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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lost In The Wilderness

The Democratic party leadership isn't alone when it comes to misunderstanding the scope, background, impetus and intensity of Islamist terror. It turns out there are small-minded members of the GOP lurking in the fever swamps as well. One such, Thomas H. Kean Jr. a Republican candidate for the Senate in New Jersey, sees great evil in ... Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld's recent attack on ... people just like him:

G.O.P. Hopeful Says Rumsfeld Should Resign
By David W. Chen, The New York Times

MOUNTAINSIDE, N.J., Sept. 2 — State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., the Republican nominee for United States Senate in New Jersey, says he is so frustrated with the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq that he is pushing for something that few Republicans have supported: the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

... what compelled him to advocate publicly for a “fresh face” leading the troops, Mr. Kean said, were Mr. Rumsfeld’s recent remarks chiding critics of the war for “moral and intellectual confusion,” and comparing them to those who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.

“By engaging in that kind of rhetoric, this secretary has stepped over the line,” Mr. Kean said. (

So what was the rhetoric that so offended Kean? Honesty:
... 1919 was the beginning of a period where, over time, a very different set of views would come to dominate public discourse and thinking in the West.

Over the next decades, a sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be accommodated, then the carnage and the destruction of then-recent memory of World War I could be avoided.

It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies. When those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored. Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else’s problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace, even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear. It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last. (link)
Rumsfeld was speaking to the Europeans but could easily have been addressing the Democratic National Committee as well, an august body of enlightened statesmen and stateswomen who profess a willingness to fight the war on terror as long as nobody gets hurt and with the understanding that the terrorists' actions in Iraq are ... well, they just don't count; we need to get out.

Perhaps it was Rumsfeld's comments on the role of America's liberals in undermining the war effort that has Kean upset. Brutally factual comments that included:
  • When a database search of America’s leading newspapers turns up literally 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers who has been punished for misconduct — 10 times more —than the mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror;
  • Or when a senior editor at Newsweek disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our armed forces — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard — as a “mercenary army;”
  • When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists;
  • and the once CNN Baghdad bureau chief finally admits that as bureau chief in Baghdad, he concealed reports of Saddam Hussein’s crimes when he was in charge there so that CNN could keep on reporting selective news;
  • And it’s a time when Amnesty International refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay — which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare — “the gulag of our times.”
Or perhaps it had to do with the questions that Rumsfeld posed in his speech that pricked the conscience - if ever so briefly - of the weak-of-spirit like Kean:
  • Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?
  • And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world’s troubles?
These are troubled times indeed. Times that require leaders with resolve; clarity of thought. What we don't need in times like these are weak-minded Republicans joining the ranks of the Head-In-The-Sand Europeans who sit on their asses and whine about Rumsfeld's harsh rhetoric at a time when American men and women in uniform are engaged in a world war.

For that we can vote Democratic.