Skip to comments.Sept. 11 now election fodder
Posted on 09/10/2004 11:42:12 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON (CP) -- It's still the ultimate defining day in America. But three years after suicide airliner hijackers killed nearly 3,000 people, it seems the tragedy of Sept. 11 has long lost its power to unify the country.
At best, it's still a symbol of personal courage and heroism; at worst, say some, an election-year marketing tool that will doubtless help determine whether President George W. Bush wins a second term this fall.
Republicans are doing everything they can to align Bush with the event that shaped his presidency and launched his policy of pre-emptive strikes.
There were countless images of that horrible day at the party's recent convention in New York, especially images of Bush standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers, vowing revenge.
Delegates were thrilled with the heroic presentation while many city dwellers were horrified at all the political overtures so close to the Ground Zero site.
Since opinion polls suggest Bush's tough anti-terror war is a clear advantage he enjoys over Democratic rival John Kerry, Republicans have dropped all semblance of subtlety about what they call the life-and-death risks of failing to re-elect him Nov. 2.
"The danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll get hit in a way that will be devastating," says Vice-President Dick Cheney, who's portraying Kerry as weak on terrorism and unfit to lead.
The Kerry camp, which promises a tough campaign against terrorists while only going to war when absolutely necessary, calls it a despicable effort to blackmail voters with fear.
What's unclear is whether enough Americans believe the argument that Bush would be better at keeping them safe and if that will determine their votes. The president has managed to earn favourable approval ratings on security despite some bad reviews since Sept. 11, 2001.
The commission investigating the attacks concluded this summer that his administration missed clues that might have prevented them, recommending a major shakeup of intelligence agencies that some say is long overdue.
Critics of the sprawling Homeland Security Department say there's still insufficient resources guarding ports, railways and chemical plants.
Activists say the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal has illuminated a dangerous lack of concern for civil rights at home and abroad in the aftermath of 9-11.
Top officials have been accused of consistently linking Iraq's deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein, with Sept. 11, when there's no evidence he had anything to do with it or posed any kind of immediate danger to the United States.
And despite a three-year search, the man that did orchestrate the plot, terror chief Osama bin Laden, is still at large.
The Center for American Progress, which tallied Bush's security changes and foreign policy over the last three years, gave him a failing grade Thursday. "Instead of taking advantage of the historical opportunity presented after the 9-11 attacks, the administration has emboldened the world's most dangerous regimes and terrorists and escalated the potential of another terrorist attack," said the group's president, John Podesta.
"The administration's catastrophic diversion in Iraq has turned the country into a new terrorist front, inflamed anti-American sentiment around the world and weakened the nation's ability to secure critical vulnerabilities at home."
Meanwhile, other countries are grappling with an increase in global terrorism against civilians that has become more vicious with the passing years.
Russia is now considering adopting a first-strike policy against terrorists in the aftermath of a school siege by Chechen rebels that killed more than 300 children and adults.
Suspected Muslim militants detonated a car bomb Thursday outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, killing nine people and wounding 173. Analysts are pondering whether the blast could influence elections in Australia, where the prime minister is running on a pro-American, anti-terror platform.
Bush officials note positive developments around the world, including turnarounds in Pakistan and Libya, as they prepared to mark the 9-11 anniversary.
But they concede there's been a serious backlash against U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"(There are) those who hope that at some point we might conclude that the pain and the cost of this fight isn't worth it," said Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"Our enemies have underestimated our country, our coalition. They have failed to understand the character of our people. And they certainly misread our commander-in-chief."
In a new videotape released Thursday, Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, claimed the United States is on the brink of defeat in both countries.
A recent survey of 34,330 adults in 35 countries suggested people in 30 countries felt Bush's foreign policy made them feel "worse" toward the United States and most preferred Kerry.
But while Americans voters seem concerned about how they're viewed by others, the poll suggested that outside opinions wouldn't make them change their votes. At home, the legacy of 9-11 shows up in personal fears. Americans worry as much about terrorism as losing their jobs or getting robbed, according to an Associated Press survey.
People most concerned about terrorism were more likely to support Bush than Kerry.
Calculated or not, frequent warnings from top officials about another looming terrorist attack serve to reinforce those fears.
The country's alert level was raised last month at financial institutions in New York City, New Jersey and Washington, based on information from several arrested al-Qaida terrorists and computer disks containing surveillance photographs.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told The Associated Press on Thursday that the United States should be on guard against another al-Qaida attack until the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.
