In a drawer right next to my desk I keep the local papers
from September 12, 2001. The Chicago Sun-Times ran perhaps the
best head and subhead in the country that day: "OUTRAGE -
America is Changed Forever as Terrorists Murder Thousands."
are a heart-wrenching testament to the trauma America suffered
that beautiful fall morning, and a reminder to all who care to
reflect with unvarnished honesty on what took place that day,
what we've done since then, and where we're headed in the future.
We are, and have been for two years to the very day, at war.
I know it
doesn't feel that way as we go about our daily business. I know
that we're told every day by some that the War on Terror is just
an illusion, a phantasm manufactured by the administration to
seize power or money or oil contracts for friends or to destroy
our civil liberties. I know there are a number of people in America
who feel that we've gotten our "revenge" for September
11, 2001 and that we should pull back, abandon the aggressive
concept of preemption and assuage the offended sensibilities of
certain members of the international community.
we come full circle to days like today and we're reminded of the
truth. The pictures of 9/11 don't lie - and they aren't open to
interpretation or excuses about "root causes" and the
like. They are pictures of evil and tragedy and horror. And they
are the kind of terrible pictures we may see again if we don't
continue to remember September 11, 2001 as the first strike in
a war between good and evil that may last the rest of our lives
been no armistice, no ceasefire, and no renunciation of violence
on the part of our enemies. Quite the contrary. Look at the
major stories in the newspapers this morning and all you see
are reasons we need to fight even harder.
mean that so far we've failed in the War on Terror? Again, I say
it's just the opposite. For two years our President has waged
as aggressive a War on Terror as he's been able to despite the
naysayers, apologists, and appeasers at home and abroad who have
stood in his way. I shudder to imagine what horrible stories the
newspapers might be carrying if we didn't have a leader so fully
devoted to exterminating terrorists and protecting our freedom.
- T. Bevan
September 10 2003
THE DEMOCRATS' DEBATE: Some initial thoughts and grades
from the Democrat's
debate last night in Baltimore.
Howard Dean (A-): Dean wasn't great, but he was very solid,
which is probably exactly what his campaign wanted him to be.
It was obvious he was trying to portray an image of seriousness
and responsibility, as opposed to trying to gin up the faithful.
Hey, he's already got the faithful. He came in as the front-runner
and he left the front-runner, if not even stronger in relation
to Kerry and Gephardt.
(C-): The man is lost. His campaign is lost. They are walking
around as if they are somehow entitled to the support and press
Dean is receiving and they don't appear to have any plan to change
their floundering campaign. Just another missed opportunity last
night. Whoever has been advising him for the last six months should
(B-): Unlike Kerry, Gephardt at least seems to have some semblance
of a plan - attack George Bush mercilessly and loudly. Given the
voters he needs to win the nomination it is not a bad strategy.
However, he needs to come to grips with his vote for the war and
turn it into a positive and use that to attack Dean as weak on
defense and national security. His defensiveness on the war vote
hurts him. Instead of treating the war vote as an albatross around
his neck, Gephardt needs to turn it into a positive and use it
to make him the alternative to Howard Dean and someone who has
a chance to win the general election. The problem with that advice
is that it involves telling a lot of the Democratic base some
things they don't want to hear. I acknowledge Gephardt is walking
a tightrope, but in the end if he is going to win the nomination
he cannot continue to back away from his support of the war.
John Edwards (B): I thought Edwards did a pretty good job.
The problem for his campaign is I just don't see the strategy
that leads him to capture the nomination. Finishing fourth or
lower in Iowa and then New Hampshire isn't a winning plan, especially
when he does not have the South wrapped up, not even close. He's
a credible dark horse candidate, but I have got to think his main
goal is the VP slot.
(D): Poor, poor, pitiful Joe Lieberman. I'd feel sorry for
him except he has exposed himself to be such a fraud and his racial
demagougery on the Florida vote was just despicable. He's getting
what he deserves: boos. Does his campaign know that that there
is not one national primary for the Democratic nomination? He
must sleep well at night trying to reconcile the fact his party's
base hates most of what he believes in. Someone should put him
out of his misery, he's painful to watch.
