Friday, August 11, 2006


A new terrorist plot is coloring an ongoing political season, and that means there are some important things to remember in the upcoming weeks and months. All are important primarily because Republicans, and the increasingly indistinguishable Democratic U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, have politicized and will certainly continue to politicize the threat of terrorism, painting Democrats as weak and their election as an invitation to attack. This reached its nadir in the 2004 elections, when Vice President Cheney said:

It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice [in electing a president], because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.

Now, as then, we must remember that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, happened while a Republican — George W. Bush — was in office. We must also remember that every attempt since to strike the United States or its allies with terrorism has taken place with the same Republicans in office.

It is also worth noting that intelligence agencies and every sane, conscious and knowledgeable person on Earth acknowledges that Iraq, which the United States and its allies attacked for no reason having to do with 9/11, has become a breeding ground and rallying point for terrorists. The primary reason for this is that our presence in Iraq angers a lot of people. We have no good argument for having invaded or occupied the country — and the world knows it. (If we wanted to make a point about U.S. might and mercy, the delights of democracy and the perils of pursuing terrorism, it should rightfully have been done in Afghanistan, where we had moral authority. Instead, that nation is slipping back into the hands of the Taliban, just as we are losing in Iraq, and Osama bin Laden is still free.)

Hard-liners say terrorists would be emboldened by our leaving Iraq and strike us all the harder. As Lieberman said of the man who beat him in the Connecticut Democratic primary:

If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a certain date, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them, and they will strike again.

A proper response is that, in fact, the terrorists would have less reason to be angry if we left Iraq, and we would have more resources to use in keeping ourselves safe from them.

In short, Republicans and their policies are a provocation to terrorists and — considering Iraq and the astonishingly flawed Department of Homeland Security — wasteful of resources that could be used to combat terrorism. Voting them back into office would be a dangerous error.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just hope the Ds don't bite off their own limbs while they're caught in this trap.