Monday, August 15, 2005

Bush Losing His Way
Blair Finding His

The London Times says it seems Bush is losing his way in the War on Terror, just as Blair is finally starting to get a handle on things. Why? Because Bush often refers to "terrorism," but rarely to the ideology which inspires them; radical Islam:

THEY have been admirers of the president since the attacks of September 11, 2001, but now some of George W Bush’s staunchest supporters are accusing him of “losing his way” in the war on terror.

Conservatives in America are contrasting Tony Blair’s clarity of purpose since the July bombings in London and the vacillations of the Bush administration about the future of Iraq and the nature of the terrorist threat.

... under pressure from opinion polls showing dwindling American support for the war, Bush is on the defensive.

Blair by contrast is getting credit for naming the enemy as Muslim extremists and for criticising the Wahhabi ideology spreading from Saudi Arabia, which remains a leading American ally. Although faulted for allowing “Londonistan” to grow into a haven for terrorism in the first place, the prime minister is regarded as going on the offensive while the Bush government dithers.

“Since the London bombings, Tony Blair has emerged as the public face of the global war on terror,” said Nile Gardiner, a former adviser to Baroness Thatcher and who is now based with the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “He is setting the agenda with tough new anti-terrorist measures.”

Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative and former Pentagon adviser, said that Bush was too reluctant to criticise Islamic fundamentalism. The president often refers to terrorists but rarely to the religious ideology inspiring them.

“I was very impressed by what Blair said straight out and I wish Bush would do the same,” said Perle. “We have been unduly sensitive to the idea that criticising Muslim extremism is politically incorrect.”

Blair’s stance has set off a debate on the right, with some conservative libertarians warning against overreacting to the London bombings. Others point to fundamental differences between Britain and America.

The United States has a more prosperous, better assimilated Muslim population than Europe so the two nations are not strictly comparable, said Ralph Peters, a former military intelligence officer and supporter of the war on terror.

“Our immigration model is working so it’s important not to alienate Muslim Americans,” Peters said. “Bush has handled them well. His blind spot is the House of Saud.”