Our Own Worst Enemy?
In this election year, one question is rarely asked in a very direct way: Is the Bush Administration competent at conducting the war on terror? Every few weeks it seems like there's more news about how badly it's going: Senior Administration officials like Colin Powell now admit the insurgency in Iraq is growing; terror suspects like Yasir Hamdi (who supposedly were so dangerous that having a lawyer talk to them about their case would compromise national security) are released without trial because the evidence against them is so flimsy; there was the Abu Ghraib prison scandal; and just this week, the former head of the U.S. operation in Iraq, Paul Bremer, declared the problem from the start was that there were not enough troops there. Host Ira Glass discusses whether the Bush Administration is simply not very skilled at fighting terror with Richard Perle and James Fallows. Perle was one of the early advocates in Administration circles of going to war in Iraq. During the run-up to the war, he was chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a civilian advisory panel in the Pentagon. Fallows is national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, who has written extensively on the planning and early problems in the war in Iraq. (14 minutes)