Point Counterpoint

Bush’s foreign policy flawed Right course for national security Emilie Haertsch Erin Cusack “On Sept. 11 there were no Democrats, no Republicans. We were only Americans.” This line from John Kerry’s speech at the Liacouras

Bush’s foreign policy flawed Right course for national security
Emilie Haertsch

Erin Cusack

“On Sept. 11 there were no Democrats, no Republicans. We were only Americans.” This line from John Kerry’s speech at the Liacouras Center last Friday sums up his attitude toward the War on Terror. It is not a liberal or conservative concern alone, but an issue that everyone holds important.

President Bush, in his three years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, has not done nearly enough to secure our country. In fact, due to the general unpopularity of the Iraq war, the world is actually a more unsafe place for Americans. If U.S. citizens want a more secure United States the answer is John Kerry.

President Bush propelled America into a costly and unnecessary war in Iraq, when he should have been focused on finding and eliminating Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Although Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator, he was not the most imminent threat. As proven by the fact that the United States was already attacked, Al Qaeda was the most pressing danger, yet Osama bin Laden is still at large and there has been an increase in the number of terrorist attacks worldwide since Sept. 11. In addition, North Korea and Iran are major threats in terms of the development of nuclear weapons, yet nothing is being done to quell these countries. Where is the logic here? Oh that’s right – we’re talking about George W. Bush.

In addition to involving the United States in Iraq, President Bush has made completely inadequate measures to secure the country at home. He did little to improve intelligence after the horrendous breech of Sept. 11. President Bush resisted the development of the 9/11 commission, and when he finally accepted its formation he refused to implement its suggestions. To top it all off, the Department of Homeland Security is not receiving nearly enough funds as it should be getting.

John Kerry, as outlined in his speech, has a plan to rectify flaws in the U.S. Homeland Security system. He is going to overhaul the intelligence system and create a new position, the National Intelligence Director, to oversee things. Kerry is also going to accept and implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

The Mexican and Canadian borders, now almost completely open to terrorists who wish to sneak through, will be tightly guarded under Kerry’s new plan. Seaport cargo, only 5 percent of which is now inspected, will go through full security checks. Chemical and nuclear power plants, obvious targets that would prove extremely deadly, will be protected. The police force, whose funding has been recently cut by President Bush, will have full funding restored, and the military will be increased by 40,000 troops.

Kerry will deny terrorists nuclear weapons by calling for a global ban on the development of new nuclear power. This is contrary to Bush’s plan to build a new nuclear missile that will never be used, wasting tax dollars that could be put to be better use.

John Kerry also plans to take immediate action to secure all nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, a matter over which Bush has been dragging his feet. With Kerry in the White House, the dangers of nuclear weapons development in Iran and North Korea would be taken very seriously, and the top priority would be to stifle these developments.

President Bush has neglected to hold the Saudi Arabian royal families accountable for financing of terrorist organizations, perhaps because he has personal ties with the families, or perhaps because the United States needs Saudi Arabian oil. John Kerry will hold these Saudis accountable, because he feels the safety of Americans is more imperative than the importation of natural resources. He will work to make the United States independent of Saudi oil so this will no longer be a concern in the War on Terror.

Most importantly, John Kerry hopes to assist the world’s poorest countries to keep up with adequate social and economic conditions. Terrorist organizations will not be able to recruit new members if there is not such a great resentment toward America by those in underdeveloped countries. Without a new generation of recruits terrorist organizations will die out. This is called “getting at the root of the problem,” but it’s perhaps a little too complex for Mr. Bush.

The issues that John Kerry addressed in his speech last Friday are not specific to the Democratic Party – they affect all Americans. President Bush has mishandled the War on Terror, and Kerry has a specific, intelligent plan to execute the War more effectively. This election is not about Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. If Americans desire a safer America, it’s time for a change, and John Kerry will provide the means.

Emilie Haertsch can be reached at tua05173@temple.edu.

