Review Of American Policy Regarding The War On Terror In Afghanistan And Iraq. Predominant Sources Were Bob Woodward's "Plan Of Attack" And "Bush At War."

1955 words - 8 pages

Following President Bush's response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and his declaration of war against terrorism, many critics feared the president's motives in seeking retribution. The loss of civil rights and the fear of war for many seemed to outweigh the loss and suffering brought about by the attacks.A crisis the size of the strikes is not an easy matter to dissect. There is, on the one hand, the need for slow and deliberate action on the part of leadership. On the other hand, a quick response to such an offense is often necessary to avoid further tragedy and destruction and serves to demonstrate a leader's ability to, well, lead. How does a leader exact retribution and ensure protection while simultaneously displaying wisdom and deliberation in his actions?As the 9/11 Commission continues to question the inefficiencies associated with the attacks, the likelihood that the United States would have been fully prepared to fend off such an attack remains questionable. That said, a great deal of breadth most be afforded those responsible in surmising an appropriate response to such an unforeseen encounter.Not wanting to make the same mistakes as the previous administration in only carpet bombing Afghanistan, Woodward points out that more time was required to fully address the situation and determine the appropriate use of force.While the administration responded slowly to the attacks, it is the motivation behind some of its deliberation that many find troubling. Discord among the many players, confusion in the initial reports, fear and rumor offered repeated challenges to the administration as it set out to respond.One gains a sense in reading Woodward's account that the "good ole boy" network is alive and well in Washington - even in times of peril. The obvious example of this is the almost alliance-like behavior exhibited between Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. While war was inevitable and largely expected by the American public, the eagerness of the vice president and secretary of defense to retaliate often seemed juxtaposed against Powell's brooding step-child approach to cautioning the president against any actions he might later regret.President Bush told Woodward he believes in his instincts, is a gut player and never has any doubts. Despite Powell's apparent apprehension to conflict, the president forced the pace, made the right choices even if they went against his prior rhetoric, and kept the country together. By this account, he was an effective leader.The war in Afghanistan is something of an anomaly where the act of war is concerned in that the initial weapons were suitcases full of currency. This isn't the only aspect that sets this war apart. Humanitarian aid was also paramount in the president's decision to begin the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. President Bush asked his advisers, "Can we have the first bombs we drop be food?" Blankets, food and clothing were distributed along with cash and weapons to...

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