As election day approaches, Americans are asking "are we safer?" Many of us don't feel safer.
President Bush had the whole world on his side after 9/11. He squandered that goodwill and undermined U.S. credibility with his Iraq policy. After his initial strong response in Afghanistan, he turned his focus to Iraq. Osama bin Laden remains at large. The president failed to adequately plan a U.S. exit from Iraq as demonstrated by the ongoing deadly insurgency.
One of the most troubling aspects of Bush's leadership style is his view that "if you're not with us, you're against us." The right to dissent is a basic guarantee of our democracy. Americans should exercise their right to criticize the government and work for positive change.
America needs new leadership that can more effectively prosecute a worldwide battle against terrorism and successfully enlist the international community as partners while also keeping a strong focus on the American homeland and domestic issues. America needs a president who will be strong against terrorists without compromising the civil liberties of all Americans. Americans need a president who will listen to both dissenters and supporters - a president who will challenge his advisers to challenge groupthink. George W. Bush is not that president.
Sen. John Kerry has pledged that he would immediately implement the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, a panel that President Bush initially opposed. Kerry has pledged to greatly speed up the pace of securing nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union to prevent these nukes from falling into terrorists' hands. He plans to expand the U.S. Army by 40,000 troops and to double Army Special Forces capability, measures much needed in a military now stretched thin.
John Kerry may not have all the answers yet, but he knows this great nation's problems and strengths. He understands better than Bush does that 21st century wars won't be won by military might alone.