Thursday, March 30, 2006

Security Blanket

After much polling, internal debate and occasional public hand-wringing, the Democrats have come out with a national security plan of their own.

Flanked by former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed that Democrats could do a better job of defending the country than the administration has done since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Declaring that the administration’s “dangerous incompetence has made America less safe,” Reid said, “We are uniting behind a national security agenda that is tough and smart, an agenda that will provide the real security President Bush has promised, but failed to deliver.”


Among the proposals in the “Real Security” plan: eliminate bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network, implement in full the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, and work to make 2006 a year of “significant transition” in Iraq.

On terrorism, the Democrats call for doubling the size of U.S. Special Forces and eliminating terrorist breeding grounds by “combating the economic, social and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive.”

Democrats have been badly divided over Iraq. The new strategy urges Iraqis to assume responsibility for their own security, recommends “responsible redeployment” of U.S. forces without specifying a timetable and blames the administration for poor planning and manipulating prewar intelligence.

The statement contains language — voiced by Pelosi, Reid and others yesterday — that the Democrats’ security agenda will be both “tough and smart” in contrast to the “dangerous incompetence” the Bush administration has shown — language that has been tested by the Democrats in anticipation of the fall campaign.

Albright decried the Bush administration’s “rank incompetence” on such issues as the Iraq war and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Albright called for a security plan based on “facts not fantasy.”

A series of national polls released in recent days have shown Democrats making up ground on Republicans when voters are asked which party they trust to better deal with issues of terrorism and homeland security.

There aren’t a whole lot of details in the five-page plan (PDF), but since it’s basically a campaign document, the details don’t matter at this point. After all, on Madison Avenue, they’re not concerned whether or not the product actually works as well as they say it will in the ads; they just want to sell it. Fortunately for the Democrats they have a ready and willing market because the product the electorate has been using for the last five years or so hasn’t lived up to the hype.

Of course the Republicans immediately pounced.

…Vice President Cheney [argued] that Democrats’ “behavior has been totally inconsistent with what they’re now promising they’re going to do.”

Look who’s talking. Kenneth Quinnell at T. Rex’s Guide to Life has been keeping track of the Bush administration’s stellar record on terrorism and security.

  • Osama bin Laden: whereabouts unknown
  • Mullah Omar: whereabouts unknown
  • Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: whereabouts unknown
  • Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: whereabouts unknown
  • Documents that prove Iraq was connected to terrorism or had WMDs: whereabouts uknown, validity in question
  • The killers of Nick Berg: whereabouts unkown
  • Moqtada al-Sadr: whereabouts known, but still at large and pretty much abandoned as a target
  • Iraqi-U.N. bomb plotters: whereabouts unknown
  • The Valerie Plame Leakers: whereabouts unknown (okay, they are known, we just aren’t being told)
  • The Anthrax killer(s): whereabouts unknown
  • The Ricin terrorists: whereabouts uknown
  • Numerous priceless historical artifacts in Iraq: whereabouts unknown
  • Saddam Hussein: Captured!
  • Qusay Hussein: Killed!
  • Uday Hussein: Killed!
  • You were saying, Mr. Cheney?