Monday, January 02, 2006

The Persisting Peril

The Moose fears that our elites are ignoring the persisting peril.

Increasingly, the political and opinion class has a pre-9/11 feel to it. A broad swath of our media and political elites has more fear of a Nixonian presence in the Oval Office than a Jihadist threat to our security. That is not to dismiss legitimate concerns over civil liberties. During a time of war, there will always be a proper debate over security versus privacy.

However, there is increasing sentiment that we are no longer at war. Well, not exactly - clearly we are at war in Iraq. And according to some, the Bush Administration is conducting a relenting attack on our liberties. One Senate Democratic leader even crowed that the party had "killed" the Patriot Act.

But, what seems lost is the reality that Jihadists seek to attack within the borders of the United States. We are becoming a complacent nation - at least that is true of part of our opinion and political leaders. There is increasing talk that the threat from al-Qaeda was overblown and exaggerated. A large portion of the fault lies with the Bush Administration which decided that after 9/11 it would be business as usual at home. There would be no call to sacrifice except from our brave and heroic troops and their families. There was no serious effort to address the problem of energy independence or expansion of the military. Tax cuts were the supreme domestic imperative.

And of course, there was no effort at national unity. And so today, we are a polarized nation with Democrats assuming that Bush is a modern day Nixon and Republicans believing that Democrats are "stab in the back" traitors.

But, if one listens to most of the Democrats, the major threat to America lurks in the Oval Office. While the D's could enjoy gains in this year's congressional elections. expect the soft on defense label to stick on the party as it enters the '08 Presidential campaign unless the eventual nominee challenges the left base of the party. More self inflicted damage on national security has been imposed on the party in the past month than in the last two decades.

However, politics should not be the animating concern of the moment. The Moose fears that soon we will again be forced to deal with the reality of the fact that this remains a very dangerous world. The most immediate threat to our complacency is likely to be Iran which is a nation on the verge of nuclear capability governed by an insane anti-Semite who does not hide his ambition to wipe Israel off the map. While Russia is arming Teheran to the teeth, the Bush Administration has no clear strategy to deal with this threat from this charter member of the famed axis of evil. And the Democrats are too preoccupied with appeasing their left base to pay much attention to the matter.

The Moose has faith that, at the end of the day, the clear majority of the American people will not view the continuing danger through a partisan prism. They will recognize that the President made a close call on the surveillance issue, but it was not made out of venality. They will also believe that there was a great intelligence failure concerning Saddam's weapons and there was incompetence in the occupation, but that premature withdrawal would be disastrous.

And even if our elites are forgetting, the American people will recognize that this is hardly a time to relax our guard.
-- Posted at 8:31 AM | Link to this post | Email this post