Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Losing Argument: We’re fighting terrorists in Iraq so we don’t have to fight them on the streets of America.

Losing argument:

“[W]e are defending the peace by taking the fight to the enemy – confronting them overseas so we do not have to confront them here at home.” – White House, 9/11/04

Why it's a loser:

1. Fighting overseas isn’t enough. We must make sure we are fighting the right enemy overseas and protect against terrorism at home. The Bush Administration went to war in Iraq, even though the 9/11 commission found no “collaborative relationship” between Saddam and al Qaeda. The Iraq war has diverted $145 billion from the war on terrorism, increasing the need to fight terrorism at home.(Washington Post)

2. The terrorist threat at home still exists. Al Qaeda sleeper cells “continue to recruit new members, assist in the acquisition of safe houses and equipment, conduct pre-attack surveillance and relay messages from terrorist leaders and planners.” While al Qaeda now receives less than the $30 million per year it received before the 9/11 attacks, it has moved on to less expensive methods and no longer pays the Taliban for safe harbor each year. (
Los Angeles Times, Washington Times)

3. The Bush Administration refuses to make a real commitment to homeland security. The Administration has prided itself on its advances in aviation security, but the Department of Homeland Security still has no comprehensive plan to defend aircrafts from the threat of shoulder-fired missiles. (Experts estimate there are roughly 500,000 such missiles.) In critical infrastructure, 4,000 chemical plants have been identified as “high risk,” but many are still secured by only a padlock and chain. The Administration has cut funding for police officers by $1.3 billion and many cops do not have adequate protective gear or training to safely secure a site following an attack with a nuclear, radiological, or biological weapon. (
GAO, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CRS, CFR)