Thursday, March 25, 2004

Without Legs

Josh Marshall and other liberal commentators are in a lather over Richard Clarke's allegations that the Bush administration wasn't as tough on al Qaeda as it could have been.

Besides the momentary sensationalism, this "story" has no legs; in a week's time it will be over. Everyone knows U.S. intelligence failed to prevent 9-11. Nevertheless, as terror alerts increase and the world looks more dangerous, the GOP gains ground. Will anyone trust the Democrats to have a fiercer foreign policy?

When FDR was fighting fascism, the GOP was slowly shaking its isolationism in foreign policy. When communism posed the greatest threat, the GOP assumed the responsibility for defending liberal democracy. The Democratic party, however, has never recovered from its pacifism in the face of communism. The Islamic fundamentalist threat arguably resembles the fascist threat to liberalism, but the Democratic party cannot muster the same effort against the enemy this time.

Update, 3/26/2004 -- William Kristol argues that Clarke's apology has cheapened public discourse and cites Clarke admiting that his recommendations in January 2001 would not have prevented 9/11.

David Brooks says "if you want to live the soap opera, buy Clarke's book. If you want something serious, read the commission reports. You'll find them at"


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