"A couple different sources" have talked about a plan to disrupt the election, he said.
"Most people think in terms of either the election or the inaugural. We don't really focus so much on the date. Their intention is well known."
.....While Kerry did not offer a detailed strategy of his own for Iraq, several advisers said they were examining options for withdrawing US troops from Iraq by the
end of 2008, a goal the Democratic presidential nominee set on Monday. Ideas include convening a series of meetings with other heads of state, first Europeans and
then Middle Eastern leaders, and offering financial incentives that invite nations like Russia, France, Egypt, and Jordan to contribute troops to Iraq.
Kerry advisers in Washington yesterday discussed the timing of a possible speech on Iraq strategy, including the concern of some that unveiling an exit plan that --
even though it may excite some voters critical of the war -- may lock Kerry into a game plan that does not fit the conflict come January 2005.
" . . . But we don't want to tie the senator's hands by staking a plan right now. Iraq is so complex, we have to tread carefully."
Campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill, when asked if Kerry would explain how he would withdraw troops in four years, said: "I think you'll see John Kerry's plans
for Iraq unfolding as the race continues this fall."
Kerry has struggled for more than a year to clarify his views on Iraq, and yesterday's speech was full of sharply worded rebukes to set him apart from Bush, such as
his use of the word "wrong" 29 times in a half-hour speech to describe the choices, directions, and leadership that the president offered. The harsh language reflected
his campaign's repositioning of him in an underdog role -- a role he likes as races wind down -- in light of three polls early this week that gave Bush the first clear
edge in the race.....
hello? the winnipeg sun? winnipeg doesn't even have an nhl team anymore, so why should anyone care what a winnipiggi thinks?
"Why We Fight!"
I think the President should address the nation tomorrow night during prime time and call for a moment of silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives on September 11 and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice on the war on terror; which we should start calling it what it is: THE WAR ON ISLAMIC FASCISM!
What a ridiculous statement. The Republicans don't have to do a thing to "align" W with 9/11. He simply is.
September 11, 2003
President Bush remembered 9/11 in typical fashion with simple, religious moments and littel fanfare. There was no need for politics today, but instead it was a time to be simply human, and distinctly an American citizen.
Marking what he called simply the anniversary of "a sad and terrible day," President Bush attended an early-morning prayer service Thursday followed by a moment of silence marking the instant the first terrorist-hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center two years ago.
Bush and his wife Laura sat in the front pew at St. John's Church across from the White House for a short service in which several top administration officials read from scriptures. It was a beautiful, cloudless morning much like Sept. 11, 2001, the day that an unsuspecting America suffered the cruelest attack ever on its own soil.
About an hour later, Bush and his wife, alongside Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, emerged from the White House to join more than 1,000 members of his staff on the grass of the South Lawn. Chefs, maids, groundskeepers and workmen stood with members of the military and senior officials in suits and dresses.
The president bowed his head at 8:46 a.m., EDT -- the moment the first of the hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center -- then the foursome turned without speaking and returned inside. Bush and his wife held hands as they walked.
Leaving the church, Bush described his thoughts. "Today our nation remembers. We remember a sad and terrible day, September the 11th, 2001. We remember lives lost. We remember the heroic deeds. We remember the compassion and the decency of our fellow citizens on that terrible day," he said.
"Also today is a day of prayer. We pray for the husbands and wives and moms and dads and sons and daughters and loved ones of those who still grieve and hurt. We pray for strength and wisdom. We thank God for the many blessings of this nation, and we ask His blessings on those who especially hurt today."
It is inappropriate for President Bush to include in his campaign how he responded to 9/11.
It is appropriate for those who don't like Bush to include in their rhetoric how he responded to 9/11.
Okay, got it.
The Left has no footing and is sinking.
The Democrats have become the Party Of 9/10. According to Rush, there are two types of Democrats in today's party: those who want to forget 9/11 never happened and those who want 9/11 to go away. The Democrats are united around refusing to come to grips with the reality this country was ATTACKED three years ago by ISLAMOFASCIST terrorists and we're still at WAR with those bent on the destruction of our country. They don't get what day tomorrow means cause deep down they're in denial there's evil in the world. As Peggy Noonan said, the can say til they're blue in face they're fans of John Wayne but the truth is they're pacifists at heart.
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