(C+): He's the longest of long shots for the nomination and
his only chance is a brokered convention. His real campaign seems
to be for Vice President and he's doing an OK job. His resume
and his home state will keep him on everyone's shortlist and his
campaign is helping his odds of being someone's #2.
Al Sharpton (A): Funny, entertaining, and he won a lot
of respect with how he spoke and dealt with the protesters in
the audience. Of course, the man will never be the Democratic
nominee or the President of the United States, but he's a fabulous
public speaker and he will continue to be a thorn in the Democratic
Kucinich (B): The guy's a socialist, which is fine because
thankfully socialism doesn't have a lot of support in the United
States. His level of applause and the amount of support he gets
in relation to what he should get as a bad ex-mayor and smalltime
congressman shows just how far to the left the base of the Democratic
Party is in 2003.
Moseley Braun (C+): She looked nice and she gave decent answers,
but she is really just taking up space. Maybe she is deluded into
thinking she is a viable VP possiblity. On paper she should be
a prefect VP candidate: She's black, she's a woman, and she's
a former Senator from a big important state. Of course in reality
only a fool would pick her to be their running mate.
All in all
it was an interesting debate that changed little in the race,
which makes it a win for Howard Dean. I think the Democrats self-control
in focusing 95% of their attacks on President Bush and not each
other helps their party keep Bush on the defensive, though they
have to be careful not to go too far. Some of the comments about
the President last night seemed to cross the line and were just
plain mean-spirited, as opposed to legitimate criticisms over
policy. At some point this will turn off crucial voters.
September 9 2003
THE NATTERING NINNIES OF NEGATIVISM: I'm dumbfounded over
editorial in today's New York Times accusing President Bush
of lacking the character to make tough decisions:
his tough talk, Mr. Bush seems incapable of choosing a genuinely
tough path, of risking his political popularity with the same
aggression that he risks the country's economic stability and
international credibility. For all the trauma the United States
has gone through during his administration, Mr. Bush has never
asked the American people to respond to new challenges by making
the "tough path" the NY Times thinks Mr. Bush should
follow and the "genuine sacrifices" the NY Times thinks
Americans should be making? You guessed it: higher taxes and regulations
for more fuel efficient cars.
to injury, Gail Collins and her elitist editorial gang finish
with this piece of condescending hypocrisy:
Bush is a man who was reared in privilege, who succeeded in
both business and politics because of his family connections.
The question during the presidential campaign was whether he
was anything more than just a very lucky guy. There were times
in the past three years when he has been much more than that,
and he may no longer be a man who expects to find an easy way
out of difficulties. But now, at the moment when we need strong
leadership most, he is still a politician who is incapable of
asking the people to make hard choices. And we are paying the
back to reality: the truth is that Bush has done nothing but make
tough decisions since he arrived in office. He's led America into
a dangerous new world with a bold, clear vision whose primary
objective is to protect our citizens and to battle the evil of
terrorism around the globe. And he's done it by the sheer force
of his will and his leadership.
remember that most, if not all of the problems that continue to
dog this administration - the bursting of the economic bubble,
corporate malfeasance that undermined investor confidence, and
the eruption of a terrorist threat that had grown and festered
for years with little serious attention being paid to it - were
carryovers from the previous administration.
me wrong or assume I'm a kool-aid drinking Bush apologist. As
I've said before, I think the President has made a number of mistakes
in his handling of these issues over the last 31 months - from
his decision on steel tariffs to not cracking down tougher on
corporate fraud to the mounting evidence that his people haven't
handled the postwar situation as deftly as they handled the war
itself. And I still think the Bush Doctrine will suffer a blow
if we don't find and present significant evidence of WMD's and
WMD programs in Iraq.
