Bush supporters bashing back at Europeans
31 August 2004 , NEW YORK - Stalwarts of the centre-left Democratic Party argued at their own national convention that President George W. Bushs policies have shamed the United States in the world.
31 August 2004
NEW YORK - Stalwarts of the centre-left Democratic Party argued at their own national convention that President George W. Bushs policies have shamed the United States in the world.
Members of the major opposition party accused the Bush administration of alienating important allies through arrogant, unilateralist postures. US moral authority in the world has been undermined by the Bush-led war in Iraq, with weapons of mass destruction as a poor justification and mismanagement that permitted the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
It took just one night for the featured speakers at the centre-right Republican Party's own convention to not only fire back at the domestic opposition but to give a shaming rebuke of European governments' alleged policies of appeasement toward terrorist groups.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who led the city resolute reaction to the 11 September 2001 suicide hijackings, argued that the Bush administrations robust use of force has succeeded in making countries "more reluctant" to give haven to terrorists.
He called terrorism a problem left "festering" for years prior to 9/11, and traced its origins to the attack by Palestinian militants on the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Games.
"The pattern had already begun. The three surviving terrorists were arrested and within two months released by the German government," Giuliani said Monday night. "Action like this became the rule, not the exception. Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences.
"Terrorist acts became a ticket to the international bargaining table."
He went on to note the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and the murder of an elderly American in a wheelchair.
"Some of those terrorists were released, and some of the remaining terrorists allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals," Giuliani said.
"So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community, and too often the response particularly in Europe was accommodation, appeasement and compromise. And, worse the terrorists also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the barbarity of the attack."
Bush is locked in a neck-and-neck race for the 2 November elections with US Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was official nominated by the Democrats on 29 July in Boston.
In Boston, US Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Kerry's vice presidential running mate, promised to restore America's respect in the world and persuade NATO to assume a greater role in Iraq.
"We have to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us," Edwards said. "It's how we won the world wars and the Cold War, and it is how we will build a stable Iraq."
For months, Kerry has argued that as president he could restore US credibility overseas and gain more military and financial support for the ongoing war and occupation in Iraq, where an interim government is trying to organize provisional elections for January.
The US and British push for decisive action against the Baghdad regime under Saddam Hussein led to lingering resentments and serious cracks in Washington's relations with France, Germany and other partners. Perhaps more disturbing than strained connections between governments has been the growing, popular anti-Americanism in societies long considered friendly.
Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Kerry's political mentor, accused Bush of losing focus on al-Qaeda, the terrorist network blamed in the 11 September attacks that killed 3,000 people, to pursue the invasion of Iraq.
"They have made it harder to win the real war on terrorism, the war against al-Qaeda," Kennedy said in Boston.
Giuliani, in contrast, compared Bush's strategy of taking the offensive against terrorism and rogue regimes to the confrontations with totalitarian regimes that Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan helped lead in the 20th century.
"Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler while his opponents characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly. Ronald Reagan saw and described the Soviet Union as 'the evil empire' while world opinion accepted it as inevitable and belittled Ronald Reagan's intelligence," Giuliani said. "President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is."
The former mayor decried Kerrys "inconsistent positions" on terrorism.
"President Bush will not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history, and failed for over 30 years to stand up to terrorists, to dissuade us from what is necessary for our defence," Giuliani said. "He will not let them set our agenda. Under President Bush, America will lead rather than follow."
US Senator John McCain of Arizona, a maverick Republican who has often disagreed with Bush on domestic issues, reiterated his support for the Iraq war during a Monday night speech.
He described what he called a sincere emphasis in the Democratic Party "that military action alone won't protect us ... They stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies," McCain said. "We agree."
McCain noted that one justification for action against Iraq was the disintegrating international will to maintain sanctions on the regime. He cited "many critics" of the war - a clear, unnamed swipe at France and perhaps China and Russia - who were more interested in doing business with Saddam than enforcing United Nations measures against Baghdad.
US relations with its allies must be a two-way street, McCain said.
Subject: German news