The depth of Western denial can be measured in the staleness of the "debate" over terrorism, which is dominated by those who've convinced themselves that President Bush is the central cause of the war on terror because somehow it's "his" war. This is like blaming the rooster for the sunrise. Those whom Bush now calls Islamic fascists have been killing Americans for decades. Al-Qaeda declared war on America when Bush was still in Texas. On the other side of the debate are Republicans who've taken the bait and gotten bogged down in a largely partisan argument about "supporting the president."
Whatever the merits of the charge that Iraq is a "distraction" from the war on terror, the reality is that arguments about Bush are a larger distraction from the war on terror. For much of the past five years, Democrats not in the Joe Lieberman wing of the party — which is to say the Democratic Party, minus one — have repeatedly pointed to Osama bin Laden's ability to elude capture (as opposed to, say, his inability to once again murder thousands on American soil) as proof that Bush's anti-terror efforts have been a failure. It would surely be nice to see bin Laden's head on a pike, but this is childishly partisan.
When U.S. forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, bin Laden's "prince" in Iraq, Democrats presented Zarqawi's demise as good but trivial news. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. — who might (shudder) take over the House Intelligence Committee should the GOP lose the Congress — explained, "It won't stop the insurgency. I have found if you liken it to the drug lords, for example, as soon as you imprison one, kill one, another takes his place."
Why shouldn't this same logic apply to bin Laden and the global Islamic insurgency? Does anyone believe that this polyglot army of jihadist murderers will disband and become TV repairmen the moment bin Laden is dead? This is as naive as believing that U.S. withdrawal from Iraq wouldn't be scored as another jihadist victory. Not only have Hezbollah, Hamas and the rest of the League of Extraordinary Murderers never taken marching orders from bin Laden, but like all jihadist groups they always view such withdrawals as an invitation to even more brazen terrorism.
No matter how much the Democrats and the left blame Bush for the reality of terrorism, the threat is not going to magically disappear when Bush--or the Republicans, for that matter--are no longer in control. There is a small, vindictive part of me that almost--almost--wishes that the Democrats succeed in winning the White House in the next national election; because then they would be dramatically forced to actually do something besides whine and wail. In other words, maybe they would be forced to face reality for a change.
But this is mere wishful fantasy on my part. Having had considerable power over the last 50 years or so, didn't make them particularly realistic as far as I can tell. As a psychiatrist, I am perfectly aware of the deeply entrenched nature of denial, and the sometimes psychotic machinations that some go through to maintain it at all costs. Very often, the immature psychological defenses that protect a person from recognizing the truth only get stronger and more inflexible...until they final burst into little pieces and the individual either finds a way to cope; or falls under the wheels of all the accumulated consequences now speeding toward him.
When Bush is out of the picture, it is much more likely that the Democrats will continue to blame him for as long as they can get away with it; then conveniently switch tactics and find a new scapegoat--say, Israel and its evil policies--to blame, so they can cling tighter to the denial. I don't believe for a moment that the bubble of Democratic denial and displacement will be penetrated by even the reality of an even more devastating attack than 9/11--more likely it will simply enlarge to encompass any reality too unpleasant for them to face.
Only witness how the most recent successful prevention of such an attack is spun, if you don't believe me. Or, how the fact that we have gone five years without another 9/11 is casually and quickly dismissed out of hand.
In the face of such unrelenting denial, what can rational people do? It's deceptively easy to get sucked into that bubble of denial--almost like the addict's anticipated bliss on entering an opium den.
But sedation and getting lost in fantasy will not make the league of extraordinary murderers go away. It only makes it easier for them to kill you.
For me the choice is clear. I will follow whoever is willing to unflinching face the league and fight it, however ineptly; because the alternative plan proposed by the Democrats as they run back across that bridge into the 20th century, holds only an absolute certainty of defeat.
Rather than return to the false promises of safety, peace, brotherhood and utopia that are all jumbled together in the bubble of Democratic denial, I choose to face the reality of Islamofascism and the hatred that motivates it, just as an earlier generation faced the genocidal and fanatical reality of national socialism.
Only this time around in history, I am hoping the bubble of denial can be burst sooner, rather than later; for the sake of the millions of lives that will be forfeit to the rabid barbarity of this generation's league of extrordinary murderers.
Oh, and by the way, I think the only strategy to burst that Democratic bubble of denial is for the Democrats to lose elections. Lots of elections. Because that appears to be the only reality they are capable of understanding.