A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, November 01, 2004 :::
Osama bin-Laden's calling card was interesting for a number of reasons, the first--and blessed--one being that it did not come in the form of explosives and mass murder.

So far as one can tell such things, what that means is that he doesn't have something nasty of his sleave. Let us pray that is so.

That can't be because he doesn't want to have some action planned. For such a man, the raw "success"--in his terms-- of the horrific Madrid bombings can only have increased his lust to do the same thing to the Great Satan. What it most probably means is that the plot to blow up major financial institutions was it, and we broke it up. Bully for us.

But here's the thing: in the strange litany of beliefs about the "War on Terror" recited by a small group of conservative writers, one is supposed to laugh at anyone who emphasizes the law enforcment aspect of it. And yet, as Dr. Jeffrey Record, among others, has pointed out, all but one of the al-Qaeda operatives and other terror leaders we have caught have been caught exactly by law enforcement officials. It needs to be added that several of them have been caught by French and German police. (That was as of the time Dr. Record's fine book was published. This writer would have to check on the most recent numbers, and the French, typically, have a fondness for just throwing these people out, which doesn't do a lot.) The Financial District plan was cracked by the British. So why are we supposed to sneer at the law enforcement angle? This writer, for one, doesn't get it.

Sen. Kerrey disqualifies himself by ranting on about Tora Bora. This man who supposedly knows so many details talks about how we outsourced our search for bin-Laden to the local warlords there. The General in charge of the operation points out, in this morning's Journal, the US actually took charge of that operation, so the good Senator has his facts wrong, nevermind that every lead putting bin-Laden in the area turned out to be wrong. Or that the Senator supported the operation at the time.

In his famous "nuisance" quote, the Senator actually said he wanted to take us "back" to when it was a nuisance, meaning, one supposes, the Clinton era. We depended on a law enforcement model "back" then, which is a different kettle of fish. That was when bin-Laden spent his time planning 9/11. One hates to burst the Democrats' balloon, but that plot did not come into his twisted head as he watched George W. Bush being sworn in.

Which also points out why the Democrats have disqualified themselves as a whole. They jumped on the Financial District plan, sneering, in their turn, that the intelligence used to capture the plotters was several years old, meaning that Mr. Bush was drumming up a crisis. Yet bin-Laden plans these things for years, and it now looks as if we got it right.

This time. We have to keep looking ahead to next time.

Which brings us finally to Mr. Bush and to the handful of policy intellectuals holding down the debate on the Right. Is the military model it? If we had infinite resources, perhaps, but we are stretched very thin and we just decided to send more troops to Iraq--a little late, one might add. Whatever comes into the fevered imaginations of Michael Ledeen and Frank Gaffney, we really don't have enough troops to go much of anywhere, and if Columbia blows--which it is always on the verge of doing--and Iran and North Korea become front burner issues? We are rapidly approaching the point when bin-Laden could taunt us with "you and what army?" and that man never means anything as a joke.

A cartoon recently showed--if memory serves--a "Pumpkin Carving Contest." Sen. Kerry was scratching his chin and saying "we have to first carefully consider the nature of the pumpkin," leaving the pumpkin untouched. The President was standing with an axe in his hands and the ruins of a pumpkin around his feet, saying, "That looks great."

That about sums up the choice, but this writer has to go with guy with the axe.

For one thing, the military model is more favored by the intellectuals than by the President, who doesn't bother telling us what he is up to but at least keeps returning to law enforcement tactics. Having to read tea-leaves is frustrating, but the signs are that he has more sense than some of his supporters.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 11:14 AM



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