Bill Totten's Weblog

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Watch Out For The Terrorist Boogeyman

by Charley Reese

King Features Syndicate (August 23 2006)

If President Bush is really religious, then I imagine he fell on his knees recently and thanked God that British intelligence uncovered the plot to blow up eight or nine airliners over the Atlantic.

This excellent work by the British and Pakistani security forces has enabled Bush to switch the emphasis from the Iraq War, which has earned him unpopularity, to his ambiguous war on terror, where he retains some credibility.

The Republican campaign theme is already clear: Vote for a Democrat and you will encourage the terrorists. Vote for a Democrat and the big, bad terrorists will get you. The Republicans have kept us safe. And, for the duration of the campaign, the GOP will no longer talk about the Iraq War being the central front in the war on terrorism. In fact, Republicans won't talk about Iraq at all if they can avoid it.

Since my contempt for most American politicians is bipartisan, I have no desire to defend Democrats. The Republican campaign, however, is mendacious and dishonest. It wasn't Democrats who pulled our dogs off the hunt for Osama bin Laden and sent them to Iraq. This was probably the greatest single blunder in Mr Bush's war on terrorism. And it was not Democrats who gave medals to the two lunkheads, George Tenet and Paul Wolfowitz, who provided the disinformation that got us into the war in Iraq.

It was, however, Democrats who insisted on a homeland security department, which Bush initially opposed. No Democrat has ever opposed tapping the phones or intercepting the international calls of people involved in terrorism. All they have asked is that the president obey the law and obtain a warrant. Democrats are just as willing to fight terrorism as Republicans, and just as eager to please Israel. In almost all respects, there are no real differences.

Long before George Wallace said there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, Huey P Long, Louisiana's original kingfish, made the same point in a more humorous manner. This month, by the way, is Long's birthday (August 30 1893). You might want to toast the former governor and US senator from Louisiana with a sip of bourbon. He was such a powerful force in the state that some old-timers still hate him and some still love him. If you are at all interested in politics, you should read his autobiography, Every Man a King. It was written in 1933, but Da Capo Press published a new edition in 1996. It is still relevant and a great read.

American politics has always been a rough-and-tumble game, usually with more lies than truth, and often involving slander, libel, bribery, stolen elections and occasionally even murder. Long was assassinated. Andy Jackson's opponents in the presidential election arranged for the nation's deadliest duelist to insult Jackson's beloved wife, knowing Jackson would challenge the man. They expected Jackson to be killed. The man they had chosen had already killed 26 men in duels. Old Hickory, however, was hard to kill. He took a bullet in the chest, but stayed on his feet and shot dead his opponent. Later he told his doctor, who had expressed amazement that he had remained on his feet, "I'd have stayed on my feet long enough to kill that (expletive) even if he had shot me in the brain".

Today's politicians, living in these hypersensitive, oh-so-politically correct times, are sissies compared with those of the 19th and even early 20th centuries. The contemporary politician's lies and insults have a feminine quality, as if politicians are a bunch of embittered women exchanging catty remarks at a bridge party.

Oh, well, Sir John Glubb - or Glubb Pasha, as he was called by the Arab Legion - said in a monograph that a sure sign of the decline of empire is the rise of feminism. Bossy women and effeminate men are, he thought, ill-suited for the stern duties of an empire. We may be becoming as a nation what my Southern ancestors said of New England - a land of long-haired men and short-haired women.

Copyright (c) 2006 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Bill Totten


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