Jewish World Review June 15, 2004 / 26 Sivan, 5764

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Sen. Kennedy, will it take another 9/11 before we ‘get it’? | You might not believe this, but I want to like Sen. Edward Kennedy. The man, however, drives me nuts, and I don't see him stopping anytime soon. Watching him grill Attorney General Ashcroft last week while waving the Abu Ghraib pictures and lecturing Ashcroft on the "rights" of military prisoners, I wanted to grab Kennedy by the shoulders and shake him.

Don't you get this, Senator? Al Qaeda would blow you up in a heartbeat. Hyannisport would be dust if they could pull it off.

They kill at random and will use any method, including nuclear, that becomes available to them. That is the danger. Unlike past nuclear threats, there is no doomsday deterrent. Many of these terrorists want to die.

There has been much more of an outcry here over the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib than over the video beheading of Nicholas Berg or the civilian executions in Saudi Arabia, both reportedly Al Qaeda's work. The media drumbeat over Abu Ghraib has taken the moral high ground from the United States in the war on terror and dimmed the spotlight on the fanatical killers.

In some parts of the world, even in the minds of a few misguided Americans, the U.S. - not Al Qaeda - is villain No. 1.

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While the media is partially to blame for using Abu Ghraib as a hammer to bludgeon the Bush administration, thereby inserting a political agenda in the middle of an important news story, the President is to blame as well.

Clearly, something is very wrong when inexperienced, poorly trained military reservists are allowed to run wild and abuse prisoners. Clearly, something is wrong when enormous mistakes are made in the occupation of a country whose defeat was a foregone conclusion. Everybody knew the U.S. would defeat Saddam, so why was the aftermath of the war screwed up?

We have lost momentum in the terror war. A furious Al Gore accuses Bush of creating "gulags." A dangerously naive American Civil Liberties Union, aided by political opportunists like Ted Kennedy, demand we treat captured terrorists like Martha Stewart, giving them defense attorneys and the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda plans more mayhem, no doubt enjoying the paralyzing divisions bedeviling its despised target.

I hate to say this, but it looks like it will take another 9/11 for many of us to understand that we are now in the most dangerous age in America's history. Hitler and Tojo did not have nuclear weapons. Pakistan does. Al Qaeda owns parts of Pakistan. Do the math.

There's a best-selling novel out called "Memorial Day," by Vince Flynn. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)He knows that the U.S. war on terror is unbelievably screwed up, and tells you how and why in a gripping way. Kennedy, Gore and every ACLU member should read this book, and so should you.

President Bush should also read it, and wise up. He is right to wage an aggressive war against terror, but he must get better people to do it, and define the new methods of combat.

Enough with the chaos and mistakes like Abu Ghraib. We are fighting a war unlike any other. New strategies and rules must be developed. If America needs stricter interrogation methods for captured terrorists, then let's have the debate.

Final question: Did Al Qaeda sign the Geneva Convention?

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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