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Jewish World Review May 29, 2002 / 18 Sivan, 5762

Diana West

Diana West
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Have you forgotten we're at war? | I've had it with all these government reports on terrorism that keep popping into the news, Hallmark-like, to suit any occasion. I've had it with investigations -- blue ribbon, gold medal or otherwise. These are the playthings of peacetime, and we are at war. It's just that our heads are in the sand.

That must explain why the State Department, according to the newsweekly Human Events, has issued over 50,000 temporary visas to visitors from Middle Eastern countries (excluding Israel) since Sept. 11. That must explain why the Transportation Department, according to USA Today, still fails to screen "little, if any" cargo carried by passenger planes. That must explain why the Bush administration still refers to Saudi Arabia, that repressive enabler and supporter of Wahhabist terrorism everywhere, as "our good friend," and why airline security singles out the congressman with the game leg, the jut-jawed anchorette and the middle-aged psychology professor for a more invasive frisk. "Do I look like a terrorist?" one such prof named Judith Kleinfeld, writing in a newspaper column, recalled saying as a uniformed guard led her away. His response: "Are you telling me we should be doing racial profiling?" All-together now: yes.

The Democratic Party inserted its own collective head into sandy depths last week when it seized on the missed cues of last summer, bellowed "gotcha!" and made time-travel plans to the past via imaginary subpoenas, searching for a White House paper trail to Sept. 11. But hindsight can wait; it's the future that threatens us. After witnessing that ever-so-Jacobinic clamor for investigations into the walk-up to the attacks, you get the feeling Democrats on the Hill think of Sept. 11 as the story's ending -- not its beginning.

Of course, investigationists argue we need to study up and make sure we know how to prevent Sept. 11 from happening again. Guess what? We already know. What is unnerving is the light-dawneth-ing realization that we may not have what it takes to prevent another attack.

The horrifying fact is, the dear old Bush Doctrine seems to have yielded to a Grand Strategy of Denial. First, there is the denial that we can do anything about the appalling threats that officials now routinely -- and, after last week's singeing political bonfires -- perhaps spitefully -- admit exist all around, from the Statue of Liberty to the local mall. Such talk sounds as if a bunker mentality is the only fruit of our freedom. The FBI director asserts we are defenseless targets for suicide bombers. Even Rumsfeld the Great was less than magnificent this week when riffing on the new White House "when-not-if" theme of future attacks, regarding an acute probability of nuclear, chemical or biological terrorism. I kept waiting for him to extend the protective shield of the Pentagon -- something like: "Let me assure you, gentlemen, that should this ever occur, there will be hell to pay for the terrorists and their state-sponsors ... " But he didn't. Which left us all out in the cold, checking our backs and maybe mumbling a little.

Of course, you haven't gone completely crazy until you cruise through the State Department's new report on global terrorism, one of those serial studies in bloodless bureacratese that must infuse the professionals with a sense of accomplishment as they file it away on the office shelf. What it most notably shows -- besides the post-plain, nose-on-your-face fact that anti-Western terrorism poses a dire threat to civilization -- is that Colin Powell and the diplocrat crowd refuse to wake up and smell the perfidy of Yasser Arafat. Not only does the report absolve Arafat of responsibility for terrorism against Israel last year, it blames Israel itself for damaging Arafat's "security structure" -- all too much of which has been terrorism-tolerant, if not downright involved.

Nonetheless, according to the State Department's twisty argument, it is Israel that bears a responsibility for what the State Department sees as Arafat's would-if-he-could failure to end the killing. This takes denial to new levels of delusion. Meanwhile, in a little-cited bonus, the report also notes the infiltration of Hamas and Hezbollah activists into seven Latin American countries, from Paraguay to Panama.

What can we, the people, do? Face the facts our government is avoiding. Call for a moratorium on visas for visitors from terrorist-riddled countries, and for emergency, remedial help for the immigration service. Call for massive changes at the Transportation Department, where Secretary Norman Mineta imposes a dadaistic and dangerous policy that prohibits screeners from "profiling" Middle Eastern passengers. I'm beginning to be persuaded by experts who argue for a military withdrawal from Saudi Arabia -- which won't permit us to use our own bases anyway, either for attacking Iraq or celebrating Christmas (prohibited during the Gulf War).

Who knows? Maybe we should be thinking about mobilizing a civilian Homeland Security force to help patrol Lady Liberty and other landmarks. After all, they stand for American freedom, not American fear.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


05/24/02: An antiquated luxury of the past
05/21/02: From terrorists to tourists
05/19/02: Hate U.
05/07/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
05/03/02: Pioneering television
05/01/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
04/29/02: It's the misconduct, stupid
04/24/02: Medal of diss-honor
04/17/02: Holy sanctuary or terrorist shield?
04/12/02: Egyptian clerics solicit martyrs for murder
04/09/02: Defining terrorism down
04/05/02: The Wilder life
04/02/02: Acting, equality and the Academy
03/31/02: Speeding to conclusions
03/25/02: Hard to remove blood (libel) stains
03/21/02: The tale of Nixon's tapes --- again
03/19/02: The Big Lie lives on
03/15/02: The tunnel vision of '9/11'
03/13/02: The American Auschwitz?
03/08/02: Hating the indoctrination of hate
03/05/02: Clinton and Enron: Old friends
03/01/02: Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does
02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West