" is not something which will have a definitive ending. It is in the nature of some humans to seek a disproportionate voice in the political arena. For most, this means participating in the democratic process. But for some, this will involve the exercise of political violence. So no, the "War on Terror" will not end, but our war against Al Qaeda may end.
So yes, I think it's a war, and not a criminal enforcement, therefor I was highly skeptical of the plans laid out by the potential Kerry administration. I think a lot of people were. For the most part, these plans consisted of vague statements, references to allies, attacks against the existing doctrine, and not much substance.

In a lot of ways, this is just a result of good strategy by Bush. The administration took as many steps as possible towards removing the terrorist threat. The administration can be accused of being overzealous in its ambition, but anything less would have left the administration facing even tougher questions.
"Well, you claim to be tough on terrorism, yet Hussien, an acknowledged terrorist financier, trainer, and supporter still has the run of Iraq."
"We had 2700 deaths on 9/11, and you invaded Afghanistan. Does this administration really think that is *enough*?"

Personally, I do not think Bush would have had a chance at reelection without invading Iraq.


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