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Election ’08, And The Perception Of Being “Tough” On Terrorism

June 5, 2007

As readers of my site have probably figured out by now, I spend a lot of time on ‘righty’ sites (mostly LGF).  I do this not because I like to be a pest or a troll, but because I figure that my own political perceptions need to be challenged in order for me to justify where I may stand on any given issue.  I’m not afraid to take on a debate (for the most part), as I feel it enhances my own knowledge and understanding.  Sometimes I get a hostile reaction, but, hey, thats the way it goes I guess. 

Yesterday, my pal Killgore Trout made a comment about the “left” and terrorism that I only addressed briefly (but feel I should expand upon it).  Here it is:

#57 football-profile.gif Killgore Trout  6/04/2007 8:28:41 am PDT

#44 ChenZhen

Sorry if you’re offended. I felt your take on the recent poll of American Muslims was a good example of downplaying terrorism.

The recommendation to talk to you about why the left is soft on terrorism should be flattering. As long a Lizards can control their rage I felt you’d be willing to patiently answer questions and explain your views.

Again, No offense intended.

I think that this really struck me because the whole idea of being “soft” or “tough” on terror is more a matter of perception than reality.  This is going to be important because this issue will be virtually unavoidable as we head to the presidential elections next year.  While it seems most on the left and even some moderates avoid this issue whenever possible, I’m going to take it head on.  To me, there’s really no reason for Dem. candidates to shy away from this.

First, lets look at reality.  Not perception, mind you, but reality.  The perception is that Bush (or the GOP in general) is more “tough” on terrorism, remember….

  • Last year’s declassified NIE describes a situation in which the reckless invasion of Iraq has, as one analyst put it, “made the overall terrorism problem worse”.
  • The State Dept. released a study that found that terrorism increased nearly 30% last year (worldwide).
  • Al Qaeda’s main voicebox Ayman al-Zawahiri continues to mock the US in video releases (of seemingly improving production quality), undoubtedly emboldening their supporters.  Bin Laden is still at large.
  • A survey taken in four Islamic countries (Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia) reveals that a vast majority of Muslims believe that the US’s current foreign policy seeks to “weaken and divide the Islamic world”, evidence that al Qaeda’s message has become increasingly convincing.   In other words, we’re losing the propaganda war.

So this begs the question(s):  What does it really mean to be “tough on terror”?   Is it support for torture, unconstitutional wiretaps, reckless invasions, “doubling gitmo“, increasing anti-American sentiment, etc.? 

Or, does it mean not doing what this administration has done?

and…

What the heck does it mean to be “soft”?

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