Back before the election, Democrats were indignant that President Bush was making them vote on an important issue of national security in an election year. Apparently, they got over their scruples. By the end of the year, every prospective Democratic presidential candidate was leering over the prospect of another terrorist attack to use as political fodder against Bush. Assailing Bush for not doing enough to prevent terrorism evidently won out over their other ideas for attacking Bush, such as Whitewater, sexual harassment and presidential pardons.
Leading the way was Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who said: "It's time for us, without regard to party, to say what every American knows – Washington is not doing enough to make America safe." Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the Bush administration had failed to make "the preparations necessary to properly deal with an obvious problem of growing terror and the threat at home." Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said: "This administration has been slow and inadequate in the response to the terrorist threat here at home."
Has there been another terrorist attack I'm unaware of? There was the shooting at the El Al counter at the Los Angeles airport and the sniper attacks. Are Democrats claiming they could have done a better job? They won't even admit that the perpetrators of those attacks were Muslims. So by liberals' count, there hasn't been a single act of domestic terrorism since 9-11.
The Democrats must have been anticipating another terrorist attack in late December and wanted their warnings duly placed on the record. The Bush administration has to give these knuckleheads regular briefings on national security. How Clintonian to use the threat of a terrorist incident for political advantage. According to The New York Times, Clinton "is in regular touch with some of the presidential contenders, particularly Mr. Edwards." To give credit where credit is due, Edwards boasted he had decided to attack Bush on domestic security all on his own.
This is a country virtually designed for terrorist attacks and yet there has not been a second major terrorist act since 9-11. We are a big multicultural society full of densely packed cities with large foreign-born populations and lots of illegal immigrants. Angry primitives are relentlessly staging raids on our border, which is defended by a hapless bunch of incompetents at the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani used to brag about refusing to cooperate with the INS in turning over illegal immigrants. In Manhattan, he was considered an avenging law-and-order brute. Giuliani's successor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, believes the greatest threat to public safety comes from passive smoke.
Refusing to conceptualize the idea that terrorists are often foreign-born, liberals take umbrage at the idea of protecting the country at the point of its greatest vulnerability. Welcoming illegal immigrants is treated like a friendly neighbor program. Democrats are reduced to making a series of baseless charges while ignoring the real issues because the real issues would be a threat to their voter base.
The nation's political ethos demands that we pretend we don't suspect Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet any more than Al Gore. The rights of the accused trump the rights of the law-abiding. Special-interest groups defend the right of predators to move freely in the general population. In New York City, you can even rape and brutalize a jogger in Central Park and be declared "innocent" a decade later if the district attorney happens to be angling for a good obituary in The New York Times.
It's safe to assume Attorney General John Ashcroft isn't getting a lot of help. But he has calmly persisted in the face of caterwauling idiots. The hundreds – hundreds – of terrorist attacks the Bush administration has prevented since 9-11 don't make headlines. In a small news item last week, the government announced in a legal brief that interrogations of enemy combatants have "helped to thwart an estimated 100 or more attacks against the United States and its interests since Sept. 11, 2001."
The Department of Justice has disrupted terrorist cells in Buffalo, Portland and Detroit. It has won convictions or guilty pleas from about 100 people in terrorism-related crimes. Almost 500 potential terrorists have been deported. The arrest of a former roommate of two 9-11 hijackers led to 40 more arrests in a visa fraud scheme. Over 200 airport workers in the Washington, D.C., New York City and Dallas airports have been arrested for document and immigration fraud. At the Dallas and Newark airports, scores of workers were charged with alarming schemes to obtain access to high-security areas of the airports.
The war isn't over, and it won't be until the malarial swamps are completely drained – something else the Democrats oppose. But whatever happens tomorrow or the next day, it is worth reflecting on the fact that there hasn't been anything approaching the 9-11 attack for 16 months now. That's not a bet many people would have taken on Sept. 12, 2001.