Bush's hypocrisy on terrorism as a "nuisance"

Politics and policy.
Oct. 12 2004 7:14 AM

Nuisance Nuance

Bush was for reducing terrorism to a nuisance before he was against it.

"Now just this weekend, Sen. Kerry talked of reducing terrorism to a 'nuisance'—(laughter)—and compared it to prostitution and illegal gambling. (Booo!) Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level of nuisance. Our goal is to defeat terror by staying on the offensive, destroying the terrorist networks, and spreading freedom and liberty around the world."

—President Bush, Victory 2004 Rally, Morrison, Colo., Oct. 11, 2004

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

"Nor can we think of our goal in this war in the way Sen. Kerry described it yesterday in the New York Times. 'We have to get back to the place,' he said, where terrorism is 'a nuisance.' ... This is naive and dangerous."

—Vice President Cheney, Victory 2004 Rally, Batavia, Ohio, Oct. 11, 2004

"Now Kerry says we have to get back to the place where terrorists are a nuisance like gambling and prostitution; we're never going to end them. Terrorism—a nuisance? How can Kerry protect us when he doesn't understand the threat?"

—Bush-Cheney television ad, Oct. 10, 2004

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"These fights that we are having against Mugtada militia [in Iraq] are not stretching us thin at all. They are pretty much street thugs with weapons. They don't present much of a military threat. They're a nuisance. They're a harassment. And sadly, as you can imagine with street thugs with weapons, sometimes they kill and wound our soldiers. But in engagement after engagement, they have not been able to stand and fight."

—Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Director for Coalition, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing, May 17, 2004

"The Taliban can kill innocent civilians in small numbers, and be a nuisance, and be a distraction, but it cannot and will not be allowed to be a force, a political force in Afghanistan."

—Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, Department of State,New York, N.Y., Jan. 14, 2004