Bush has achieved this success by unflinching use of multitudinous aggressive tactics. He won congressional authorization for a war in Afghanistan and invaded that country. He won congressional authorization for a war in Iraq and invaded that country, too. He secured passage of the PATRIOT Act and made use of the greater latitude it gave law enforcement to track potential terrorists inside the United States. He ordered warrantless wiretaps of international communications in and out of the United States when a suspected terrorist was a party to the communication. He ordered that terrorists be tried by military tribunals. He ordered captured terrorists held at a prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He ordered the occasional use of aggressive interrogation techniques, including (in a few circumstances) water-boarding.
He drove the surviving leaders of al-Qaida into an uncomfortable corner of Pakistan where each night they must wonder if the next suspected U.S. missile will crash into their "safe haven."
To be sure, Bush has made some mistakes. Invading Iraq in the first place may have been one of them. But the end consequence of Bush's aggressive approach is manifest in a result few would have predicted on Sept. 11, 2001: For seven years, he has kept us, our children and our neighborhoods safe. The essence of Barack Obama's and the Democrats' complaint against Bush is that he did too much in the war on terror -- except in Afghanistan. There, they complain, he did too little.
For Obama and the Democrats, Bush water-boarded too many Khalid Sheikh Mohammads, imprisoned too many in Guantanamo, made too many arguments against granting terrorists access to federal courts, authorized too many warrantless international wiretaps, made too much use of the PATRIOT Act and put too many troops in Iraq.
To prove they are not appeasers, they want more troops in Afghanistan.
But leaving aside Afghanistan, where Obama and the Democrats are now committed to becoming the war party, an all-Democratic government led by Obama can be counted on to use fewer aggressive tactics against Islamic terrorists than President Bush did.
We can only hope they don't end up using one tactic too few.
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