Letter to the Editor

Tax cuts trumped terror warnings

Thursday, August 19, 2004

To the editor:

Analyses of the reports on issues related to 9-11 indicate an almost universal whitewash of the Bush-Cheney administration. If Richard Clarke, former anti-terrorist czar to four presidents, is accurate, the Kean report misrepresented both Clinton and Bush presidencies. Clinton, he argued, was an avid and perceptive reader of intelligence reports, while Bush either cannot be bothered (or is unable) to read them. Clinton, consequently, was a strong advocate for aggressive action against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. He was blocked, however, by intelligence ineptitude, Defense Department resistance and a Republican Congress that was more interested in Monica Lewinsky, Whitewatergate and its vendetta against Clinton.

Bush-Cheney, meanwhile, cut anti-terrorist program budgets and ignored Clinton administration advice on the need to address al-Qaida. Bush-Cheney were so intent on lowering taxes for the rich and shifting the tax burden to the middle class -- an objective we now see they successfully achieved -- that they ignored the warnings. When the 9-11 attack occurred, the Bushies immediately used it to frighten the American people and Congress into supporting an invasion of Iraq, an invasion they had planned as long ago as 1997, an invasion costing nearly a thousand American lives and thousands of U.S. and Iraqi casualties, and an invasion we all now see as totally without justification and which has actually promoted the cause of terrorism around the world rather than reduce it.

ALAN R.P. JOURNET, Cape Girardeau