I generally detest George Will, politically and for his obsession with baseball, but he can be surprising. A Lethal Idea Still Lives [MSNBC].
This grotesque presidential campaign, which every day subtracts from the nation’s understanding of its deepening dilemmas, cannot end soon enough, or well. Concerning the issue that eclipses all others — the wars in Iraq and against Islamic terrorists — reasonable people can be simultaneously to the right of President Bush and to the left of John Kerry.
So here we are, in the final stretch of the campign, post-debates, and prominent Reagan-era conservatives have had it both with George Bush and with the pablum dished out in American politics today. Will says that more forces were and are needed in Iraq if the task can hope to be accomplished. “How do the administration’s nation-builders think elections are going to be held in this maelstrom.” Yet he correctly observes that:
Recently [John Kerry] said that even if he had known then what we know now, he would have voted to authorize the war. That is, even knowing that Saddam Hussein was not yet nearly the danger that intelligence guesses said he was, and even experiencing the occupation’s rapidly multiplying horrors, Kerry says: Make me president and I will more deftly implement essentially the same policy.
According to WIll, Kerry “seems incapable of mounting what the nation needs — a root-and-branch critique of the stunningly anticonservative idea animating the administration’s policy.” This is scary. Not just because there are so many people in our politically polarized country who like Stepford citizens are hypnotized by the caricatures of policy presented by the candidates, but also that Will and I agree — a pox on both their houses.
Neither the Democrats nor Republicans have any integrity on the most fundamental issues facing the country, So we’re stuck either with a second Bush term in which arrogant idealogs run amok with our foreign policy, making the United States more hated in the world than at any time since “The Ugly American,” or a Kerry administration that has over-promised and lacks the courage to execute the dramatic policy reversals necessary to extricate America from the quagmire of Iraq and smash terrorism, rather than catalyze it. This is not a choice, it’s a tragedy.
Who believes there are now fewer terrorists in the world than there were three years ago? The administration should be judged as it wants to be judged, by its performance regarding the issue it says should decide the election — national security. However, the opposition party is presenting an appallingly flaccid opposition.