Contrary to the claims of President Bush, the United States is not only just as vulnerable to terrorist attacks as it was in 2001, it is more vulnerable. This is due directly to the blunders and negligence of the Bush administration.
For one thing, the U.S. borders and ports remain wide open. There has been no serious effort on behalf of the federal government to thwart the invasion (and that is exactly what it is) of illegal aliens across our southern border.
Not only has President Bush done nothing to secure our borders, he has just last week opened the door for Mexican trucks to come unimpeded across our southern border. These trucks will have free access to our entire country.
Can one imagine the amount of drug trafficking, illegal aliens, and even potential terrorists that will be smuggled across our borders in these trucks? Plus, think of the safety concerns these drivers and trucks will bring to America's highways.
In addition, the Bush administration has done nothing to slow the flow of legal immigration from countries that our own State Department identifies as "terrorist" nations. Virtually every Muslim country in the Middle East routinely sends students and professionals to the U.S. via student visas, work visas, etc. They even serve in America's armed forces and in our security agencies.
This is insane!
Yet, President Bush would have us believe that he is fighting a "war on terrorism" by invading Iraq—a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. However, the war in Iraq has done little to fight terrorism, and has done much to assist it.
Instead of invading a country with no ties to 9/11, we should have followed Congressman Ron Paul's advice. Congress should have passed H.R. 3076, the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001, and sent our forces on a specific and narrow mission to take out bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
According to Paul,
"A letter of marque and reprisal is a constitutional tool specifically designed to give the president the authority to respond with appropriate force to those non-state actors who wage war against the United States while limiting his authority to only those responsible for the atrocities of that day. Such a limited authorization is consistent with the doctrine of just war and the practical aim of keeping Americans safe while minimizing the costs in blood and treasure of waging such an operation."
This is precisely what President Thomas Jefferson did when America's ships were confronted with Barbary Pirates on the high seas.
A few days following the attacks on 9/11, and drawing from our own history and Constitution, Congressman Paul proposed the following to his fellow members of Congress:
"If we can't or won't define the enemy, the cost to fight such a war will be endless. How many American troops are we prepared to lose? How much money are we prepared to spend? How many innocent civilians, in our nation and others, are we willing to see killed? How many American civilians will we jeopardize? How much of our civil liberties are we prepared to give up? How much prosperity will we sacrifice?
"The founders and authors of our Constitution provided an answer for the difficult tasks that we now face. When a precise declaration of war was impossible due to the vagueness of our enemy, the Congress was expected to take it upon themselves to direct the reprisal against an enemy not recognized as a government. In the early days the concern was piracy on the high seas. Piracy was one of only three federal crimes named in the original Constitution.
"Today, we have a new type of deadly piracy, in the high sky over our country. The solution the founders came up with under these circumstances was for Congress to grant letters of marque and reprisal. This puts the responsibility in the hands of Congress to direct the President to perform a task with permission to use and reward private sources to carry out the task, such as the elimination of Osama bin Laden and his key supporters. This allows narrow targeting of the enemy. This effort would not preclude the president's other efforts to resolve the crisis, but if successful would preclude a foolish invasion of a remote country with a forbidding terrain like Afghanistan- a country that no foreign power has ever conquered throughout all of history.
"Lives could be saved, billions of dollars could be saved, and escalation due to needless and senseless killing could be prevented." [Ron Paul speech in the House of Representatives, September 25, 2001]
Had we followed Dr. Paul's counsel, Osama bin Laden and most of his al-Qaeda terrorists would no doubt be dead, our troops would not be bogged down in another no-win war in Iraq, and America would not be hated and despised by almost everyone in the world as it is today.
Following the attacks on 9/11, the world (for the most part) held America in sympathy. Therefore, a narrowly focused, constitutional, and direct reprisal would have been completely understood and supported by virtually all of the world's leaders and peoples.
As it is now, the United States is viewed around the world as an imperialistic and warmongering monster. Not to mention the kind of resentment and animosity our invasion of Iraq has produced among Muslim people throughout the world.
In fact, our invasion and occupation of Iraq is al-Qaeda's biggest recruitment tool. As a result, there are actually more al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq today than there were before we invaded Iraq.
Plus, just as Ron Paul warned, the Bush administration and a compliant congress have used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to assault the constitutional liberties of the American people. The USA Patriot Act has all but demolished the 4th Amendment, and has turned America into a virtual surveillance society. As far as liberty is concerned, we have far more to fear from Washington, D.C., than from Baghdad.
George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq will go down in history as one of the biggest and most dangerous blunders of all time. I am not sure that America will fully recover from this debacle for the next half century.
When one considers the moral failures, the economic ramifications, the strain on military readiness, the rise of anti-American hatred, the potential for future terrorism, and the loss of America's allegiance to "just war" philosophy surrounding the Iraq war, the total damage to our country is incalculable.
It makes one wonder whether the 9/11 attackers did not win after all.
Correction: I need to correct something I said in my last column. [09/08/07 - Thoughts On The Larry Craig Scandal]In the column, I referred to Alan Stang's book Not Holier Than Thou, in which he points out that President Bush has appointed numerous known homosexuals to high public office, just as did his predecessor, Bill Clinton. I included in that list former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci, who was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. I misquoted Alan Stang in that statement. Cellucci is not homosexual. However, his record as governor is extremely "pro-homosexual," which is the way I should have worded it. I apologize for the error.