Thursday, May 24, 2007

John Edwards Blasts GWOT Concept

When someone is not currently occupying elected office, there is a certain freedom to speak truths that many would prefer not to hear.

Democrat John Edwards Wednesday repudiated the notion that there is a "global war on terror," calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained American military resources and emboldened terrorists.

In a defense policy speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Edwards called the war on terror a "bumper sticker" slogan Bush had used to justify everything from abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison to the invasion of Iraq.

"We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq military that is mission focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes," Edwards said. "By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have set -- that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam."

Edwards is not the first presidential candidate to publicly reject the notion of a war on terrorism. In a speech last fall, Democrat Joe Biden also criticized the doctrine as "simply wrong."

In the first presidential debate last month in South Carolina, Edwards and Biden said they did not believe there was a global war on terror, along with Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel. Front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama indicated that they did.

It was a new line of attack for Edwards, who often spoke out in support of pursuing a war on terror as a North Carolina senator and later as the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee.

"For us to be successful in this war on terrorism, we have to find these terrorist groups where they are, whether it's within our borders or outside our borders, and stop them and stamp them out before they do us harm," Edwards said in a 2004 CNN interview.

Edwards also voted in 2002 to authorize the invasion of Iraq but has since become a harsh critic of the conflict. In his speech, he reiterated his call to remove American combat troops from Iraq within a year and vowed to "restore the contract we have with those who proudly wear the uniform to defend our country and make the world a safe and better place."

One opportunistic politician who has perversely established his bona fides exclusively on the dead bodies of the 9/11 victims had a timely riposte to Edwards' observation:

Rudolph Giuliani accused Democrat John Edwards Wednesday of being dangerously in denial about the dangers of global extremism, ripping the former senator after Edwards said the president's war on terror was little more than a "bumper sticker."

"If you think there's a global war on terror as a slogan for George Bush, you are not facing reality," Giuliani said of Edwards, a potential rival for the White House. "It kind of makes the point that I've been making over and over again, that the Democrats, or at least some of them, are in denial." ...

"I guess this Democratic senator doesn't remember it -- bin Laden declared war on us," Giuliani said. In contrast, Giuliani said of terrorists, "I don't get fuzzy and romantic about it. I understand there are people in this world who want to come here and kill us."


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