Monday, August 02, 2004

An Open Letter to My Sister

Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton YearsI've gotten some complaints (and also a few kudos) for concentrating so heavily on politics over the last few weeks. Technology issues -- which I will post about again in the near future (I promise) -- have become secondary because of the importance I place on the presidential election.

In fact, even my sister wrote the following to me:

Doug -

Please stop emailing me. Seriously. I don't open anything you send anymore.

Now my sister is a die-hard liberal, who is very eloquent, very intelligent, and believes strongly (as I do) in most of the social issues that we associate with the Democratic party.

But - here's a crude view graph that expresses my opinion on the relative importance of the major campaign issues.

Women's rights  *

Gay rights *
Education *
Environment *
The Elderly *
Civil Rights *
AIDS Research *
Energy Policy *
Healthcare **
Economy *****
War on terror *******************************************************

Now, why would I weigh the war on terror so highly?

Well, for one, the stated goal of Islamic extremists is to acquire nuclear weapons and to 'end' America. But can we take them seriously? Well, if 9/11 didn't convince you of the gravity of the situation...

There exist today many nuclear components and perhaps even portable delivery systems (like nuclear suitcase weapons). And the extremists have tried to purchase nuclear components before -- as early as '94. All it takes is one. Tto help you envision it, here's a scenario I wrote up one day. But I think you can judge for yourself what the ramifications might be of a single nuclear detonation in one of our major cities.

Let's put it this way: such an attack would devastate the economy and result in a major, worldwide recession or depression. There will be no funds with which we could help the elderly, fund healthcare initiatives, gain energy independence, and so on and so on.

Bottom line: a single, major attack would render all other issues completely irrelevant.

Okay, but why would Bush do a better job than Kerry?

I'm simply going on history here: I reviewed Kerry's 20+ year record on military and intelligence issues. It was, I must say, frightening. He has literally been on the wrong side of every major military and intelligence issue since he joined the Senate.

Need proof? Kerry fought Reagan's efforts -- tooth and nail -- to rebuild the military which ended up bankrupting the Soviets and ending the Cold War. Okay, that's only one mistake. But how about his backing of the Communist-aligned Sandanistas in Nicaragua? Let's put it this way, the Sandanistas aren't around any more. Or his strenuous opposition to the raid on Libya after American servicemen were murdered by Kaddafi's agents in the disco bombing? That's the raid that put an end to Kaddafi's gambit.

Interestingly, Kerry served on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence, so presumably he'd have an excellent background for the war on terror. Unforunately, he missed 78% (38 out of 49) of the public committee meetings. And he won't release his private attendance records. Even worse, not long after the first WTC bombing, he proposed cuts of $7.5 billion in Intelligence funding (even Teddy Kennedy voted against him). He has a consistent record of attempting to cut Intelligence funding: he tried it four times during the 90's, while the extremist threat grew.

Kerry has also consistently opposed every major weapons system with which we defend ourselves today. He voted against the B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, F-16, M1 Abrams, Patriot Missile, Aegis Cruiser, Apache Helicopter, Tomahawk Cruise Missile...

Bottom line: Kerry's twenty-plus year Military and Intelligence record in the Senate is truly frightening if you're at all concerned about prosecuting the war on terror.

Is Bush a panacea?

Heck, no. I disagree with the president on nearly every major social issue. But I do know one thing. He has -- and will continue, if elected -- to pursue terror on an extremely aggressive course. He doesn't worry about political expediency. And based upon my weighting system, that's all that really counts.

By the way, if you're still not convinced that invading Iraq was a step in the right direction, here are some interesting facts that you may not be aware of: Iraq funded suicide bombers, provided a Boeing 707 for training hijackers, harbored the notorious terrorists Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal, and its vice-president was responsible for official relationships with Hamas, the PLO and Islamic Jihad. That, by itself, was reason enough to smash Hussein's regime -- without even getting onto the topic of genocide. Saddam didn't need a laminated 'Al Qaeda' membership card - he was affiliated with plenty of other extremist terror groups.

Then we have the others. North Korea. Iran. Saudi Arabia. All will need to be dealt with in due time: militarily, diplomatically, or economically. I think we can agree that a steady hand is required. Kerry's record on military and intelligence issues is not exactly what I would term "steady".

I love my family - and my country

I'll boil it down as simply as I can. I love my sister, my brother-in-law and their beautiful baby boy. And I'm frightened for them -- and for my entire family. And for my country. Is this an irrational fear? Based upon what we know, I think not.

Nobody listened to Hitler when he wrote Mein Kampf. Are we listening to Bin Laden?

The American people had better listen. This is a nuclear threat. America must elect a candidate who has shown a willingness to aggressively prosecute war against extremist Islam, even when said prosection is unpopular.

Failure to do so could truly be catastrophic.

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