Thomas Friedman has some questions for Dick Cheney:
Big Talk, Little Will. by Thomas L. Friedman, Commentary, NY Times: The defeat of Senator Joe Lieberman by the upstart antiwar Democrat Ned Lamont has sparked a firestorm of debate about the direction of the Democratic Party. My own heart is with those Democrats who worry that just calling for a pullout from Iraq, while it may be necessary, is not a sufficient response to the biggest threat to open societies today — violent, radical Islam. Unless Democrats persuade voters ... that they understand this larger challenge, it’s going to be hard for them to win the presidency.
That said, though, the Democratic mainstream is nowhere near as dovish as critics depict. Truth be told, some of the most constructive, on-the-money criticism over the past three years about ... Iraq or ... the broader “war on terrorism” has come from Democrats, like Joe Biden, Carl Levin, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Bill Clinton.
But whatever you think of the Democrats, the important point is this: They are not the party in power today.
What should really worry the country is not whether the Democrats are being dragged to the left by antiwar activists... What should worry the country is that the Bush team and the Republican Party, which control all the levers of power..., are in total denial about where their strategy has led.
Besides a few mavericks..., how many Republicans have stood up and questioned the decision-making that has turned the Iraq war into a fiasco ... instead of just mindlessly applauding the administration[?]... Not only is there no honest self-criticism among Republicans, but — and this is truly contemptible — you have Dick Cheney & Friends focusing their public remarks on why Mr. Lamont’s defeat of Mr. Lieberman only proves that Democrats do not understand that we are in a titanic struggle with “Islamic fascists” and are therefore unfit to lead.
Oh, really? Well, I just have one question for Mr. Cheney: If we’re in such a titanic struggle with radical Islam, and if getting Iraq right is at the center of that struggle, why did you “tough guys” fight the Iraq war with the Rumsfeld Doctrine — just enough troops to lose — and not the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force to create the necessary foundation of any democracy-building project, which is security? ...
Mr. Cheney, if we’re in a titanic struggle with Islamic fascists, why do you constantly use the “war on terrorism” as a wedge issue in domestic politics to frighten voters away from Democrats. How are we going to sustain such a large, long-term struggle if we are a divided country?
Please, Mr. Cheney, spare us your flag-waving rhetoric about the titanic struggle we are in and how Democrats just don’t understand it. It is just so phony — such a patent ploy to divert Americans from the fact that you have never risen to the challenge of this war. You will the ends, but you won’t will the means. What a fraud! ...
[W]e are on a losing trajectory in Iraq... Yes, the Democrats could help by presenting a serious alternative. But unless the party in power for the next two and half years shakes free of its denial, we are in really, really big trouble.
I wonder, are things different this time, or will the terror card still play in the fall? They're planning to play it. According to the Financial Times,
The Bush administration plans to make counter-terrorism a centrepiece of the forthcoming midterm congressional elections following last week’s alleged foiled airline terror plot in the UK.
I'm beginning to think (hope?) that it might not work this time, but fear that it will.