Saturday, June 25, 2005

1,382 DAYS AFTER 9/11
The Progress Report
by Judd Legum, Faiz Shakir, Nico Pitney, Mipe Okunseinde and Christy Harvey



On October 26, 2001, President Bush said, "The elected branches of our
government, and both political parties, are united in our resolve
( to
fight and stop and punish those who would do harm to the American
people." That was before the administration's unwise, unfocused and
unsuccessful approach to combating terrorism helped push Bush's approval ratings
to historic lows ( . Out of
answers, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove went back to his biggest
strength, political mudslinging
. On Wednesday, Rove said that "[l]iberals saw the savagery of the 9/11
attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and
understanding for our attackers ( ." We
don't need an apology, we need a new anti-terrorism strategy.

objective measures, the Bush administration's approach to combating
terrorism is an abject failure. Last year "[t]he number of serious
international terrorist incidents more than tripled.

" According to State Department data, "attacks grew to about 655 last
year, up from the record of around 175 in 2003." How did the
administration respond? By halting the publication of the State Department report.
The year before, "the State Department retracted its annual terrorism
report and admitted that its initial version vastly understated the
number of incidents."

three and a half years ago Bush vowed to capture terrorist mastermind Osama
bin Laden " dead or alive
." He's failed. The administration wants you to think we are hot on his
tracks. CIA Director Porter Goss said he had " an excellent idea
(,2933,160039,00.html) " where bin Laden
is hiding. Vice President Cheney said he had " a pretty good idea
( of a
general area that he's in." Note to the Bush administration: close
doesn't count in terrorist manhunts.

1,382 DAYS AFTER 9/11 -- IRAQ WAR MAKING THINGS WORSE: According to the
CIA, "[t]he war in Iraq is creating a training and recruitment ground
for a new generation of "professionalized" Islamic terrorists
( ." An in-house CIA
think tank concluded that, since the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq has served
as " a training ground, a recruitment ground
( ."
In the poorly planned aftermath of the invasion "hundreds of foreign
terrorists flooded into Iraq across its unguarded borders." There is a
serious risk Iraq is now " creating newly radicalized and experienced
jihadis ( who return
home to cause trouble in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere."

1382 DAYS AFTER 9/11 - LOOSE NUKES: The Bush administration has
repeatedly asserted that nuclear weapons in the hands of our enemies is the
greatest threat to America
. Yet administration efforts to stop nuclear proliferation have been
lackluster. In May, " a monthlong conference to review the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty ended in complete failure.
( " U.S.
diplomacy was so anemic the parties "never engaged in a detailed discussion of
how to fix the gaping loopholes that many experts say have allowed a
resurgence in the spread of the most dangerous nuclear technologies." And
the pace at which we secured fissile materials -- the "gunpowder" used
to spark nuclear explosions -- in the former Soviet Union did not
accelerate after 9/11, according to a May 2005 study by scholars at Harvard
( .

AN INDEFENSIBLE PHILOSOPHY: Rove said that after 9/11 conservatives "
prepared for war
." He's right. Immediately after the attacks Paul Wolfowitz and others
in the Bush administration prepared for war in Iraq
-- a country that, by the president's own admission, had nothing to do
with the 9/11 attacks (
. After years of deception, more Americans understand what happened.
That's why now most people think the war in Iraq wasn't worth it
( and hasn't made us safer
. Now, Rove is desperate to create distractions.