Joe Scarborough

During the Democratic presidential debate Sunday night, Hillary Clinton uttered the unthinkable, unthinkable because so many political hacks and party operatives simply do not think when it comes to matters of war and peace.

John Kerry campaigned on the notion that the War on Terror was not a war at all, but rather a police action. His former running mate took it a step further by calling the War on Terror nothing more than a “bumper sticker.” It was a canned political line inspired by the fringes of a Democratic party who hate their own president more than they fear Islamic terrorists whose 100-year goal is to destroy America.

For those Democrats who mock those of us who speak in such terms, let me remind you that in about 18 months chances are good that a president from your own party will be sworn in. That president will then be responsible for stopping the next terror attack on our homeland. And you will support that president because she will be from your own party and you will loathe Republicans who mock her efforts to keep America safe. I know because I have seen this sickening cycle of political myopia first hand. It even blinded me for a short while but no longer.

As for the Democratic activists who hate Hillary Clinton for taking a stronger line on national defense issues, trust me: you will be praising her the second she is your nominee. And then, and only then, you will see just how prescient she has been in being strong on defense and unyielding in the war on terror.

Barack Obama may excite you, and John Edwards may have won your hearts, but their debate performances have shown why Americans will never trust them to be commander in chief. After two American cities are nuked, we will need a president concerned with more than first responders. Chances are also good that Mr. Edwards’ bumper sticker line will reveal just how detached from reality the Democratic base has become again because of their hatred of George W. Bush.

I would like to ask all the Democratic candidates two simple questions: 1. Do you think Osama bin Laden would use nuclear weapons on American cities if he had them? 2. Do you think it is likely al Qaida terrorists will get their hands on nuclear weapons in the next five to 10 years? Unfortunately for all of us, the evidence is strong that the answer to both questions may be “yes.”

This is no time for the type of silliness that has infected the Democratic Party. And it is no time for the type of stubbornness and shortsightedness that has marked the Bush administration’s Iraq policy over the past several years. George W. Bush and his most strident allies in Congress tell us there is a war on terror that spans the globe. They tell us threats are multiplying by the day in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and in radical Muslim groups that know no boundaries. And yet they act as if the war on terror begins and ends in Iraq!

The Bush administration’s policy of loading all their chips on one country makes as much sense as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower deciding in 1942 that he would move all of his troops to North Africa. That he and FDR decided that World War II would be won or lost against the Desert Fox, regardless of what was happening on the western or eastern fronts or in Italy or the Pacific. How would historians have treated FDR if he had told the Americans that a retreat from North Africa would amount to a total surrender of our country to Nazi Germany? Not very well, I would guess. So, why is that exactly what the Bush administration is doing now?

Tying down the fastest and most powerful fighting force in the history of mankind—a force that could sweep into any capital on the face of the earth within a month but is instead getting blown up by the crudest of improvised devices and walking around Iraq with targets painted on their backs? It is insanity! And I say that not as a dove, but as a hawk.

I say that as a hawk who wants the radicals in Iran to know that we have the ability to sweep into their country, destroy its nuclear program, incapacitate its armies, and try to kill its leaders. And after doing that, getting our troops out of Iran until such time that we have reason to believe it once again wants to follow through on threats to destroy the United States of America.

Tonight, our troops are stretched so thin in Iraq that the Iranians and our enemies are emboldened. They know we have a president more obsessed on history’s verdict than the global war on terror. That has to change. And it has to change with Republicans in Congress who have reflexively supported our president over the past several years even when challenging him would have been better for Mr. Bush, the Republican Party and America.

It is time for Republicans and Democrats to start worrying about the safety of Americans more than the strength of their political parties. We are in a war on terror. Our enemies want to kill our families and destroy our country. They hate us. Not because we love freedom, but simply because we are not radical Muslims. It is time to focus on the real enemy and time for our leaders to get serious. The American hour is upon us and how we respond today will determine whether we win a war where nothing less than our civilization is at stake.


Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough hosts "Scarborough Country," nightly at 9pm on MSNBC and Morning Joe in the mornings (6-9am).

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