Growing Doubts About Bush's War On Terror
Many of you have wondered if the Kool-Aid Bush and Rove have been dishing out will work one more election. Can Bush, Cheney, and Rummy scare the base and swing voters enough to keep the House and Senate in GOP hands one more election? Can Bush’s message of “I let the terrorists into Iraq so you have to trust me to continue the madness” work for one more election? An AP/Ipsos poll out today indicates that there is a growing discontent with the cost of the war in Iraq and the war on terror, as well as the effectiveness of the Bush policies and their impact upon our personal freedoms. And the public is finally concerned about our vastly diminished standing abroad after six years of the Bush/Cheney foreign policy.
Doubts about the war on terrorism are growing. Most people worry that the cost in blood and money may be too high, and they don’t think al-Qaida kingpin Osama bin Laden will ever be caught, an AP-Ipsos poll found.
Five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, fully one-third of Americans think the terrorists may be winning, the poll suggests. Worries fed by the war in Iraq have spilled over into the broader campaign against terrorists who directly target the U.S.
Half in the poll question whether the costs of the anti-terror campaign are too great, and even more admit that thought has crossed their mind.
The AP-Ipsos telephone polling of about 1,000 people found:
·Less than half, 46 percent, are confident that bin Laden will ever be caught — down from 67 percent in December 2003.
·More than four in 10, 43 percent, say they’re embarrassed by the U.S. image overseas.
The big question for Karen Brown of Gainesville, Va., is whether the U.S. efforts are making a difference.
“Things are moving very slowly and not going very well,” said Brown, a freelance writer in Northern Virginia. “There’s Osama bin Laden still running free. We’re deeper into Afghanistan and deeper into Iraq. I don’t see any end to it.”
Not everyone agrees the war in Iraq is central to the war on terror, as the Bush administration maintains. Six in 10 polled think there will be more terrorism in this country because the U.S. went to war in Iraq. Some feel strongly that the two wars are separate.
“I think there’s a fatigue about the price of doing these activities,” said Robert Blendon, a specialist in public opinion at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “There’s also a concern about the competency of how well we’re doing them.”
As mentioned above, by a 60-31 margin, respondents feel that there will be more terrorism in the United States because of our invasion and occupation of Iraq instead of less. That is a turnaround from December 2003, when 49% thought the war would lead to less terrorism here at home. So voters do link the war with the war on terror, just not the way Rove and Bush want them to.
Nearly half the country now feels they have lost some of their personal freedoms as a result of Bush’s war on terror. These numbers do not look like a tidal wave at this point, but rather a growing understanding by the public that there are tradeoffs to the Bush policies, as well as a realization that for all the fear, smear, and terror foisted upon the country by this cabal, Bin Laden and the rest of Al Qaeda's senior leadership is still loose, the war is going badly and doing nothing to make us safer, and the money is being wasted.
Many of the pundits assume that Bush and the surrogates are engaging in this 60-day "smear and fear" blitz to keep the cultists and the base under the tent in November. But I suspect part of it also is that Rove sees similar polls results and knows that he has a bigger problem not just with the base, but with the country as a whole:
1. The people aren't buying it anymore, or at least are swallowing it less readily;
2. They aren't sure they want to keep paying for it;
3. Aside from the lack of another attack, they expect another attack because they aren't convinced the Bush team can prevent another one;
The public is simply doing a cost-benefit analysis on their own, as they have grown tired of waiting for Congress to do its job. That is why Boxer effectively hammered the "rubber stamp" and failing Congress theme last night on "Countdown." As would be expected after five years of a war without well-defined benchmarks and accountability measures but with constant political manipulation, the public is feeling fatigue and frustration with the environment created by this cabal and may want something new in November.
After reading Suskind's book, I conclude that Bush and Cheney have done their jobs in letting the intelligence agencies prosecute the war on terror. We haven't had another attack because Al Qaeda will choose its time, and because Bush and Cheney have let the intelligence community fight the war without the same level of micromangement and manipulation they forced on the community in the run-up to the war. But there is nothing extraordinary about Bush's war on terror: any president would have done the same things and may have done them better. The differences are that any other president would have read and acted upon the August 6, 2001 PDB, and any other president would not have embarked on the debacle in Iraq at a time when we had unfinished business elsewhere. And for those reasons, Bush is not to be commended for anything in the war on terror, and the public is finally catching up to that.