Sunday, April 11, 2004

Musings From My Quiet Porch: Swatting at flies to satisfy the Bob Kerreys of this nation

My home is on a cattle farm. Flies visit my porch after hatching in the fields, and I tend to swat the more determine beasties that irritate. My swattings do nothing to end the proliferation of flies born from the dung out in the fields. Bob Kerrey wanted to know from Dr. Rice ‘just what flies President Bush had tried to swat.’ It was, of course, a partisan hack attack aimed at casting doubt on this administration’s efforts to fight terrorism foreign and domestic. Let’s dissect the foolishness of Kerrey’s assault, before the likes of Chris Mathews, Andrea Mitchell, Ambassador Holbrooke, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather have the opportunity to make B2 bombers out of imaginary flies (yes, imaginary, since Kerrey implied Rice alluded to actions taken, when she was in fact addressing the president’s desire for change in policy).

The 9/11 Commission is tasked with discovering ways to better coordinate American policy in combating current and future terrorist efforts against the U.S. and our allies. Discovering where the pre-9/11 policies failed to prevent a homicidal attack is precisely what Dr. Rice swore an oath to address. Swatting at foreign flies with cruise missiles didn’t work. The Clinton administration tried that swatter to no avail, and perhaps even aided in the birth of more flies as the dung was scattered. Could that administration have done a better job? Doubtful … but it is not the fault of the Clinton administration, per se. Why? … Because, as Dr. Rice admirably pointed out, our pre-9/11 domestic bureaucracy prevented adequate cooperation between FBI, CIA, and local law enforcement. The crucial difference now as opposed to ‘then’ has direct bearing on the foolish notion posed by Bob Kerrey regarding fly swatting … different policy approaches set the course of the previous administration.

Kerrey asked, quite foolishly, ‘what flies did Bush swat?’ The foolishness arises from the meaning of the President’s wording: rather than continue to swat at flies --as the Clinton administration did in their effort to respond tit-for-tat, to avoid a broader engagement on foreign soils with U.S. troops that would in their opinion have prevented their re-election, the current administration took a profoundly different road in engaging the source of the flies. Allow me to illustrate with my porch problem. I could continue to swat the flies that visit my sanctuary, or I could go into the fields and treat the source of the flies. This administration has chosen (quite rightly, in this one man’s opinion) to go into the fields and address the fly problem, rather than continue the previous administration's policy of swatting once irritated.

The partisan Democrat hit-men, like Chris Mathews and company, will seek to focus the nation’s attention upon the title of a memorandum, a presidential daily briefing paper, rather than have us look more closely at the content of the document and the broader picture. Why? … Because looking at the broader picture supports going into the fields to address the source of flies, and these partisan hacks want to promote the former approach as a means to support the notion that administration change is needed, that election of a Democrat president will ‘put US back on the right track in fighting terrorism'. Nothing could be further from the truth. This nation lacks enough fly swatters to deal with the proliferation of menacing flies as they arrive to do their evil in our country. We must go to the sources and exterminate.

It is no secret that the Democrats in Congress want to generate a ‘Watergate-esque’ commission in this election year, to cast false doubts upon this administrations effectiveness in countering terrorism. There is a fundamental difference in philosophy between Democrat notions and this administration’s methods. Sadly, we have 9/11 to prove the Democrat’s approach is feckless. Even more sadly, it appears that with the concerted effort of hacks like Mathews and the networks wishing to impugn this administration, the effort to obfuscate the realities has a chance of succeeding … unless the fly swatting approach is decisively exposed as foolishness. Thanks to Bob Kerrey, that may be possible now! Preemption is deterrence. Swatting flies is reaction after the catastrophic fact.

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