As a registered Independent, I might be somewhat more objective than those with a more partisan alliance. So maybe the following examples of bipartisan blundering will be easier to consider since they are coming from a nonpartisan perspective.
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reported President Bush complaining that "The Democrats can't have it both ways. Either they believe that Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror or they agree with the intelligence community . . . . that the outcome of Iraq is important in the war on terror."
Why must the above be an "either/or" option? Why aren't Democrats or indeed, discerning Americans in general disputing this logic? Because the facts dictate that we can have it both ways inasmuch as all of the above is true. Iraq became a distraction from the war on terror, but because we put ourselves in a quagmire there, we must also deal with the new terrorist neighborhood that is now Iraq.
And why do Democrats let slide yet another non sequitur from Bush's lips? "Iraq is not the reason why the terrorists are at war with us."
True, Mr. President. Iraq was not the reason why the terrorists are at war with us. So why are we there? Why can't Americans untangle the twisted logic with which our president tries to ensnare us? Has he forgotten that we began post 9-11 by supporting the effort of going after the self-proclaimed terrorists where they lived and none of them lived in Iraq? Indeed, the only terrorist in Iraq prior to our invasion was Saddam Hussein.
Bush sets up the Democrats for an explosive retort that regretfully goes unspoken when he asks whether they really believe we'd be better off if Hussein were still in power. Politically incorrect, nearly blasphemous to even think but yes, the entire world would be better off with Hussein still in power! The LA Times reported that the White House under pressure, declassified intelligence that concluded the Iraq war was exacerbating the Islamic terrorist threat by fueling resentment toward the United States and providing a training ground for terrorist recruits. And the United Nations reports that torture and murder of Iraqi civilians are worse now than under Hussein's regime. This is all because our administration failed to plan for the law of unintended consequences.
The Democrats are throwing away their best campaign strategy when they fail to take on Bush's outrageous "either/or" remarks that showcase his convoluted logic. Globally diplomatic choices are seldom "either/or" propositions. They can also be both, neither, partially both, plus a plethora of other alternatives. When he declares an "either/or" scenario, he cuts off all other possible options.
The most egregious non-response on the part of the Democrats is when they fail to throw the Republican's words back at them, as when they smugly point with pride to the absence of any terrorist attacks in the United States since 9-11. Yet eight years elapsed between the first 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 2001 attack. Knowing our enemy's patience, how safe can you feel just five years after 9-11?
What Democratic leaders just don't get is that people who might be inclined to vote for them are not getting what fence-sitters like myself so desperately need. They speak of outlining an imminent exit policy from Iraq instead of the raw truth that we need to hear- admit that we're probably there for the long haul. Although it was a travesty to invade Iraq, we are now stuck there until we can amass a global partnership to unravel the mess we made. There simply can't be any quick withdrawal or we'll see the likes of what happens when removing an object from an impaled body. If it's pulled out too quickly, there will be severe hemorrhaging.
These are pivotal times that can make the Cold War threat seem harmless by comparison. If we realize that few choices are as simple as "either/or," then maybe we should seek those who are neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Because so far, both parties are in denial of some incontrovertible facts.
Unfortunately, however, ignoring the facts doesn't change them.