November 15, 2002
Wanted: Dead or alive

Matt Yglesias writes about Tom Daschle's criticism of George Bush in light of revelations that Osama bin Laden is likely still alive. First of all, I agree with Matt that they key to beating Bush is in making the case that someone else could be doing a better job of making America safe. Polls show that Americans trust Bush regarding Iraq and the War on Terror. In Texas, this trust is so great that they overwhelmingly support an invasion of Iraq even though they consider Osama and Al Quaeda a bigger threat. You've got to make people question that trust if they're going to pull the lever for someone else in 2004.

At the same time, I agree with John Cole in the comments. Failing to capture or kill OBL does not make the War on Terror a failure. The thing is, however, that OBL is a proxy for the greater war. As people like Jim Henley and his readers say, we outsourced the invasion of Afghanistan and defined our victory conditions very loosely. Once we acheived our easily-attained results, we pretty much lost interest even though we had dealt our enemy a merely temporary setback. Now we're so wrapped up in the at most ambiguous threat of Iraq that we've lost sight of our original intent, which was to destroy the terrorists' network and punish those who harbor them (*cough* *cough* Pakistan *cough* *cough*). If reminding people that OBL is still alive enables them to question our success in the real war, the one against an enemy that actually attacked us and killed our citizens, then I'll overlook the fact that it's basically shorthand.

I think there's a lot of room to criticize the President on the War on Terror. It's well past time for someone to do it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 15, 2002 to Iraq attack | TrackBack

If he's alive we can go pretty much anywhere to look for him. Just seeing the bright side.

Posted by: Anna on November 15, 2002 6:11 PM