This editorial by Prof. Bowen was published in the News Leader (Staunton VA: August 13, 2006): A8.
by Gordon L. Bowen, Ph.D.
(Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton VA 24401)
Bush quotation: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060810-3.html
pro-Hezbollah demonstration in Washington D.C. chanting "rah, rah, Hezbollah.": Petula Dvorak and Robert Samuels, "Lebanon Supporters Converge at White House," Washington Post (August 13, 2006): A10. The online version of the article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/12/AR2006081200565.html) did not include mention of these chants in favor of Hezbollah that were reported in the print edition of the same day's Washington Post.
Iranians' quotations: http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP123906
Since it sometimes is difficult to read every word of a scanned article (as above), here is a clear copy for readers with challenged vision:
The Global War on Terrorism shouldn't be a political football, but unfortunately that is what it has become. Recent arrests in London and Pakistan clearly have underlined the continuing threat posed to all Americans by militant Islamist terrorists. More than two dozen British Muslims were stopped just days short of bringing down ten airliners, vile deeds whose ugly harvest would have matched or exceeded the scale of September 11th.
But when President Bush piquantly stated the obvious on August 10th, saying that "this nation is at war with Islamic fascists," howls of derision could be heard on the political left. On Saturday August 12, the leftist group A.N.S.W.E.R. called protesters to Washington aiming to clog streets to oppose all the ongoing wars against Islamist terrorists: the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Israel in Lebanon. Emboldened by their ability to rouse voters to dump security-minded and moderate Connecticut Democrat Joe Lieberman in a primary election last Tuesday, the undeniable breadth of public anti-war sentiments has become a powerful tool for the hard Left to use to build its dangerous movement. Though a few thousand leftists parading in our capital city may look innocent when they demand an "immediate cease-fire" in Lebanon and for U.S. troops to get out of Iraq by year's end, the real beneficiaries could be our enemies who want anything but peace. Indeed, only the short memory of some Americans can explain our tolerance now to pro-Hezbollah chants being heard almost within earshot of the Arlington gravesites of many of the 241 U.S. Marines killed by a Hezbollah bomber in Beirut 23 years ago.
After this odious cheering has quieted and the peace protesters have taken their lattes and Mercedes back home, we would do well to take a real measure of these latest toxic manifestations of Bush hatred. As Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Charles Schumer rushed to kick Lieberman aside, they sent to voters throughout the nation an unsettling message. By granting new influence to the anti-war left, these Democratic Party leaders have chosen to risk alienating Independents, Southerners, soccer Moms, and other key groups that are necessary to any future re-alignment at the ballot box.
The politics of security issues consistently have favored Republicans ever since the Vietnam War, and certainly this has been so since 9.11. But nearly five years on, public weariness has mounted over the human costs associated with the Bush approach to pursuing security: pre-emptive wars now have cost over 2500 U.S. soldiers' lives. No American patriot is happy with this. However, what the anti-war left ignores is the much higher toll we surely would have paid had their counsel of appeasement been followed. As one Hezbollah spokesman said in Tehran on August 7, it is not a matter of ceasefires: their war is "eternal." Or, as Dr. Zahra Mostafavi, daughter of the late Ayatollah Khomeini and an Iranian official in her own right put it shortly after Hezbollah started their war in late July, it is all part of a general war between "paganism and Islam." Would an anti-war Senate, would an anti-war president, be as firm as Bush or Lieberman in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons after it defies the August 31 U.N.-imposed deadline to stop?
The London arrests should have provided clarity to all Americans: terrorists and terrorist states that are ignored will not just go away any more than new Twin Towers will arise spontaneously. This "long war" is going to take hard work. Every air traveler inconvenienced this week may not have applauded the new security measures, but few are likely to have concluded the Global War on Terrorism to be a pure fantasy concocted to help Republicans, either. Yet the anti-war left has continued to push the Democratic Party to choose candidates who see Bush, not the Islamist terrorists, as the most pressing problem.
I have little doubt that, if given a choice between robust and empty responses to real terrorists, Americans will choose leaders who have hot lead, not warm towels, for the bad guys. Locally, Virginia voters are fortunate not to have to make such a stark choice, as a security-minded James Webb is the Democrats' standard bearer in this Fall's contest with pro-Bush Sen. George Allen. If only our security was as well represented by both parties' nominees in every state.
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