Schoolchildren across America have forever loathed the dreaded summer reading list. Having just completed a grueling academic year filled with long division and state capital memorization, most kids cringe when that inevitable envelope from next year's homeroom teacher arrives, prompting a non-optional trip to the public library. Pre-emptive homework? Leave us alone! A similar bitter pill is in order for some Congressional leaders. This summer, Americans should request that two prominent Democrats take a few moments away from sandcastle construction or lemonade stand operation ($1.99 per cup after taxes) to read two books that may help clarify some recently-demonstrated confusion.
Pupil: Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA)
Quote: "We were basically at peace [before September 11th]."
Assignment: Willful Blindness; A Memoir of the Jihad by Andrew McCarthy
(Note: Willful Blindness is available FREE w/ a subscription to Townhall Magazine)
Senator Kerry's rhetorical gem reminds tens of millions of Americans why they pulled the lever for President Bush four years ago. America was by no means "at peace" on September 10, 2001; A ruthless cabal of killers had declared war against us many years earlier, but we were disastrously slow to acknowledge the battle. Usually one hand clapping results in silence, but Al Qaeda's lone hand produced quite a bit of noise in the decade leading up to 9/11: Six civilians dead and hundreds injured in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Dozens of American military personnel killed in the Khobar Towers and USS Cole bombings. Hundreds slain in explosions at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Radical Islam was doing its very best to get our attention, but willful blindness from both political parties swept the continued threat under the rug until 3,000 innocent Americans were slaughtered. Tragically, this blindness still afflicts many Washington elites.
To prove this single ludicrous assertion wasn't a fluke, Kerry has spent the last week defending the man who upstaged him at his own convention in 2004. Presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama has been extremely supportive of efforts to confer the rights of US citizens to terrorists, and John Kerry is reporting for duty to defend him on this point. The Kerry-Obama propensity toward tackling terrorism as if it were an exercise in law enforcement is symptomatic of a pre-9/11 mentality that the nation cannot afford its leaders to adopt.
Andrew McCarthy is the former federal attorney who prosecuted the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing. His book outlines, in excruciating and frustrating detail, the folly of wearing legal blinders when confronting the terrorists' declared war against us. Indictments and subpoenas simply won't deter hijackers and dirty bombers. Kerry's preposterous assertion about pre-9/11 peace, and his apparent enthusiasm for the Boumediene Supreme Court decision, must sound like nails on a chalkboard to McCarthy. After all, he's experienced firsthand the profound inadequacy of the American criminal justice system in dealing with our mortal enemies. Kerry should take a day off from windsurfing and read McCarthy's important book.
His book report is due before he once again accuses John McCain of being "out of touch."
Pupil: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Quote: "Some of the success of the surge is [due to] the goodwill of the Iranians."
Assignment: Moment of Truth in Iraq by Michael Yon
(Note: Moment of Truth is available FREE w/ a subscription to Townhall Magazine)
It requires ever-increasing doses of cognitive dissonance to deny the overwhelming success of the troop surge in Iraq, yet Speaker Pelosi has rigidly peddled misplaced doom and gloom for years. She recently added an astonishing twist to her negativity by recognizing the hard-fought gains in Iraq, but crediting them to the enemy. One wonders if the troops have fully recovered from the utter shock of hearing the Speaker of the House attribute their accomplishments to the people who are trying to kill them. It's insulting enough for politicians to blindly deny American achievements for political purposes, but going so far as to praise the enemy represents a new, despicable low.
In fairness to Pelosi, Iran has exhibited a few genuine signs of goodwill over the last few months. Its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently remarked that Israel "has reached the end of its function and will soon disappear off the geographical domain." He also referred to our stalwart Middle Eastern ally as a "stinking corpse." Those unconditional sit-downs with President Obama are going to be a hoot. In addition, everyone from General Petraeus (pronounced "betray-us") to ABC News has reported that Iran is providing logistical and material assistance to extremists who are murdering and maiming both American and Iraqi forces. Perhaps this brand of treachery passes for "goodwill" in certain chic San Francisco neighborhoods, but it's generally frowned upon in a combat zone.
Michael Yon is a former Green Beret and arguably the best military reporter on the ground in Iraq. He's spent literally years of his life covering the conflict—from the valleys of 2006 to the highs achieved in 2008. When the violence was spinning out of control, Yon declared the situation a civil war. He was twice booted out of Iraq by the US military as a result of his unfavorable, but honest, reporting. Moment of Truth in Iraq is not a partisan polemic designed to canonize President Bush and rally support for the war. It is a thorough and powerful account of how the surge strategy has worked remarkably well, and that the possibility of real victory is finally within reach. If Yon somehow proves unpersuasive, perhaps this week's cover story of The Economist citing major gains in Iraq would serve as a compelling supplement. Before Pelosi continues to read from two-year-old talking points, or further denigrates the accomplishments of US soldiers, she must read Yon's book.
Her book report is due prior to her next goodwill trip to Syria.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography