Suppose Bush had known 18 Muslim immigrants planned to hijack four planes on Sept. 11. What could he have done? Throw Arabs out of the country? Put them in preventive detention? Order airport security to take an extra little peek at swarthy men boarding planes?
Liberals won't let us do that now!
In a girly-girl, eye-poking attack, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., has demanded an investigation into "what the White House knew about the events leading up to 9/11, when they knew it and, most importantly, what was done about it." The more urgent question is: What do the Democrats know now?
Memo to Democrats: Muslim men are plotting another terrorist attack on America right now! That's what you know. What are you doing about it? Directing airport security to keep searching white paraplegics at the airport?
Gephardt's genius plan for assuring air safety after Sept. 11 was to federalize airport security. But he refused to allow airport security to scrutinize passengers who look like the last two dozen terrorists to attack civilian aircraft. That's what he did when he knew about it.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has thundered that it is "imperative" that Bush tell the Senate "what actions were taken in response" to any advance warning of a terrorist attack.
In response to the next terrorist attack, here are the actions Leahy took: He hauled the attorney general before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying he was "very" angry at Ashcroft. Leahy was "very" angry not because Ashcroft was failing to do enough to prevent the next terrorist attack. Just the opposite: Ashcroft was doing too much, thereby threatening the civil liberties of Arabs.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., reacted to Sept. 11 by babbling about having the proper "balance" between fighting terrorism and protecting constitutional rights. If the Democrats had shown half as much indignation about terrorists as they did about Ashcroft, their convictions might rate more with real Americans.
Hilariously, Democrats are especially indignant that nothing was done in response to the memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who had noticed a lot of Arabs enrolled in American flight schools. As The New York Times reported (in the always-crucial penultimate paragraph): "FBI officials said there was reluctance at the time to mount such a major review because of a concern that the bureau would be criticized for ethnic profiling of foreigners."
Let's see, who might have criticized the FBI for ethnic profiling?
For Ashcroft's evident interest in immigrants of Mideastern descent rather than, say, currency traders after Sept. 11, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, railed that the detention of Arabs "smacks of racial profiling." Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., hyperventilated that the Bush administration was "literally dismantling justice."
David Bonior, the second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, leapt to action after the Sept. 11 attack by repeatedly denouncing nonexistent racial profiling at the airports. He even dragged the FAA administrator and eight FAA assistants to Detroit to listen to constituents who claimed they had been profiled at airports.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., warned that "the Phoenix memo is going to come to be one of the most important documents in our national debate about whether we did enough to protect America from the attack of Sept. 11."
What's this "we," paleface?
After a savage terrorist attack by a group of immigrants of Middle Eastern descent, Durbin has hysterically attacked people who support ethnic profiling of airline passengers as troglodytes "crawling on (their) bell(ies) in the mud at a right-wing militia training camp in Idaho." He actually took time from his busy post-9/11 Senate schedule to write a letter to the editor making this point.
Sen. Hillary Clinton -- whose very first act in the Senate was to sponsor a bill prohibiting ethnic profiling -- has also demanded an investigation of what Bush knew and when he knew it. (What did she know about her husband's serial philandering and when did she know it?)
Maureen Dowd sneered of the administration's failure to prevent the Sept. 11 attack: "I guess nothing short of a copy of Mohamed Atta's Travelocity itinerary would have stirred the FBI from its stupor."
But back on Nov. 25, 2001, as the corpses of 3,000 of her countrymen lay rotting in smoldering heaps, Dowd was snarling about Ashcroft's questioning of Arab immigrants in the United States. She snippily noted that "the first resistance to his edict to interview 5,000 Middle Eastern men came from police chiefs objecting to racial profiling."
After Manhattan is nuked by Muslims, then will it be OK for the attorney general to question Middle Eastern men?
Liberals may have no basis for complaint with George Bush, but Americans do. Pick your poison, Mr. President: Order ethnic profiling and be subjected to querulous attacks on the pages of The New York Times, or permit American women and children to be murdered in the next terrorist attack.