Are Democrats at war with Bush or the terrorist?

Michael Goodwin:

Whew, that was a close one. We suffered a big attack and were in mortal danger for a while, but we are safe now. Thank God, the war on terror is over. There are no Islamic extremists. Homeland security is not an issue. The only problem in Iraq is how to get out.

Wait, this is news to you? Then you didn't watch the Democratic debate Thursday. Or maybe you did watch, but since those unpleasant topics were completely or mostly ignored, you assumed the war was over and went to bed believing peace is at hand and Santa Claus is busy making toys at the North Pole.

It's not your fault. It's the Democratic presidential candidates who are sleepwalking through history.

As befitting a scrum with too many people and too little time, the debate touched on everything and illuminated nothing. Sen. Hillary Clinton made headlines by defending herself and for finally taking a position against driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, but the gaping hole was the absence of any serious reference to the war on terror. It's long been that way on the campaign trail, and now Dem debates reflect the dangerous drift.

A New York Times language tracker tells the tale. Neither "homeland security" nor "war on terror" were mentioned. Osama Bin Laden was a no-show and Al Qaeda got one mention. "Terrorism" got three, two of them by audience members asking questions, as did "extremists," with two of those in a single answer by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. On the other hand, "health" got 45 mentions and "education" 20.

It is remarkable how far the party and much of the country have strayed from the national unity of 9/11 (three mentions). While Bush's flawed handling of Iraq is a main reason, the unwillingness to separate his failure from the overriding truths of the continuing terror threat will come back to haunt not only Democrats, but the nation.

Consider that what was once called a generational war against an existential threat is now by unanimous consent of the candidates only a misguided Republican war in Iraq that must be ended immediately. What was once a bipartisan concern about the new phenomenon of lethal nonstate actors such as Al Qaeda has been reduced to denunciations of waterboarding and attacks on the Patriot Act. Thursday produced only one reference to Islam — when Sen. Joe Biden complained that Bush acts as though America is at war with the whole religion.

The one mention of the troop "surge" came from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He declared it "is not working," no matter what the facts say, and Obama made a similar point without using the word. Meanwhile, anything wrong in Iraq or the world is America's fault.


Germany is giving its security authorities more power after a group of Islamists were charged with violent plots and a government report said 900 members of Hezbollah were in the country. The sudden sense of danger is a shock, with one woman telling USA Today that Germany's refusal to fight in Iraq lulled the country into thinking Islamic terrorists would focus elsewhere; "we assumed that if we behaved well in the world, nothing would happen to us," the woman said.

Ah, if that woman lived here, she could run for President of the United States. I know which party would have made her feel right at home.
You can take it to the bank that if we had not overthrown Saddam, the Democrats would be saying that we are in mortal danger because of the failure to do so. they would be saying that Bush took his eye off the ball and got us bogged down in Afghanistan. That is because the only principal in the Democrat play book is to blame Republicans for whatever goes wrong. The enemy trying to destroy us is never responsible for events.

That is why they blame Bush for the difficulties in Iraq, instead of a wicked enemy whose very strategy is an ongoing war crime targeting non combatants and camouflaging himself as a civilian. They have this ridiculous notion that al Qaeda would not be doing that somewhere else if we had not overthrown a genocidal despot.

Democrats have only their political survival at interest and not the countries. Contrary to what they believe, the two are not the same.


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