America has become complacent. We have put aside most of the emotion we felt in 2001. We have become divided, mostly along political ideology. This is the thrust of an article written by David Ignatius (After The Next Attack).
Liberals would blame the Bush administration for making America a more vulnerable target. Didn't the war in Iraq inflame Muslim terrorists around the world? Wouldn't we have been safer today if we had focused on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, rather than embarking on a costly war that has sapped the military and CIA and added to America's enemies? These arguments aren't imaginary: We hear them every day, almost as rehearsals for the post-attack finger-pointing.This disconnect is dangerous. Contrast these two positions with the prevailing attitude right after 9/11. We were united then! We put aside our differences in much the same way any family does. It's one thing for families to take sides about internal issues, but the whole damn family will unite against any outsider Joining the fray. If we cannot do this again, we could be in serious trouble. Divide and Conquer has always been a basic military strategy.
And how would conservatives respond? They would blame liberals who, in their view, have weakened America's anti-terrorist defenses. Couldn't we have stopped the bombers if critics hadn't exposed the NSA's secret wiretapping program? Wouldn't aggressive CIA interrogation techniques have yielded more intelligence that might have prevented the tragedy? Didn't congressional demands to withdraw from Iraq embolden the terrorists? I can hear the voices on talk radio and cable news right now.
Consider this thought.
Intelligence officials talk about this threat of future terrorist attacks in terms of "when," not "if."After the attack, there is a time to analyze what happened so we can learn and prevent future attacks. The best path is to come together to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack, first. Everything else is second. There will be plenty of time to point fingers and access blame later if we prioritize our actions in this order. David Ignatius sums this up well.
There was a moment of shared purpose after 9/11. It's frightening how totally that mood of national unity has dissipated. I can think of lots of people to blame for the current polarization, but that's not the point. The point is to get serious, and get ready.Meanwhile Daniel Henninger has an opinion piece at the on-line OpinionJournal of the Wall Street Journal making the case that the number one issue in the November 2008 Election should be Terror. According to Mr. Henninger, the major candidates were out in Iowa trying to judge the pulse of the public as to the issue(s) that will excite the masses. And what is his opinion?
How about this issue: cars filled with nails and tanks of propane gas, blown up by people whose goal in life is to murder Western infidels.He goes on to discuss the "issues" as indicated by the polls. The conclusion, according to the polls, is the electorate is concerned about everything.
Combining those who say an issue is "extremely important" to them or "very important" puts the totals well above 50% for health care, the economy, terrorism, immigration, taxes, corruption and of course "the situation" in Iraq, with a combined 89% importance ranking, most of it negative.Mr. Henninger concludes there is an underlying issue which is the real cause of the concern.
That's right. It's not the economy this time, stupid. It's terrorism. No matter how low George Bush falls in the polls the next 18 months, "what to do about terrorism" is going to be the No. 1 voting issue in November 2008 because the Glasgow/JFK/Fort Dix/Heathrow/Madrid bombers are still going to be at play in November 2008.We look to our leaders to lead. Let us demand that our leaders do what is right, rather than what will score political points. We should expect no less.