Monday, June 16, 2003

We knew it already, but this adds fuel to the fire

As we prominently display here, Bush is putting America in danger. And it would appear that we're not the only ones who think so: a former 35-year veteran of White House intelligence and terrorism threat assessment, who quietly left his job in mid-March of this year, has now joined John Kerry's campaign. Here's the reason why Rand Beers is now working to remove his former boss from office:

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure," said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. "As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out."

. . .

In a series of interviews, Beers, 60, critiqued Bush's war on terrorism. He is a man in transition, alternately reluctant about and empowered by his criticism of the government. After 35 years of issuing measured statements from inside intelligence circles, he speaks more like a public servant than a public figure. Much of what he knows is classified and cannot be discussed. Nevertheless, Beers will say that the administration is "underestimating the enemy." It has failed to address the root causes of terror, he said. "The difficult, long-term issues both at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or shortchanged and generally underfunded."

The focus on Iraq has robbed domestic security of manpower, brainpower and money, he said. The Iraq war created fissures in the United States' counterterrorism alliances, he said, and could breed a new generation of al Qaeda recruits. Many of his government colleagues, he said, thought Iraq was an "ill-conceived and poorly executed strategy."

And regarding the people with whom he had to deal:

"The first day, I came in fresh and eager," he said. "On the last day, I came home tired and burned out. And it only took seven months."

Part of that stemmed from his frustration with the culture of the White House. He was loath to discuss it. His wife, Bonnie, a school administrator, was not: "It's a very closed, small, controlled group. This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There's almost a religious kind of certainty. There's no curiosity about opposing points of view. It's very scary. There's kind of a ghost agenda."

People, if you want one single reason to remove Bush from office, this should be it. Personally, I think there are a lot of good reasons to kick Bush out, but the fact that he and his administration are making us less, not more secure less than two years after 3000 Americans died in a terrorist attack (and yet is perfectly eager to use those deaths to attempt to stay in power) should have every American clamoring for a replacement as soon as possible.

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