Monday, May 20, 2002


The journalistic smart set's reaction to Vice President Cheney's appearance on Meet The Press basically boils down to this: He's just saying that to divert attention our attention from the real scandal, which is that the Administration was forewarned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon and did nothing about it. You've probably read some of this already.

What is it about the smart set that makes them so stupid? Do they really believe that Vice President Dick Cheney would go on national television and talk about the virtual certainty of another attack because he wanted to divert attention away from a patently bogus story about Administration inaction. The Administration was a presidential signature away from declaring war on Al Qaeda the day before September 11th. Does the fact of that directive indicate that the Administration was oblivious to the threat? Does the fact that the United States was able to decimate the Taliban within eight weeks of the September 11 attacks indicate that they had made no preparations to conduct a war against Al Qaeda beforehand? Of course not.

The whole point of the "Bush Knew" brouhaha was and is to do political damage to the president. It has nothing to do with any interest in improving US intelligence capabilities. It has nothing to do with furthering the war effort. It has nothing to do with making the nation more secure. The sole purpose of this scandal creation operation is to undercut the foundation of President Bush's political support, which is and has been his leadership in the War against Terrorism.

The fact that the Democrats have embarked down this road, as a matter of political strategy, is breathtaking. In the event that Vice President Cheney and FBI Director Mueller are right, it may well be the most breathtakingly stupid strategy ever.

When and if the next attack comes, the reaction of the American electorate will be nuclear. They will demand that all available military options be pursued, the sooner the better. They will demand that Arab nationals be rounded up and deported. They will demand that anyone with any connection to any known Al Qaeda group or front, including so-called charities, be arrested immediately. And these demands will be non-negotiable.

America is the most ferocious military power in the history of mankind. Once aroused, the American electorate is absolutely ruthless in its pusuit of military victory. They will, as John F. Kennedy famously said, bear any burden and pay any price to bring down their enemies. And they will sanction the use of whatever weapons are necessary to get the job done. If you don't think so, ask the people of Dresden or Nagasaki or the Afghans who couldn't breath because the oxygen within a one square mile area had been sucked out of the air by a Daisy Cutter.

By shamelessly trying to politicize the systemic failure of US Intelligence prior to 9/11, the Democrats are embarking down a road that leaves them one terrorist attack away from political disaster. It's an extraordinarily risky strategy for a national political party that otherwise stands a reasonable chance of success in the mid-term elections and is likely to be at least competitive in the 2004 presidential race. More important, it is patently irresponsible.

This thing we are in is not a game. The chances that New York City will be hit again in the next year are probably better than 50-50. A suicide bomber in Grand Central Station would kill hundreds of people. A small-pox bomber would kill hundreds of thousands of people. Do the Democrats and their liberal press allies really want to be talking about "memo-routing" when this happens? Do they really want to engage the American public on the issue of the FBI/CIA paper trail, when sirens and red lights fill the night air in New York and body bags line the sidewalks?

Can they really be that stupid?