Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Atrios has a small bone to pick with David Corn's otherwise very good refutation and send-up of Bill Kristol's rather bizarre claim that Bush's presidency "will probably be a successful one." Corn makes the obvious case for why we should not trust Kristol (his predictions have been woefully off the mark in the past) and why Bush's presidency has been largely a disaster (Iraq--need I say more, Afghanistan--neglected, Osama bin Laden--still out there, terrorism--a growing not shrinking problem, Katrina--an American city practically destroyed, the Justice Department--relentlessly politicized and corrupted, the economy--stagnant even declining median wages, health care--skyrocketing costs, etc.).

Atrios, however, wishes to remind Corn and us that it is not true to say that there hasn't been another terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 because we would be omitting the anthrax scare that swept the nation just afterwards (and the sniper in D.C., I might add). Indeed, the anthrax issue was frightening, but I'm not sure it really falls in the category of "after 9/11." I mean, it was literally afterwards, but I think it's fair to say that it really fell during the period of 9/11, so to speak, before the transition to anti-terrorism had really begun in our government (before the Department of Homeland Security). Not that I defend Bush in the other areas, but here's one where I think Atrios is exaggerating the importance of this chronology. It's basically true that we have not had another major attack on American soil since 9/11.

Having said that, Corn is correct to note, as Michael Abramowitz does in the Washington Post, that the latest National Intelligence Estimate is further bad news for Bush on terrorism. When we learn that al-Qaeda has a new sanctuary, new recruiting base, and new training ground that did not exist prior to our invasion of Iraq and that the organization is stronger than it was when we had it on the run in Afghanistan, we see that that the Iraq war has been a failure in the most fundamental sense--even on the terms of its own mission as described by our White House. It's good to see that the press has finally wrested itself free from its previous stance that any news regarding terrorism is "good for Bush and the Republicans." The maddening thing about such a stance was that any story seemed to feed it: successes in the War on Terror showed how great President Bush is, while failures or set-backs just showed how much we need his "strong" leadership. The worm has turned.


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