A rush to bad judgment?

The Democrats have lost both post 9/11 elections in no small part because voters don’t trust them on the issue of terrorism. To turn this around, the Dems and the MSM are on a crusade to tar Republicans for blocking the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation to revamp the nation’s 15 intelligence agencies and create a national intelligence director. Although President Bush supports this recommendation, he too is tarred for not forcing his party to go along and for having a Pentagon that is said to be working behind the scenes to subvert needed reform. Last night, CNN’s Aaron Brown concluded his interview with 9/11 Commission head Thomas Kean (a liberal Republican) by essentially proclaiming it a disgrace that the Republicans are standing in the way of doing what’s necessary to prevent another terrorist attack on American soil. He thus echoed Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harmon’s statement that “If there is another major terrorist attack on our soil–and sadly, there will likely be one–we will have only ourselves to blame. Congress had a chance to protect America, and Congress failed.”
Lost in all of this is any discussion of the merits of the the Commission’s proposal. The fact that a blue-ribbon panel came up with the proposal is supposed to be enough to create a patriotic duty to embrace it. But this requires that we forget the less than stellar performance of the Commission, including the antics of Commission members, and Democratic operatives, Jamie Gorelick and Richard Ben-Viniste, not to mention the Commission’s attempt to tout “findings” of no connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
But quite apart from the partisan angle, what reason is there to believe that Tom Kean, Lee Hamilton, and the others have a monopoly on good ideas for combatting terrorism? Why should their opinions automatically trump those of serious elected officials like Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep. James Sensenbrenner who are leading the oppositon to the Commission’s proposals?
Brendan Miniter of the Opinion Journal, attempts to look behind the rhetoric of the Democrats and their MSM sympathizers, and actually consider whether it makes sense to create a national intelligence director to lord over the CIA and other agencies, as well as to control the budgets for the intelligence agencies inside the Defense Department, and indeed siphon resoures away from Defense. Miniter concludes that this makes sense only if one agrees with John Kerry and his fellow Democrats that we should “treat terrorism more like a law-enforcement matter than a real war in which a large number of soldiers openly do battle with the enemy.” Miniter makes a pretty strong case. So does Sensenbrenner, with his focus on the security loopholes that the 9/11 reform bill fails to address.


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