POLITICIZING TERROR. ...

POLITICIZING TERROR. I assume nobody will be surprised by this, but the Republican Party has apparently settled on its 2006 message: Vote Democratic, and the terrorists will win. That's always been their implicit appeal, of course, but now they're just saying it. On the other hand, why shouldn't they? Terror should be politicized, and if one party or another believes they can do the better job, they should say so. There�s nothing illegitimate about it.

That means, however, that Democrats shouldn't be afraid to mention that the Bush administration is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of American troops, World Trade Center employees, Iraqi civilians, and adorable little puppies. It also wouldn't hurt to wonder if Bush isn't some sort of Manchurian plant, so dedicated has he been to ensuring that America did exactly what its enemies hoped it would. Block the U.N. from stopping Israel's self-destructive demolition of Lebanon? Why not? Who cares if it'll empower a dangerous terrorist group? Launch a poorly planned, totally inexplicable invasion of Iraq that distracts manpower and media attention from the hunt for al-Qaeda while further radicalizing the region against us? But of course. Refuse to appropriate sufficient funds for port security and WMD detection? Seems sensible. Use tax cuts to deprive the Treasury of needed revenues for war and security measures? Sign him (and thus, us) up!

Democrats too often complain that the GOP politicizes terror. But the response to terrorism is a political issue, and it's to the Democrats' discredit that they refuse to treat it as such. If Orrin Hatch thinks terrorists are "waiting for the Democrats here to take control, let things cool off and then strike again," he should say so. And if Democrats think that Hatch has helped eviscerate our country's security, turn the world against us, and radicalize a whole new generation of potential al-Qaeda recruits, they should let the electorate know.

--Ezra Klein

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