seems to be the only
candidate who is
The American Spark
Edwards Offers New War Strategy On 9/11 Anniversary
By Cliff Montgomery - Sept. 12th, 2007
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards recently offered this year's first substantial remembrance of
the Sept. 11th, 2001 attacks on our people by Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network.
While his Democratic and Republican rivals have merely shown up at any perceived photo op which may aid
their presidential hopes, Edwards was in Manhattan last week to give perhaps this year's first engaging political
speech on the matter.
Edwards--a former North Carolina senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee--offered a sober,
considered speech about those attacks at Pace University in New York City on September 7th, 2007. His
statement served up a stinging critique of the Bush Administration's incompetence during its proclaimed "War
on Terror", while offering a much more reasonable approach to stopping bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
While producing a more coherent strategy for America's terror fight is no great effort, Edwards should get
points from Americans of all stripes for offering a clear, comprehensive alternate vision for fighting this
war--which is sorely needed.
We'll offer a few samples of Edwards' speech below:
"On a beautiful, bright September day almost six years ago, a group of 19 men stepped onto four airplanes,
intending to kill as many people as they could, intending to terrorize America. Just a few blocks from here, the
hijackers crashed their terrible ideology into the American dream.
"Nearly 3,000 Americans died on that horrible day in New York City, in Arlington, Virginia, and in Shanksville,
Pennsylvania. They were bankers and busboys, secretaries and firemen, and they were all our brothers and
"The world stood united behind America after 9/11. But instead of leading a truly visionary campaign against
global terrorism, our president led America down a garden path.
"He used the attacks to justify a pre-conceived war against a nation he now admits had no ties to Al Qaeda.
"He then offered belligerence and hostility to the world community, and we have been rewarded in kind.
"President Bush, like the Republicans following him today and even some Democrats, was stuck in the past,
and he still is. He had no grasp of the new threats we faced, so he failed to offer a vision to keep us safe in a
world that had changed. Saddam Hussein was the threat he knew, so Iraq was the war he waged.
"We needed new thinking and a bold vision to protect the world for our children; instead, George Bush literally
gave us his father's war--but without his father's allies or his father's sense of decency.
"What's more and what's worse, the so-called 'war on terror' he used as his excuse for war in Iraq became his
excuse for trampling our Constitution and, most perversely, for ignoring the demands of the actual struggle
"Because in George Bush's reality, disagreement is called weak, challenge is suspect, and opposition
"Six years later, the devastating consequences of the Bush 'war on terror' doctrine are so clear that his own
Administration has had to admit them.
"The State Department recently released a study showing that terrorism has increased worldwide 25 percent
in 2006, including a 40 percent surge in civilian fatalities.
"And as everyone here knows, Osama bin Laden is still at large. Six years ago, President Bush declared that
he wanted bin Laden 'dead or alive.' This is his starkest failure."
Edwards then advanced his own war plan, which centers on a NATO-like approach to terrorism. We quote:
"The centerpiece of this policy will be a new multilateral organization called the Counterterrorism and
Intelligence Treaty Organization (CITO).
"Every nation has an interest in shutting down terrorism. CITO will create connections between a wide range of
nations on terrorism and intelligence, including countries on all continents, including Asia, Africa, Latin America,
and Europe. New connections between previously separate nations will be forged, creating new possibilities.
"CITO will allow members to voluntarily share financial, police, customs and immigration intelligence. Together,
nations will be able to track the way terrorists travel, communicate, recruit, train, and finance their operations.
And they will be able to take action, through international teams of intelligence and national security
professionals who will launch targeted missions to root out and shut down terrorist cells.
"It's important to note that CITO is not a panacea, nor will it be perfect. But it would represent the first step in a
So let's give it to Edwards. He's the only presidential candidate of either major party to offer thoughtful,
coherent plans on numerous issues--from aiding the poor, to fixing health care and creating a realistic,
workable war policy.
John Edwards appears to be the only major presidential candidate who is treating regular Americans like
adults. He deserves every voter's admiration, even if doesn't necessarily get their vote.
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