On Bush, Osama, the war, and the electorate

Steven Benen has a fascinating post up about how the Democratic leadership had to recreate a special unit dedicated to catching Osama bin Laden. That’s right: there was once a special CIA unit whose primary task was to catch Osama, and Bush disbanded it right before the Fourth of July, where news of it promptly vanished into the bright lights of holiday fireworks. And now the Senate – thanks to Democrats – have recreated it.

My favorite Senator to mock – Ted Stevens of Alaska – had these choice words:

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska blasted the amendment as a politically motivated “slam at the intelligence community,” but urged fellow Republicans to go on record supporting it.

But the really interesting thing about Benen’s post is how he notices Bush is using bin Laden’s statements to prop up his own anti-terror agenda. Benen:

There’s just something fundamentally strange about the president saying, “If you don’t believe me, believe bin Laden.”

Does that mean the President thinks bin Laden is a more credible source?

You may have seen in today’s “Links” post the ad from the conservative group, “Progress for America,” which basically tries to terrify us into voting Republican this election, although I think this tactic will fail miserably.


Check out the CBS/NYTimes poll (also in “Links”) analyzing citizen views on terror. The main story is that fewer people feel “safe” than did five years ago. A growing number of people also said the threat of terror has increased since 9/11.

But check out why they feel this way:

…by a four-to-one margin (48 percent to 12 percent), Americans think the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism against the United States worse rather than better.


Both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are viewed as having created breeding grounds for terrorists. Fifty-four percent say the wars have created more terrorists, while just 15 percent say they’ve eliminated terrorists.

There’s also increased pessimism about the overall war on terrorism, with 21 percent — the highest number ever — saying the terrorists are winning. Thirty-six percent say the United States is winning and 38 percent say neither side is winning.

It is true that about half the respondents feel comfy with Bush’s terror agenda and that it’s effective. Why? The poll speculates that “nearly half of Americans don’t think terrorism is a problem a president can do much about.”

Besides showing some deep and misguided flaws in the reasoning capability of the electorate, the poll also shows one thing: if the Republicans continue hammering on national security – as they will – the Democrats need to respond by showing that the Iraq War is detracting from out nation’s security – as it is – and by putting forth a clear agenda on how they plan to reduce terrorism. An easy way would be to hammer the point that they will spend resources in catching Osama bin Laden.

Which brings us back to the recent Democratic Senate leadership action of re-creating the CIA group dedicated to catching Osama.

Jon Tester has said he’d push the government to go after Osama bin Laden if elected. Burns has advocated “unwavering support” of Bush’s Iraq War. Had enough? The choice is clear.


  1. Bush and Osama, tandem terrorizers.

  2. Jay, both you and the Times are a bit over your head here.

    …by a four-to-one margin (48 percent to 12 percent), Americans think the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism against the United States worse rather than better.

    How about this interpretation.

    52% believe that the threat of terrorism against the United states has either remained the same or gotten better.

    And then there’s this:

    Besides showing some deep and misguided flaws in the reasoning capability of the electorate

    Huh, wasn’t it you who just said that 80% of Americans favored universal health care. Are they misguided or are they correct?

    I suggest some further training in both logic and statistics.

    Oh, and just so you don’t get trigger happy with your logical constructs here and come up with another unsound syllogism, I’m not arguing terrorism, the war, or the wisdom of the American electorate. I’m arguing the soundness of your logic.

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