Media Blog reader Andrew M. writes in to point out Dan Froomkin’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post. In it, Froomkin quotes President Bush’s answer to a reporter’s question:
[Bush:] “Some people have guessed what’s in the report and have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree. I think it’s naive. I think it’s a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe.”
OK, that’s straw-man number one. Nobody I’ve heard of is suggesting that going on the offense against terrorists is bad. The question at hand is whether going on the offense against Iraq — which had nothing to do with 9/11 — made us less safe. By using this absurd straw-man, Bush leaves that issue unaddressed.
[Bold emphasis mine. Italics are Froomkin's.]
Straw-man number one? Apparently Froomkin doesn’t read the Washington Post website. In the column I linked to earlier today, the Washington Post’s own William M. Arkin makes that exact argument:
A lot more is needed today than getting out of Iraq.
If the Democrats had their way, and the “war” against terrorism were just accelerated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, my guess is that “it” would become the new “cause celebre.” The “war” against terrorism is the problem at this point, as is our simplistic view of ourselves and what we are fighting.
Froomkin also goes on to criticize Bush for this:
Bush: “My judgment is, if we weren’t in Iraq, they’d find some other excuse, because they have ambitions.“
But was it a mistake to give them such a powerful and motivating excuse? Bush won’t address that one.
Exactly what powerful and motivating excuse had we given the jihadists pre-9/11?