Better to Escape into Dreamland

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Better to Escape into Dreamland


Byline: Wesley Pruden, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Humans, as T. S. Eliot reminded us, "cannot bear very much reality." Better to turn away than look unpleasant facts in the face, particularly if the immediate gratification is a few congressional seats.

You don't have to be a Republican, or even a conservative, to understand what's at stake in the argument over national security, but to read the newspapers you might think it helps.

The Democrats and their acolytes in the media and on the nation's campuses, hungry to come in out of the congressional cold, scoff derisively at George W. Bush's description of the reality that we're at war and if we don't get it right a lot of us will wind up dead.

Henry Kissinger, who more or less invented realpolitik, warns that Europe, Britain and the United States must get together soon if we are to prevent "a war of civilizations" growing in the Middle East. "A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority," the former secretary of state for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford writes in The Washington Post, "no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one. The debate sparked by the Iraq war over American rashness versus European escapism is dwarfed by what the world now faces."

The threat, he says, is centered in Iran, with its support for Hezbollah, the terrorists who tore up Lebanon, and the radical Shi'ites in Iran who are determined to arm an irrational and implacable jihad with nuclear weapons. If this is not reality enough, Graham Allison, a professor at Harvard, lays out the scenario for nuclear nightmare in the new Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Americans have enjoyed a soft life in a security bubble, but it's a bubble of fantasy fashioned in a drowsy imagination. Terrorism before 9/11 was something that happened somewhere else, in Tanzania and Kenya, and the passage of five years has lulled the escapists halfway back to dreamland. "A chorus of skeptics now suggests that 9/11 was a 100-year flood. They conveniently forget the deadly explosions in Bali, Madrid, London and [Bombay], and dismiss scores of attacks planned against the United States .. that have been disrupted."

The failure to act, by both Bill Clinton and George W. at a time when 9/11 might have been prevented, concluded the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, "was a failure of imagination. …

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