Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Who is in Charge of US Foreign Policy?

Why, Osama bin Laden is, at least according to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

At today’s press briefing, in answer to a question vaguely related to Joe Lieberman’s Connecticut primary loss, Mr. Snow rambled,

“Now, when the United States walked away, in the opinion of Osama bin Laden in 1991, bin Laden drew from that the conclusion that Americans were weak and wouldn't stay the course, and that led to September 11th.”

Leaving aside how Tony Snow knows what bin Laden was thinking way back in 1991, it appears that he put the blame for the Sept. 11 attacks squarely on the shoulders of the first President Bush and his Cabinet.
The Cabinet in which current Vice President Dick Cheney held the post now occupied by Donald Rumsfeld.

Blaming the victim and blaming your boss’ father and father-figure all in one sentence is at once quite an accomplishment but not necessarily a good idea.

But, as if he hadn’t said enough, Snow continued,

“And it's important to realize that terrorists are not simply inspired by American engagement in the world, but they have their own agenda and it is an agenda that if we turn around and look the other way, they're not going to ignore -- they will continue to build strength and they will continue to build adherence.”

Following Tony Snow’s logic, then, in order to avoid future attacks the US must persevere in whatever misguided (or otherwise) pursuit it undertakes, Forever-And-Ever-Amen.
Kind of like marriage only with more commitment.

Constantly viewing vital policy decisions in the context of what would bin Laden think deprives the United States of the ability to formulate creative and independent options, and at the very least is a convenient and facile attempt to shut down critics and put a stop to healthy debate.
In this regard, I am sad to say, it appears that the terrorists have won.