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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Harry Reid, Protector of the American People, er, Democratic Party

Richard L. Barrett

When it comes to national security, an issue the Democrats are hoping to make a case to the American people in this Fall's general elections that they, and not the Republicans, will be the responsible party in fighting terrorism if elected to the majority, have proven once more that they are more interested in attaining a majority Congress than being patriots in the War on Terror.

Upon the breaking news this past Thursday that a major Islamic terrorist plot to blow up passenger planes flying out of England to America had been foiled, Democrat senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada rushed out to release the following statement, "As a result of mismanagement and the wrong funding priorities, we are not as safe as we should be...The Iraq war has diverted our focus and more than $300 billion in resources from the war on terrorism and has created a rallying cry for international terrorists. This latest plot demonstrates the need for the Bush administration and the Congress to change course in Iraq and ensure that we are taking all the steps necessary to protect Americans at home and across the world." (http://reid.senate.gov/)

There are two problems with Mr. Reid's rushed statement, his obvious attempt to "get ahead" of the story to show the voters that the Democrats are the real vigilant anti-terror party. The first is that, well, the terror plot failed. So unless Mr. Reid is criticizing President Bush's lack of ESP in discovering terrorists even before they begin planning their vicious mayhem, I'm not sure what he is upset about.

Secondly, yesterday, it was revealed that American intelligence played a major role in intercepting the "terrorist chatter" among the Muslim plotters. The AP reported that, "a U.S. congressman briefed by intelligence officials, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the investigation, said U.S. intelligence had intercepted terrorist chatter." Time magazine online also reports, "MI5 and Scotland Yard agents tracked the plotters from the ground, while a knowledgeable American official says U.S. intelligence provided London authorities with intercepts of the group's communications."

Contrary to Mr. Reid's attempt to disparage the commander-in-chief and his administration with his thoughtless and highly partisan statement, this President is keeping America as safe as it should be. There are many wrong-headed points Mr. Reid makes in his statement that reeks of partisanship over patriotism. One is that the war in Iraq has created a rallying cry for international terrorists. Hello, McFly! International terrorists have had their sights set on America well before our second incursion into Iraq. From the suicide bombing of our Marines based in Southern Lebanon in 1983 to the 9/11 attacks, Muslim terrorists have targeted Americans for over two decades.

Mr. Reid concludes his preposterous statement by tying the recent foiled bombing plot to Iraq! How this failed attempt to kill thousands of innocents over the Atlantic Ocean is related to changing the course in Iraq to "ensure that we are taking all the steps necessary to protect Americans at home and across the world" is purely and utterly nonsensical.

The party that wants to end the Patriot Act, the party that wants to kill the NSA surveillance tactics, and the party that wants to pull our troops out of Iraq, NOW, and who cries, "Uncle!" when the going gets tough, this is the party that will protect Americans here and the world over? Only the French have less fortitude than Democrats, but the French can be excused due to the extravagant and elegant nature of the their country. Who wants to fight wars when you can be dining on French cuisine, fine wines and cheese along the French Riviera?

In the end, Mr. Reid's shortsighted rush to criticize our Commander-in-Chief reveals, with unintended consequences, to the American people that the Democratic Party is not interested in protecting our country. They are, at best, ugly opportunists interested solely in regaining congressional power. At worst, they are undermining the War on Terror and causing a very real risk to the lives of the American people. One can only hope that Mr. Reid's position as the minority leader in the Senate will continue after the votes are tallied for the coming November elections.


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