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Ralph Nader made a campaign detour through Tinfoil Hatville on his way to Manhattan, calling for President Bush's impeachment -- five months before the general election -- and saying that the terrorist threat to the US has been exaggerated mere blocks away from Ground Zero:
Ralph Nader, the independent candidate for president, condemned President George W. Bush yesterday as a "messianic militarist" who should be impeached for pushing the nation into a war in Iraq "based on false pretenses."
Mr. Bush's actions "rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors," Mr. Nader said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. He said Mr. Bush had exceeded his authority in the face of widespread opposition at home and abroad. "The founding fathers did not want the declaration of war put in the hands of one man," he said, contending that United States foreign policy goals are being hindered because the president tends to "talk like an out-of-control West Texas sheriff."
He should take another meeting with his newest best buddy and consultancy client, John Kerry. Kerry can remind Nader that Bush got Congressional approval for the military action in Iraq, although perhaps Kerry doesn't talk about it all that much any more, especially in light of his "aye" vote on the resolution. Nader, apparently unmindful of the local geography and recent history of Manhattan, also insisted that Bush exaggerates the terrorist threat, although when pressed back away somewhat:
Mr. Nader also accused President Bush of exaggerating the threat of terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"To say that President Bush has exaggerated the threat of Al Qaeda is to trip into a political hornets' nest," he said. But he said it was time to raise "the impertinent question" about whether the threat had been "exaggerated for a purpose."
Mr. Nader said he believed such a deception had taken place, and had been intended in part to draw popular support for more militaristic policies and to generate military contracts for companies with close ties to the Bush administration.
It seems to me that we just had televised hearings excoriating both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the latter to a lesser degree to be sure, for underestimating the terrorist threat prior to 9/11. So which is it? Did he underestimate the threat before the massive attack on American soil, but now somehow "exaggerates" the threat in its aftermath? I understand that Nader doesn't represent Democrats, but he does represent a faction of the Left -- and the Left's incoherence on terrorism becomes more and more clear as time goes on. Bush's opposition seems to be split between those who are convinced he didn't do enough to stop terrorism and those who think he's doing far too much.
When asked what he would do to stabilize the region if US troops were removed unilaterally, Nader "declined to provide more detail." The silence on this topic is deafening. The cut-and-run crowd have no idea what their demands would do to the region; under the current conditions, a sudden removal of the only forces able to enforce civil law in Iraq would condemn that area to a Beirut of huge proportion and unimaginable consequences. Nader reveals himself to be nothing but a sloganeer, unwilling and/or unable to postulate any comprehensive strategy or even to demonstrate strategic thinking. I don't consider Nader to be a threat to win the election -- I'd have to be wearing a tinfoil hat to believe that -- but Nader will wind up pulling Kerry to the left in order to keep that part of the electorate in the Democrat column, and his agitation makes it too easy for defeatism to become mainstream. The administration needs to rebut this surrender mentality with more vigor than it has if it expects to keep the debate focused on victory instead of ignominious "exit strategies".
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