The Worst Defense

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for looking at the war against the Islamo-fascists and other enemies of the United States. North Korea attempted to launch an Intercontinental Ballistic missile capable of reaching American shores and one day carrying a nuclear warhead. Both technologies were made available to the North Koreans — to put the best possible face on it — by lax security controls and diplomatic follies during the Clinton Administration. To allay public distress over the missile launch President Bush announced that anti-ballistic systems the United States was developing provided us with a good chance of intercepting the Korean missiles. Perhaps by the time the North Koreans achieve this capability our anti-ballistic missile shield will be in place.

But this is also no thanks to Democrats who have waged a ferocious 25- year war against the building of an anti-ballistic missile defense. The entire liberal arsenal was launched against this program, right at the outset with the mockery of Reagan’s “star wars” initiative and reached a crescendo when the Democrats supported Soviet objections to scrapping the Salt II agreements which would have prevented us from finishing the program. Left to Democrats, in other words, America would have no defense against the maniac in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Il.


But this was only one story of the week. In another, FBI agents listening in on an Internet chat room — thus invading Americans’ privacy and “destroying” their constitutional liberties — managed to prevent a new 9/11 attack by radical Islam on the tunnel under the Hudson River that carries millions of commuters to New York to work. The object of the attack was not just to kill innocents, but to destroy the economy and sow panic in the streets of America and the world. The plotters said they were inspired by the economic damage done by Hurricane Katrina, but they might as well have been inspired by the damage done on 9/11 when $600 billion was taken out of the US economy in a single attack. A series of attacks could have thrown the entire world into economic chaos and tip the political scales in a nuclear Muslim country like Pakistan.

Nonetheless, a recently released best-selling book by Ron Susskind — fed his classified information by rogue elements in the US intelligence community — mocks Vice President Cheney’s “One Percent Doctrine” which holds that a one percent chance that terrorists may have the means to inflict massive damage is enough to warrant preventive action. Meanwhile the New York Times and apparently now the New York Daily News, egged on by American radicals posing as civil liberties activitists, are busily leaking national security secrets. The secrets are being provided by government agents, disgruntled with national policy, who are expressing their “dissent” by violating America’s espionage laws and endangering its citizens.

This is the situation we find ourselves in. And in this situation, the defense of those abetting elements in the government who are willing to betray us to our enemies is what? We are protecting the Constitution. We’re helping to win the war on terror by defending Americans’ liberties, which is what this country is all about. We cannot prevail in the war on terror if we cease to be who we are in the process. That is the argument. That is the defense. Tell it to Lincoln who suspended habeas corpus to defend the union and would have put the publisher and editor of the New York Times in jail long before this.

Liberals (who probably actually believe this) and leftists (who most certainly don’t) think this argument is not only the best defense of America in the wars that confront us, they think it is the best way to defend their own actions — actions which others can see are endangering our troops abroad and our citizens at home. In fact the argument that those who have declared war on the war policy are really defending America is the worst possible defense.

It is the worst possible defense because it violates the very foundation of our liberties, the social contract on which all our liberties depend.

We live in a democracy. That means we live under rules for adjudicating our differences both in peacetime and in war. Before all the laws that make us who we are is the primary fact that we are nation of laws. Breaking the law does not protect the law. Breaking national security laws betrays the nation; it does not defend it.

The government leakers who provided the Times with the information that won its reporter a Pulitzer prize, are conducting a war against the very system the Times is claiming to defend. This is an unacceptable way to dissent from national policy, and no excuse can be offered for it. It is an act of violence against our democracy and the Constitution which governs it.

If this were an illegal war; if it had been ratified by the American people; if the government was not concerned to justify its acts legally; if the representatives of the people — the Congress of the United States — were muzzled or the Congress itself dissolved; if the courts were closed, matters would be different. But they are not.

This is not an illegal war and the Administration has behaved in a far less peremptory manner in conducting it than, for example, the Clinton Administration in conducting the war in Bosnia, which was launched without authorization by Congress, yet was not made an object of outrage and a target of opportunity by the New York Times.

The removal of Saddam Hussein by force was called for by two presidents — a Democrat and a Republican, and two acts of Congress — in 1998 and 2002. It was authorized by majorities in both parties, and in both houses of Congress. It was authorized by a UN Security Council ultimatum, Resolution 1441, which gave Saddam Hussein until December 7, 2002 to fully disarm his arsenal of illegal weapons and report on their destruction “or face serious consequences.” Saddam did neither.

The war that ensued and the policy that governed it was ratified by the American people in a national election in 2004 which returned George Bush to the presidency by a wider popular margin than any Democratic President has received since 1964. It was signal to Democrats to close ranks with the government in America’s war with her enemies and provide united front in support of America’s mission and her troops in Iraq. Democrats, as a party, have failed to do so. Some of its leaders like Jack Murtha are proclaiming America the world’s greatest threat to the peace — in the middle of a war, while our troops are in harm’s way.

In a democracy, the opposition supports the legitimate rule of the majority. That is the principle on which our country is built. Not that they agree with the majority, but that they support its authority. In war, this becomes a matter of survival. This is a principle that liberals betray whenever they attack this war as illegitimate or as built on lies (all the while claiming that they are defending American democracy in the process).

Fifty years ago, as the post-World War II era began, American leaders of both parties, recognizing that the world is a dangerous place and that as a powerful and prosperous nation America would have many enemies in it, agreed to support a bi-partisan foreign policy. Its purpose was to confront our enemies with a united front. This policy was in place for more than fifty years. Our nation’s strength and security were based on an agreement that politics would stop at the water’s edge. It was a guarantee of safety for three hundred million Americans. This policy — and the security it afforded us — was betrayed by leaders of the Democratic Party within three months of the fall of Baghdad when, vying for their party’s presidential nomination, they launched a political war against the nation’s commander-in-chief, calling him a liar who was sending American youth needlessly to their deaths. It was reprise of the hate America left’s chant during the Vietnam war “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” Only this time it was coming not from the political fringe but from the leadership of the Democratic Party itself.

Liberals are not defending our constitutional liberties when they betray the contract on which those liberties are based. This contract holds us to submitting our political differences to the due process of elections. Sabotage of the war effort — which is what the New York Times has been engaged in — is not criticism; it is sabotage. The violation of American security laws like the Espionage Act is just as much a declaration of war on our democracy as publishing information illegally provided, even if current law doesn’t cover such acts.

It is not too late to reverse these trends and prevent a further rending of the body politic and a further erosion of our national security. The launching the North Korean missiles and the foiling of the terror plot in New York can serve as a warning and a wake-up call. Reasonable people can disagree about the extent to which disaffected citizens should be monitored by law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies. But the way to resolve these differences is not by breaking the law, revealing national secrets and sabotaging the war effort. The way to deal with them is by public argument. The way to resolve them is through the electoral process. I am sure the New York Times and the Democratic Party understand these truths. Unfortunately, I am less confident, despite the events of these weeks that they will act on them.

”’David Horowitz is a nationally known author and lifelong civil rights activist. Previously a long time founder of the New Left movement in the 1960s, he has gone on to pen numerous books, including The Politics of Bad Faith, The Art of Political War and Radical Son, his autobiography. Since 1988 he had served as president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, a vehicle group for his campaigns and his online newsmagazine”’

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