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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

9/11. Was it Clinton's fault? Was it Bush's fault? The debate rages this week. Right wing pundits accuse Clinton of ignoring opportunities to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Left wingers assault Bush for not heeding the recommendations of some top advisors.

Honestly, blaming each other is going to get us nowhere. The time has come to realize that we all are, in some ways, culpable. How? Because, as a people, we did not have the will to pursue terrorists in their own backyard. Even Reagan failed to do this to a reasonable degree. Before 9/11, no one would have dreamed pursue Islamic terrorists. Domestic threats were perceived as minimal by the public, even as security advisors were presenting hawkish positions.

Let's assume that President Clinton, or President Bush, had pursued bin Laden in Afghanistan, and killed him on the spot. Would America have breathed a sigh of relief? Hardly. Such a move was simply not politically advantageous. Clinton, ever the politician, would never have betrayed the polling data. Nor would have Bush... that is, until September 11th.

The events that day changed everyone to some degree. Without question, the political climate was altered. Now, instead of assailing the intelligence and defense departments for their perceived largesse, their detractors are asking "why wasn't anything done?"

Blame Clinton? Sure. Blame Bush? If you wish. Blame Bush, pere? Reagan? Carter? Yes, to all of the above, for various reasons. However, the blame should really go to us all, as an electorate. We failed to demand that our leaders fulfill the Constitutional mandate to defend our interests. Synoptically, we maintained that it was "the economy, stupid", instead of our national security. Economies ebb and flow. Fiscal policy is a consideration for electing leaders. But it isn't on par with defense. The blinkered view that the world will love America if it just will stop behaving as it does is simply foolish when considering the simple fact that a segment of its inhabitants, whether justified or not, will stop at nothing until Western society is eradicated. No amount of diplomacy or appeasement will change that.

Which leads us back to today. Global terrorism in the name of Islam, or whatever other fringe cause can be contemplated, is now a hideous reality. We, as a people, are now too painfully aware of this. We can continue this silly partisan blame game that has erupted on the Hill, or we can realize that we need to do whatever it takes, even if that means an offensive policy of pursuing terrorists where they breed, to ensure that September 11th stays where it is - a not-so-distant memory.


.: posted by Dave 2:26 PM

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