Thursday, December 22, 2005


Drum writes:

One of the worst results of all this is that because George Bush treats terrorism mostly as a handy partisan club to make Democrats look weak and cement his own support with his corporate base, he's managed to convince a lot of liberals that the whole thing is just a game. Unfortunately, this is pretty understandable. At this point, I don't really blame liberals for feeling that terrorism is little more than a Republican bogeyman that's pulled out whenever the president's poll numbers are down. After all, that's pretty much how Republicans treat it.

I don't know any liberals who think that the issue of terrorism is just a game. Last I checked it was decadent liberal enclave New York that got hit the worst on 9/11. It's been obvious to some of us since about September 14, 2001 that any hopes that the Bush administration would treat it as anything but a political game were dangerously naive. Terrorism-as-politics has been a game from the beginning. What the hell is a war on terror anyway and who other than crazy people think it can be "won?" But if I were a politician I would've probably just ended my career by writing that, unless my name were George W. Bush and I had fluffers like Chris Matthews around.

Still, I think sensible people also understand that other than terrorists getting a hold of stray nukes, which as Kevin points out the Bush administration really doesn't give a shit about, terrorism isn't actually something to spend our days and nights obsessing about. Bad things can happen, lots of people can die, but probably not on a scale of, say, annual automobile crash deaths. We need a responsible government to have smart and sensible domestic security policies and improve our human intelligence operations overseas. But, an administration which uses domestic terror alerts for political reasons, outs covert CIA agents, spends its time spying on Quakers and people who want to read Mao's Little Red Book, and does almost none of the very simple and cheap things it could do to improve security of things like chemical plants is, in fact, a complete joke on the issue of terrorism. So, if ever we liberals talk about terrorism as if it were a big joke it's precisely because the political discourse on the issue has long been an obscene farce.