Wednesday, May 22, 2002


Okay. Let's run through this again. Information surfaces that shows that President Bush had sketchy, non-actionable intelligence reports indicating that Al Qaeda might be be planning an attack on the World Trade Center (or Wall Street) and the Pentagon (or The White House and Congress). At the time, Mr. Bush also had on his desk countless other non-actionable intelligence reports indicating that Al Qaeda and/or other terrorist organizations might be planning attacks on US assets, companies and citizens overseas and here at home.

Democrats and their media allies attack Bush for not doing something and suggest that his Administration tried to "cover up" these non-actionable intelligence reports. The Bush Administration is not amused by these attacks on its integrity. It responds ferociously. Vice President Cheney kicks back the hardest, in large measure because he is the least amused.

In the days that follow, various Administration figures offer a glimpse into the Big Picture that they see every day in the Threat Matrix and raw intelligence reports. It is not a pretty picture. The FBI Director says that suicide bombings in the US are inevitable. The Secretary of Defense says that terrorists will inevitably get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. And so on.

Democrats and their alllies in the press respond: Not Fair! You're Scaring Us. Cool It! We now await the predictable Democratic/press allegation that the Administration is hyping the "terror alert" for New York City this Memorial Day Weekend in an effort to further "spin" public opinion toward the President's point of view.

If you go back and read every word that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and all the others have said since September 11th, you will find that they are saying now what they have said all along. The War will be long. The US will likely be hit again. The possibility of suicide bombers in the US is real. There are grave concerns that Al Qaeda may get its hands on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Iraq and Iran and North Korea form an axis of evil that must be undone. Etcetera.

The Bush Administration and the military that serves under it have, to date, done an admirable job of balancing the public's right to know with the need for operational security. They have, within the limits that warfare prescribes, told the truth, day in and day out. And they have been very clear about the very real dangers that threaten our country.

Democratic complaints about the Administration's angry response recall the wisdom of Ice Hockey Rule 1-A: If you're going to pick a fight with someone, don't come whining when they kick your teeth in.