Friday, June 23, 2006

The Democrats: America's proven security party.

So the Republicans are trying to shore up support for this year's elections by "declassifying" documents that contain information that was given to the press in 2002 and 2003 about how we haven't found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but we're still looking. They're referring to this as a development; some are even going so far as to claim it's proof that such weapons were found.

Really, it's just an attempt to muddy the waters of the debate. But if they want to make this election about national security, let's look at a few prime, recent examples of how national security and military issues were handled by the two major parties:

—The Bush administration ignored warnings about al Qaeda left by the Clinton administration, focusing instead on space-based missile defense (until September 11, 2001.)

—The Bush administration attacked Afghanistan but ordered U.S. troops to let Osama bin Laden escape when they had him cornered at Tora Bora.

—The Bush administration attacked Iraq based on fabricated evidence.

—The Bush administration got us stuck in Iraq, which we can't pacify and we can't abandon.

—The Clinton administration attacked al Qaeda encampments in Afghanistan in 1998, which Republicans condemned as a bloodthirsty act.

—The Clinton administration foiled a terrorist bombing plot on the World Trade Center in 1997. (I remember this well—most of the terrorists lived in my Jersey City, New Jersey neighborhood, and the nights were filled with police sirens for nearly a week.)

—The Clinton administration pushed for increased airline security, which was pushed aside by our Republican Congress, acting at the behest of the wishes of the airline industry. (The Bush administration, of course, did nothing to help with airline security until September 11, 2001.)

That list is by no means definitive; I'm sure you could come up with more examples (and I encourage you to post them in the comments section.) The bottom line is: if you look at the track record of the Republicans, you wouldn't think of them as the national security party at all. In fact, considering how the Republicans have handled security versus the Democrats, you'll probably want to thank God we all haven't been killed yet.

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