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Real security and real voting in the war on Islamic terror

By Michael Nevin, Jr.
web posted October 9, 2006

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," John Kerry explained during the 2004 presidential campaign. "As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life." As a current law-enforcement person, I have a lot of trouble accepting his analogy. But the former prosecutor and failed presidential candidate offered an important glimpse into the mindset of a dedicated liberal who was a few percentage points from the Oval Office.

By equating Tony Soprano's hypothetical money laundering scheme with Mohammed Atta's actual hijacked flight into the World Trade Center, John Kerry's tortured logic proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he is unfit to be commander in chief. "To get back to the place we were" is to live in a pre-9/11 world. Longing for the good ol' days may be one thing but the inability or unwillingness to properly identify a global conflict that threatens our very existence is truly chilling.

Since the 2004 election, Democrats in Washington have had several years to redeem themselves with a strategy relevant to current events. Good luck finding any comprehensive plan other than the call for "cut and run" in Iraq and building more windmills at home. I went to the Democrats.gov website to read their plan and in the time it would take The New York Times to publish national security secrets, I was able to peruse the site. The "Real Security" plan was actually only hackneyed talking points referring to Hurricane Katrina and Halliburton no-bid contracts. If you buy their hype, it's abundantly clear that George W. Bush is the main threat facing this country while our foreign enemies get a pass.

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Minority Leader, gleefully proclaimed, "We killed the Patriot Act!" Reid's idea of fighting the war on Islamic terror is a filibuster. Credited with breaking down the barrier preventing intelligence agencies from sharing information with each other and enhancing our ability to "connect the dots," the Patriot Act has been an important tool in defending Americans at home. The attacks carried out against us by terrorists are not criminal events per se—they are acts of war. Unlike the bank robber standing accused of breaking a law, terrorists are dedicated to breaking our will.

Democrats in Washington have had other opportunities to voice where they stand in confronting our enemies. The Terrorist Surveillance Program is a battlefield instrument maximizing intelligence dominance over a lethal enemy but 91 percent of House Democrats couldn't find enough reason to support it. The idea of not listening to phone calls involving operatives on American soil who are reporting back on reconnaissance missions is unfathomable. The Military Commissions Act authorizing military tribunals for captured terrorists was a no-go as well for 82 percent of the House and 73 percent of Senate Democrats who voted nay. Based on their record, can Americans afford to entrust their national security to a group of people so utterly oblivious to genuine threats facing their country?

A National Intelligence Estimate leak, based on filtered facts from the mainstream media, had liberals gushing at the idea that the war in Iraq had become a "cause celebre" for terrorist recruitment. But once other sections of the report were declassified it was clear that while jihadists may become emboldened by a perceived victory in Iraq, they'd be weakened by a loss. This stands to reason and follows an earlier assertion by the 9/11 Commission: "The attack on the USS Cole galvanized al-Qaida's recruitment efforts." Frustrated by inaction, a counterterrorism official in the State Department rhetorically asked of Defense officials back in 2000: "Does al-Qaida have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?" A hijacked Boeing 757 slammed into the Pentagon eleven months following the Cole attack. No reports have surfaced suggesting that any jihadist joined the Peace Corps following that event.

Bernard Lewis, the preeminent Middle East scholar at Princeton University, offered his assessment based on decades of study. "I think that the cause of developing free institutions—along their lines, not ours—is possible. One can see signs of its beginning in some countries. At the same time, the forces working against it are very powerful and well entrenched. And one of the greatest dangers is that on their side, they are firm and convinced and resolute. Whereas on our side, we are weak and undecided and irresolute. And in such a combat, it is not difficult to see which side will prevail."

Lewis concludes quite succinctly, "I think that the effort is difficult and the outcome uncertain, but I think the effort must be made. Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us." That sounds just a bit more serious than an illegal gambling operation or partisan wrangling on the Hill. ESR

Michael Nevin, Jr. is a contributor to several Internet websites and a staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He receives e-mail at nevin166@comcast.net.


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