But the more
we move ahead through these incredibly difficult times the more
the Clinton years strike me as a period of fantastic self-indulgence
and complacency. It's almost as if the adults took a vacation
from the White House and while they were away the teenage kids
ran wild: Pizza parties, sleep overs, and blow jobs under the
And now Bush
& Co. are struggling every day to clean up the mess and protect
the country. They aren't doing a perfect job, but they are certainly
trying in earnest. Like it or not Iraq was and remains part of
the global terrorist threat. Dealing with that threat is expensive,
messy, and unpredictable work. It's also important work, probably
the most important thing we've done as a country since World War
know this from the carping coming from the left - from the same
people who were enthusiastically whooping it up along with Clinton
and Co. during the period in which many of these problems were
fostered. Instead, we get pronouncement of quagmires, conspiracy
theories and, above all, absolute assertions of lies and deceit
on the part of the administration.
in an ivory tower in Princeton, New Jersey, Paul
now clear that the Iraq war was the mother of all bait-and-switch
operations. Mr. Bush and his officials portrayed the invasion
of Iraq as an urgent response to an imminent threat, and used
war fever to win the midterm election. Then they insisted that
the costs of occupation and reconstruction would be minimal,
and used the initial glow of battlefield victory to push through
yet another round of irresponsible tax cuts."
sitting in Starbucks somewhere with his latte and his secret decoder
administration is choking on its own lies and evasions. And
we have to bail them out because the ship of state is our ship."
This is not
serious stuff, folks. There are two themes here, both of which
are false. Marshall and Krugman want us to believe that this administration
- perhaps the best, most qualified group of people ever to hold
their respective positions - are at the same time a bunch incompetent
morons with no plan whatsoever and also the most devious, cunning
and deceitful administration in American history.
It's no better
with the Democrats' elected representatives and the people
vying to be their party's nominee to become leader of the
free world. My favorite gripe, however, comes
from Senator Ted Kennedy:
$87 billion more into this occupation without a plan means repeating
the same mistakes that are causing the administration's current
failure in Iraq," Kennedy said. "The situation in Iraq is extremely
serious, and it reflects a true lack of understanding by this
administration of that country and its people."
at the Senate every year ready and willing to pour $87 billion
(and a helluva a lot more) of taxpayer money into any number of
bad, failed or failing government programs at the drop of a hat,
but he's unwilling to spend the same amount to battle terror and
to make the world a safer place. And Democrats wonder why they
aren't taken seriously on matters of foreign policy and national
Drum's recent musings that things wouldn't look all that different
from a national security standpoint under a Gore administration,
I suspect a large number of Americans sense the Democrats still
don't get it. They see the base of the party publicly humiliating
any candidate voicing even moderately hawkish views. They continue
to hear Democrats' insistence that we do whatever is necessary
to get the blessing of the UN members like France and Germany
to protect our national security interests. And they probably
have an intuitive sense that even if Gore had been President on
9/11 and had retaliated against al-Qaeda, there wouldn't have
been the same aggressive, sustained effort to root out terrorism
that has been pursued by the Bush team.
words, there is no reason to believe - and the Democrats running
for president today certainly aren't giving America any new reason
to believe - that their response to 9/11 or their approach to
terrorism in the future will be anything other than what it was
under Clinton. Sure, with 3,000 Americans dead any president would
respond in a forceful way. The difference, however, is that Democrats
continue to leave the impresson that September 11 didn't
change everything, and that after a couple of months of battling
terrorism in a serious way they'd be back to business as usual:
A few cruise missiles here, a few meaningless UN Security Council
resolutions there, and some police work followed by criminal trials.
That simply isn't enough anymore. -
T. Bevan 11:15 am
September 8 2003
SUMMER IS OVER: President Bush addressed the
nation last night and retook the offensive in the early stages
of Election 2004. Mr. Bush's long August vacation, coupled with
the recent bad news in Iraq and the constant pounding by the Democrats
running for President and the press, has taken a toll on the President's
job approval. Our latest RCP Poll Average
shows Bush's job approval at its lowest level since the attacks
on September 11th.
was the beginning of the White House's plan to regain the initiative.
