Monday, July 12, 2004

A week late--but so is my thought train

Last week I was doing my typical blog search when I came across an article by Peggy Noonan that talked about her "fear" that Americans may vote against GWB in 2004 simply because life was "so exciting" during this term in office. She writes, "my general sense of Americans is that we like things to be boring. Or rather we like history to be boring; we like our lives to be exciting." She continues: "No, I am not suggesting all our recent excitement is Mr. Bush's fault. History handed him what it handed him. And no, I am not saying the decisions he took were wrong or right or some degree of either. I'm saying it's all for whatever reasons been more dramatic than Americans in general like history to be." Certainly a view that one could argue for. . .

. . .in 2000. Or maybe even in August of 2001. But not today.

Why does the argument fail today? For two reasons, in my opinion: a) it shows a lack of knowledge of the threats facing--indeed acting against--this country before 9/11; and b) it ignores the fact that we are "at war", even at this moment.

While it was indeed under the Bush administration that we had to deal with the most heinous act of terrorism to strike American soil in our history, the threat of such an attack was present for years before he took office. The desire to strike at this country--even the specific targets felled on that horrible day--had come to fruition almost a decade before. The threat to American assets and interests overseas had been under attack for an even longer period of time. To think that 9/11 was an anomoly--a single attack driven by one man with one plan to take one shot to hurt America where it would feel it most--is ignorance on a dangerous level.

And here's the bottom line about the war on Terror: it has happened. Or more appropriately, it is happening. And as it is a long struggle, we are not finished yet. This means that some of the personal "targets" of the war are still free. These are people with a mindset like those who planned the 9/11 attacks, the World Trade Center bombing attack, the Embassy attacks, etc etc. And they are planning more attacks on the U.S. There's no way to seriously argue against that tidbit of information. A vote against Bush, or for Bush, or not voting at all will not do anything to eliminate this threat to our homeland. The terrorist's hatred of all things American existed before the 2000 elections, it exists today, and it will continue to exist regardless of the outcome of the 2004 elections. We, Americans, are targets--all of us.

Really, the question isn't "exciting" vs. "dull" for this upcoming election. The people who would make things "exciting" are out there, planning against us even as you read this. To me, the better question is this: who is more likely to handle this threat successfully? Personally, I could care less about the history of this time being "dull"--but I certainly do want my life to be free of the "excitement" that the terrorists would like to bring to my backyard.


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