Last week's capture of al-Qaida bigwig Khalid Shaikh Mohammed suggests that the Democrats may have been overhasty in claiming the war with Iraq was distracting President Bush from the task of pursuing the "real terrorists." Mohammed is described as the CEO of al-Qaida, with Osama bin Laden as chairman of the board. Mohammed was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the bombings of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the attack on the USS Cole.
If impeached former president Bill Clinton had ever caught a fish as big as Mohammed, he would still go down in history as America's worst president, but at least he would have a single foreign policy accomplishment. Last September, Clinton was among those braying that it was insanity to go to war with Iraq rather than concentrating on al-Qaida: "Saddam Hussein didn't kill 3,100 people on Sept. 11; Osama bin Laden did."
The Democrats love this argument. Their infantile obsession with Osama bin Laden to the exclusion of all other Arab terrorists allows them to sound like hawks while opposing all anti-terrorism initiatives. They angrily denounce war with Iraq as an unnecessary distraction from their single-minded focus on capturing Osama bin Laden.
In the week before Mohammed's capture, they were all reading from the same hymnal. Bernie Sanders, socialist congressman from Vermont said: "The man who killed 3,000 innocent Americans, his name is not Saddam Hussein. His name is Osama bin Laden." Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democratic presidential candidate and strange-looking little man, said: "Iraq was not responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon."
Also days before the Bush administration captured a major al-Qaida leader, an article in the New York Times referred to "the Bush administration's inability to achieve one of the main goals of its anti-terror effort, the capture of al-Qaida's leaders." Norman Mailer said the Bush administration turned to Iraq when – I quote – "the campaign in Afghanistan failed." He must still be reading the New York Times from October 2001, when the Times was predicting America's defeat in Afghanistan. Unable to capture the top al-Qaida leaders, Mailer said, Bush "decided the real pea was under another shell. Not al-Qaida, but Iraq."
Whoops. It turns out that, unlike the Democrats, a Republican administration can walk and chew gum at the same time.