Opening the Door
The Criticism of President Bush for using images from Sept. 11, 2001, has been largely misdirected and a bit overblown. The problem is not that he raised the terrorist attacks as a campaign issue. Like it or not, the assaults and their aftermath will be an issue in the presidential election.In a courtroom, an attorney nevers wants to ask a question for which he or she does not already know with confidence what the answer will be. Rove has now opened the door in his belief that he knows how voters feel about Bush's actions surrounding 9/11. Unfortunately for them, I think the 'jury' is still out on that one.
Bush obviously wanted to introduce the subject on his terms, highlighting his leadership in those traumatic days. Fair enough.
But now that Bush has opened the door, there are many other issues related to Sept. 11 that must be part of the election discussion. Bush should be taken to task for pushing for a Patriot Act that stripped civil liberties well beyond what was needed to fight terrorism; for using Sept. 11 as a rationale for a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq; for developing a homeland security strategy that built a huge bureaucracy but left our ports highly vulnerable; for squandering the global outpouring of goodwill and support that followed the attacks; and for hamstringing the scope and pace of a federal commission assigned to investigate the assaults on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The debate over the president's response to 9/11 has just begun.