Kerry’s unexpected visit to Philadelphia last Friday was critical and essential to his campaign for one reason – he took a stand on foreign policy.

The democratic candidate has been relentlessly chided for inconsistencies and ambiguous responses that fail to define him as a capable commander-in-chief. On a fundamental premise, Kerry separated himself from the assertion that Iraq posed an international or domestic terrorist threat, stating that in actuality, the Iraqi war effort diverted critical energies for the further prevention of attacks.

I find it peculiar and deliberately selective that the international community, the media, and Democrats themselves continue to argue for the war’s invalidity based upon its promise of recovering weapons of mass destruction. Secretary of State Colin Powell released to the United Nations verifiable incidents of agency, cooperation and subsidization pending the protracted decision for war, incidents that clearly linked Al Qaeda with Saddam’s regime.

Dating to the 1993 World Trade Center Attacks, perpetrator Abdul Rahman Yasin fled to Tikrit, Iraq (Saddam’s hometown) where he received both harbor and a monthly salary. Powell also publicly declared that Osama Bin Laden held conjunction with Iraq’s special security organization and its external intelligence a total of at least eight times in 1998. In October of 2000, an Iraqi intelligence operative was arrested along the Afghan border for translating intelligence to Al Qaeda’s front-line man, Ayman al Zawahiri. Even as far as 2001, an Iraqi embassy located in Pakistan was utilized as a liaison between the Iraqi dictator and Al Qaeda. Still, such indisputable associations have been completely dismissed, it seems, by politicians who are privy to the same intelligence and yet defy a solid connection. Perhaps partisan intelligence is skillfully applied in manipulating the public’s perception into war.

Kerry criticized Bush on every level regarding homeland security, claiming Bush had failed to effectively reform the intelligence system by opposing the 9/11 Commission and refusing to implement its recommendations for change. According to the official George Bush Web site, the administration is already implementing 36 of the 41 recommendations and working closely with Congress to further others.

Kerry also claims the nation’s preventive measures for terrorism are grossly inadequate, though his homeland agenda strikingly resembles actions, again, already in motion by the current administration.

President Bush has called for a 628 percent increase for enhanced port security, the Department of Homeland Security has located 17 high-risk chemical sites which will be sanctioned by December 2004, $115 million in grants has been allocated for progressing mass-transit security, and $13 billion has been given to the first responders (training and equipment) of state and local governments. Reconnaissance cameras, border patrols and unmanned aerial flights have substantially increased over our allegedly “porous borders.”

As far as freezing assets, $64 million has been secured by our Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and an additional $72 millions has been confiscated by 170 countries via joint U.N. resolutions 1373 and 1455. According to Kerry, “since 9/11 there have been no public prosecutions in Saudi Arabia, and few elsewhere of terrorist financers.” Certainly he overlooked the incident in January 2004 when the U.S. jointly froze the international charity Al-Haramian spread over four countries that had been traced to Al Qaeda. And he desires an independence from Saudi oil?

In fact, the only differentiation John Kerry’s homeland security agenda makes is his lack of support for the Patriot Act and nuclear weapons development. The Patriot Act was upheld throughout the investigations of the 9/11 Commission as being a critical device in tracking and capturing terrorists. Overwhelming bi-partisan majorities passed this legislation, whose provisions are set to expire, and even vice presidential candidate John Edwards revealed “we simply cannot prevail in the war on terrorism if the right hand of our government does not know what the left is doing.” As for the creation of weapons, contemporary warfare and non-negotiating dictators necessitate a level of technological supremacy.

What does Kerry embody after all of this being said? A democratic replica of wartime conservatism with a flair of schoolboy servitude to international approval. The supposed “unilateralism” Kerry speaks of is nothing but the resolute action (allied, I might add) promised by the governing body of the U.N. in seventeen failed resolutions. At some point, diplomacy fails and a moral objective must be set. Using his own words, I can only hope “the world knows the difference between empty promises and genuine commitments.”

Erin Cusack can be reached at tua05280@temple.edu.

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