Friday, March 25, 2005

A Return to "Normalcy"?

The Moose observes that politics has a distinctly pre-9/11 feel.

With the huge exception of the ongoing hostilities in Iraq, American politics seems eerily similar to the period prior to 9/11. Before that horrible day, the focus of political discussion was a "culture of life" issue - stem cell research. A celebrity scandal surrounding the death of an intern and a Congressman was the fixation of all the television networks. And the President's domestic agenda was floundering.

And then the world was transformed. We entered a new twilight struggle. The entire nation was on edge about another terrorist attack. We were at war.

While our brave troops are making daily sacrifices in Iraq, our domestic politics has returned to "normalcy" - or what passes for that condition these days. The President is publicly more focused on privatizing social security and one tragic medical case than the war on terror. Our attention is consumed by Terri Schiavo, the Michael Jackson case and the horrible crisis of steroids in baseball. Beyond the commitment of our troops and their families, can it be truly said that America is on a war footing?

Yet, Osama remains on the loose. According to an Associated Press story Osama escaped during the attack at Tora Bora,

"A terror suspect held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, helped the al-Qaida leader escape his mountain hide-out at Tora Bora in 2001, according to a U.S. government document.

"The document, provided in response to a Freedom of Information request, says the identified detainee ''assisted in the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora.'' It is the first definitive statement from the Pentagon that bin Laden was at Tora Bora and evaded U.S. pursuers."

If this report is true, Kerry was absolutely on target when he charged during the campaign that Osama was able to escape because of our reliance on warlords rather than our own forces during the assault. But this does not answer the bigger question of whether Al Qaeda has been eliminated as a threat.

One suspects that whatever progress we have achieved in the war against terror, the threat remains. Given the porous nature of the Canadian and Mexican borders, it would seem to be fairly easy for terrorists to continue to infiltrate the country.

Obviously, much of the status of the war against terrorism must remain secret. However, we cannot assume that silence equals safety. To prevent the nation from becoming complacent, it would seem that our leaders should present a progress report on this war.

Set aside the war against terror - how much attention is devoted to the ongoing genocide in Darfur? One death is a tragedy, tens of thousands are ignored. We were all moved by Hotel Rwanda, and left the theaters wondering how could it have happened. Just turn on any TV network and you have the answer to that question. Do you think we will have a special weekend session of Congress to stop the Darfur genocide?

Happy Purim. Happy Easter.
-- Posted at 9:14 AM | Link to this post | Email this post