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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

“We don't have a strategy. We can't even decide what the problem is.”

This is what Daniel Goure, an adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, is quoted as saying. This may sound like an out-of-context remark of a man who feels frustrated as he is coming out of an unproductive meeting,- but to anyone who has read this article by Mick Youther it will likely sound like anything but.

As Mr Youther correctly observes,
Whenever pollsters ask, “Who is better on terrorism”, George W. Bush always gets high marks. Why? I don’t know, because the facts say something quite different.
This reflects precisely the impression I have had for a long time,- namely, that in all of this Administration's activities related to combating terrorism there is little to suggest that an outstanding job has been done. For some reason, however, the Bush detractors often fail to point this fact out, opting to give Bush credit for combating terrorism and criticize him for his performance in other areas. But there is reason to believe that even credit given him for his counter-terrorism efforts may be largely undeserved.

Mr Youther provides an excellent list of facts to believe that. Here are some.
• “Bush had been saying that he was proposing $3.5 billion in ‘new’ money for first responders. However, his budget tried to cut more than $1 billion out of existing grants to local police/fire departments to fund this. Then, in August of 2002, Bush rejected $150 million for grants to state and local first responders.” (There are fewer police and first responders on the streets today than on 9/11.-- The Progress Report, 9/9/04)

• “‘We're working hard to make sure your job is easier, that the port is safer.’--Bush, 6/24/02…The President’s 2003 and 2004 budget provides zero for port security grants. …Additionally, in August, the President vetoed all $39 million for the Container Security Initiative which he specifically touted.”

• “While Bush did hold a photo-op to sign legislation promising more INS/Border Patrol staff and facilities, his budget provided no additional money for this. Additionally, in August, Bush vetoed $6.25M for promised pay upgrades for Border Patrol agents…. His 2004 Budget slashes total total “Border and Transportation Security” by $284 million.”
It is about time for me to call it a night. As Mick Youther puts it,
So, sleep soundly tonight. George W. Bush will protect you (unless he’s on vacation).

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