Listening to all the aspiring commanders in chief (except for Joe Lieberman), I don’t hear any campaign promises related to winning the war on terrorism. They make a few obligatory references to getting Osama bin Laden rather than wasting our time with Saddam Hussein, and then they get on to their real campaign message, which is the conventional, peacetime Democratic argument to tax the rich and give the proceeds to their likely voters. I am tempted to respond to these candidates with the snappy WWII-era retort to complainers: “Don’t you know there’s a war on?”
Of course domestic life and politics goes on today as it did during 1941-1945. But it is striking that the challengers for president have virtually nothing to say about the central event of our time. If they think President Bush is fighting the war badly (and they could do a better job), they should be shouting both their criticism and their better plan from the rooftops.
I don’t get the feeling that any of them (again, except for Mr. Lieberman) sit up at night worrying how they will protect America from the terrorist threat if they get elected president.
Rather, I get the sense that, as [witer Raoul de Roussy de Salles] described too many Americans 60 years ago at the beginning of WWII, today’s candidates for commander in chief still think the war is optional. They still think they can select “how much war they would accept.” They let the confusion of the situation “serve as an excuse for recommending a policy of aloofness.”