Fisking Sullivan On Bush’s War On Terror “Incompetence”

Like I’ve said before, I don’t generally read Andrew Sullivan’s tortured ramblings anymore. Ever since Sullivan decided that W’s support for a Constitutional Amendment to protect marriage made him an unacceptable candidate, his writing — while eloquent as always — has been a trainwreck in the logic department. As you read Sullivan’s musings, you almost can’t help but think that if Kerry were the one who backs a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, Sully’s position on everything from the Swift Boat Vets to how Iraq is being managed would be 180 degrees different.

Of course, you expect that sort of thing from Atrios or The Daily Kos, but it’s much more irritating when Sullivan does it. Maybe that’s because like the New York Times or LA Times, Sullivan purports to be a neutral….wait, that’s not even an accurate description. Sullivan is essentially a “used to be serious” about the war on terrorism, fiscally conservative, left-winger who’s upset because Bush doesn’t support his pet issue. Heck, the New York Times may be as biased as Sullivan is when it comes to Bush, but at least they don’t try to pretend that they’re mainstream conservatives while they’re doing it.

In any case, when I ran across a link to this passage from Sullivan as I was reading I Love Jet Noise, I felt compelled to jump in…

“But the competence of the current leader cannot be completely irrelevant. If his incompetence means we actually lose the war, then surely some kind of reassessment is due. So the question becomes: how incompetent is he? And that’s a matter of degree not kind. You also have to unpack the notion of “fighting a war.” What does that exactly mean? Invading Iran? Or North Korea? Those are not viable options. We’ve already invaded two countries in three years. And much of this war is indeed police work and law enforcement and this president understands that as well. It’s a blend of strategies; and the blend will shift with the circumstances. This hyperventilating about who “gets it” only gets us so far. And what disappoints me about Bush supporters is their apparent inability to give specifics about where their candidate differs or would differ from Kerry. I’m listening. And I hear little but rhetoric.”

I think this particular line is indicative of the alternate universe Sullivan has been living in for the better part of the last year…

“And what disappoints me about Bush supporters is their apparent inability to give specifics about where their candidate differs or would differ from Kerry. I’m listening. And I hear little but rhetoric.”

What is Sullivan talking about? The majority of the campaign has centered around foreign policy. There was a debate entirely about the subject. The number of columns, posts, and the amount of time spent on talk radio discussing this topic have been ENORMOUS.

You have a hawk vs. a dove — a man who thinks we have to go after terrorists where they live vs. a man who thinks the war on terrorism should be about law enforcement. Bush believes it’s a necessity that we stick it out in Iraq and help them build a Democracy while it’s entirely possible Kerry will cut and run. Bush supports the Patriot Act, Kerry wants to gut it. We have multilateral talks vs. bilateral talks in North Korea, letting the UN have the last word on our national defense vs. doing whatever it takes to win, keeping US soldiers from being prosecuted at the International Criminal Court vs. joining up, & a steady and predictable Commander-and-Chief vs. one who always seems to tow the liberal line while changing what he says based on who he’s talking to.

Again, what is Sullivan talking about?

Also, Bush is “incompetent”? If every American President had been as “incompetent” as Bush at foreign policy we’d probably be living in a “Star Trek world” now and there’d be peace on earth, one world government, and we’d all be wearing the same uniforms….actually, come to think of it, I’m really glad that hasn’t happened. The peace on earth part would be fine, but the one world government and the uniforms? No thanks.

But, I digress.

Consider that in just 2 months, Bush took down Afghanistan, a nation that stymied the Soviets for a decade, smashed the Taliban & Al-Qaeda’s training camps, and helped Afghanistan to have a successful nationwide election.

He also crushed Saddam Hussein, who had been sticking his thumb in our eye since the Gulf War, and that country has elections scheduled for January of next year.

That’s 50 million people freed from tyranny and two enemies of America taken down.

Furthermore, we’ve rounded up more than 3000 Al-Qaeda operatives world wide and captured 3/4ths of their pre-9/11 leadership. And if Osama Bin Laden wasn’t killed at Tora Bora — which is a big “if” — he has been hiding in a hut somewhere laying low for almost two years and is unable to be involved in day to day operations for Al-Qaeda.

On top of that, Bush has convinced Libya to get out of the WMD and terrorism business, turned Pakistan from a terror supporter to a terror fighter, broken a nuclear arms ring that had been run out of Pakistan, and he has gotten Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea together to bring North Korea to heel. He has also, amazingly enough, kept Al-Qaeda from hitting us again since 9/11…at least so far. How many people would have predicted that on 9/12/2001?

If that’s a record of “incompetence”, we should be so lucky as to have another four years of it.

But you know why people like Sullivan can get away with calling Bush “incompetent” without people laughing at them for saying something so ridiculous?

Because they obsessively focus on minutiae. The press spends weeks examining every detail of relatively unimportant stories like the minor looting that occurred at the Baghdad museum, Abu Ghraib, and these Al-Qaqaa explosives which were almost certainly moved before we ever arrived, while hardly looking at the big picture.

Imagine if the spinmeisters and the press spent as much time incessantly carping about every little thing that went wrong in WW2 as they do about the war on terror? How do you think things would have turned out if the Republicans and the press were all calling the war an unwinnable quagmire a few weeks in and saying a thousand men lost was an unacceptable loss? And in 1941, we didn’t have to worry about a Kamikaze or a Nazi sneaking a nuclear weapon into New York or LA and making the city disappear under a mushroom cloud.

As Abraham Lincoln said of Ulysses S. Grant, a man who was bitterly criticized even as he helped lead the North to victory, “I can’t spare this man — he fights”. And yes, George Bush may have a position on gay marriage that Andrew Sullivan doesn’t care for, but we cannot spare George Bush because “he fights” and he has shown that he can do it exceedingly well…

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