I thought the President's speech was solid, an 8.5 on a scale
of 1-10. He did what he had to do: articulate to the country that
progress is being made in Iraq and reemphasize the importance
of our mission there.
first sentence of his
speech exposed the burgeoning difference between the President's
approach and the approach of the majority of Democrats. "I
have asked for this time to keep you informed of America's actions
in the war on terror. " The "War on Terror",
not the "War in Iraq."
is crucial and it will hold the key to how successful the President
and the GOP will be in next year's election. If the American public
sees the action in Iraq as just one phase in the ongoing War on
Terror, the President can expect firm and long-lasting support
for his policy. The minute the majority of Americans see the war
in Iraq as an adventure completely unrelated to the War on Terror,
the President will be in big, big trouble.
articles summed up the differing viewpoints nicely. David
Horowitz wrote in the Washington Times yesterday:
the date is Sept. 12, 2001. Ask yourself this question: Are
you willing to bet that two years will pass and there will not
be another terrorist attack on American soil?
will wager that there is not one person reading this column
who would have made that bet two years ago. There is only one
reason for this relative security that Americans enjoy. It is
not that the terrorists have given up their violent agendas
or their hatred for us. They have not. It is not because U.S.
borders are secure or because US internal security systems have
been successfully overhauled.
is one reason — and one reason alone — that Americans have been
safe for the almost two years since the September 11 attacks.
reason is the aggressive war that President Bush and the US
military have waged against international terrorism and its
"Axis of Evil." The war on terrorism has been fought in the
streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad instead of Washington
and New York. By taking the battle to the enemy camp, by making
the terrorists the hunted instead of the hunters, Mr. Bush and
the US military have kept Americans safe. Now the battlefield
of the war on terrorism is post-liberation Iraq. "
concludes, and I agree, that unless the Democratic Party gets
behind this war they will have no electoral future. However, in
the most recent edition of Newsweek,
Jonathan Alter espouses the liberal media's opinion (and the
opinion of 80%+ of elected Democrats in Congress) of Iraq and
President Bush's conduct post 9/11:
blind loyalty and blind defiance sit most Americans, still rubbing
their eyes in amazement at how much has changed in only two
years. In the wrenching aftermath of September 11, the American
flag became a security blanket to warm a wounded nation: Stars
and Stripes sprouted in even the most left-wing lapels and the
French daily, Le Monde, ran a banner headline: WE ARE ALL AMERICANS
a time, the president struck just the right tone in his speeches
and launched just the right policy in Afghanistan, where he
promised that “the Evil One”—Osama bin Laden—would be brought
to justice, though the public patiently understood this might
take a few weeks or months. Because the United States was blameless
on 9/11—and certainly did not “have it coming,” as a few ignorant
left-wingers claimed—dissent went into the deep freeze, subordinated
to a need to pull together and take comfort in the greatness
soon patriotism moved from a comfort to a cudgel.... now a hard-nosed
Democratic critique has emerged, reflected in Howard Dean’s
surprising success and Al Franken’s runaway best seller that
documents lies told by Bush and other conservatives. This view
is a twist on Bush’s taunt to the terrorists, “Bring ‘em on.”
These Democrats are essentially saying to him: “Go ahead, make
ads wearing that flight suit on the aircraft carrier; visit
Ground Zero with a bullhorn during the GOP convention next year
in New York; try to ‘Dukakisize’ the Democratic nominee as an
unpatriotic weenie. This time, it ain’t working.”
“freedom fries” in the House cafeteria are burning us now; those
gibes that John Kerry “looks French” don’t look so clever. Maybe
all that liberal talk about involving the United Nations wasn’t
so squishy and unpatriotic after all.
all sound good at first, but in reality it is nothing more than
a call for a return to the Clinton foreign policy of the 90's
that left us so vulnerable. President Bush crystallized this distinction
very nicely last night:
America, there will be no going back to the era before September
the 11th, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world. We
have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use
of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness.
And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to
engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that
enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him
again on our own streets, in our own cities."
I don't know
about you, but I want my safety and my family's safety relying
on our young Marines and Rangers and Seals and not the goodwill
of France and Kofi Annan's United Nations.
Bush is exactly right; "terrorist attacks are not caused
by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of
weakness". I suspect next November the majority
of Americans will feel the same way - and George W. Bush will
win a second term no matter how big the deficit or what the unemployment
rate may be. J.
McIntyre 7:23 am