From Ed Morrissey on the political charges and innuendo in light of the foiled airplane terrorist plot:

The discovery of the plot and the arrests of the terrorists should have been a cause for celebration — but instead, people decided to spend the day taking partisan swipes at each other.

Almost no one appeared immune from this impulse. George Bush gave a short and to-the-point statement regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism and managed to avoid partisanship, instead focusing on working together to achieve security. Even before that, though, it seemed like politicos could not wait to use the event to score political points. Joe Lieberman used it to attack Ned Lamont. Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy all leaped at the chance to bash the Bush administration for diverting efforts against terrorism into Iraq — and bear in mind that the UK and US stopped the terrorist attack.

And don’t even get me started on the media, which couldn’t even wait for Heathrow to reopen before trying to figure all the political angles.

Do you want to know what the big story of the day really was? We beat the terrorists — again — and saved lives. Perhaps we could have spent the day reflecting on that and the need for continuing vigilance. The politics could have, and should have, waited for another day.

I agree largely — but not totally — with Morrissey.

Yours truly was stuck in a car driving some 285 miles yesterday. That means I was at the mercy of talk radio and news stations.

I heard conservative show hosts say the foiled plot proves why Democrats should not be allowed anywhere near power or be in charge of our country — that only the GOP cares and is competent enough to protect the United States against terrorism. I heard a local newscaster on an Air America station insert an editorial comment in his newscast actually suggesting (he hinted it in an aside) that the foiled terrorism plot was perhaps fabricated because Joe Lieberman was defeated. I heard another liberal talker suggest it wasn’t a coincidence that this happened when GOP polls are down and right after Lieberman was defeated. I heard the comments by Democrats saying this shows that we’re bogged down in Iraq.

But I do not agree with Ed on President George Bush.

I heard President George Bush sound less like a President and Commander In Chief of a country under a perpetual terrorist threat than a politician running for re-election and suggesting that certain Americans (which party could THEY belong to?) somehow forgot about 911 and who did it.

This is NOT just my view. I discovered THIS STORY that notes:

Weighed down by the unpopular war in Iraq, Bush and his aides have tried to shift the national political debate from that conflict to the broader and more popular global war on terrorism ahead of November 7 congressional elections.

The London conspiracy is “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,” the president said on a day trip to Wisconsin.

“It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America,” he said. “We’ve taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we still aren’t completely safe.”

So exactly who has said or suggested that there is “no threat” to the United States?

The bottom line is that Bush was seemingly playing the same game yesterday as the Democrats and the liberal and conservative talk show hosts but doing it in a more subtle way.

It has gotten to the point in the United States now where partisanship trumps everything. Every development, every event is siezed on for maximum partisan skirmish. The talk radio culture of angry rants, accusatory comments, trying to define political foes as evil and a danger to The Republic seemingly permeates every discussion of every event or issue.

Morrissey is right: this was a cause for celebration — not an event that should be grabbed in a frenzy to use as a political bludgeon. The professional talkers and politicians would do wise to heed his advice as stated in the headline of his post (and if they don’t know what the abbreviation means they should ask any teenager).

Could we have possibly been spared 24 hours before both Republicans and Democrats turned news of this foiled attack into a political football?

Just how blatantly political has the terrorism threat become? Look at this quote from tghe AFP story quoted and linked above:

“Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big,” said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won’t “look as appealing” under the circumstances.

We ALL should be grateful this was foiled. And, yes, all Americans in all parties (or not belonging to one) do remember 911 (even if they can’t tell you the year…). NEITHER party has a monopoly on competence or incompetence when it comes to terrorism — since 911 was a failure of administrations of both parties.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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clt510
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clt510
10 years 1 month ago
Your take seems to be rather a snotty way to read what Bush had to say. Who can disagree with this? The London conspiracy is “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,” the president said on a day trip to Wisconsin. How is this politicizing anything? It’s an accurate statement of the facts, and little else. Had these Islamo-terrorists succeeded, 10 planes and upwards of 4000 people would have lost their lives. These are the stakes we are… Read more »
K. Gregory
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K. Gregory
10 years 1 month ago
I agree with Joe and he also gives you the link showing you that he is not the only one who saw it this way. Also if you go through the left voices he lists on this site you’ll see liberal bloggers aren’t saying there is no threat. Those who were stupid enough to say this case is manufacturered did NOT say there was no terrorist threat — but suggest, again stupidly, that this was a fabrication in this case. So I don’t think this is a “snotty” post at all. It’s clear you just want a post that says… Read more »
Elrod
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Elrod
10 years 1 month ago
clt, You are dead wrong. I am a staunchly liberal Democrat who vehemently opposes Bush’s approach to the War on Terror and the war in Iraq in particular. And I made what I think is the clear Democratic argument about this whole episode, which is: 1) this plot was real and very deadly, 2) we are, as always, at risk, and this plot only one of many in the future, and 3) this plot was defeated with, what I termed, “old-fashioned police work” and not through some misguided dramatic remaking of the Middle East through war. The last point, of… Read more »
Mike P.
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Mike P.
10 years 1 month ago
All I can wonder at is where the heck you’re hearing all these “liberal” radio shows! They don’t exist in my part of the country! I do agree though, that both sides were too quick to politicize these events. However, you note that you heard some lefty talk show hosts (and certainly some blogs are “guilty” as well) … And the President. Which goes back to my first graf. How much influence does a liberal radio talk show host, let alone a one or two-line comment at TPM for instance, have on the national debate? As opposed to the President?… Read more »
Pyst
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Pyst
10 years 1 month ago
The GWOT is an intel, and policing issue now. And not the policing of Iraq by US troops either. As much as I shake my head when Kerry goes off on some new jaunt, he was right when he made the distinction during the ’04 election. To whittle these evil sumbitches (sorry Joe) down the world outside the US is using the very tools Kerry suggested. Terrorism is NOT a country, it is an ideology. An ideology this broad ranging can’t, and will not be contained like this is WW2, and fascism is the problem. Unless we wish to invade… Read more »
Michael van der Galien
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10 years 1 month ago

Joe good post. I agree completely, although what Bush said was more ‘suggestive’ than downright partisan in my opinion.

Indeed, I heard and read both sides have a go at eachother and it aren’t just talkradio hosts.

Joey, Amsterdam
Guest
Joey, Amsterdam
10 years 1 month ago

One side of this story has been completely left undiscussed. In Holland there was talk of terrorists trying to drive the US and UK apart by using planes from UK to attack some US cities (including Los Angeles!).
In the opinions of some voices on the radio yesterday, this has been done before when terrorists had tried to drive the US and Germany apart (through 9/11 and the Hamburg link).

With regard to politicization: Bush’ speech was pure campaigning, which seemed to serve the purpose of gaining support for his views rather than anything.

Don in Canada
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Don in Canada
10 years 1 month ago
MvdG: I agree completely, although what Bush said was more ‘suggestive’ than downright partisan in my opinion. This, I think, was one of those instances where he didn’t have to paint a bullseye for the listener to know who the target was. The later note in the AFP report is clearer: His remarks came a day after the White House orchestrated an exceptionally aggressive campaign to tar opposition Democrats as weak on terrorism, knowing what Democrats didn’t: News of the plot could soon break. A Guardian article lays out the time-frame of what Bush knew from Blair and when. While… Read more »
CaliBlogger
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10 years 1 month ago
“It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America” Joe is dead on re: the Prez’ politicization of the UK terror plot. The above statement alone is a typical BushCorpâ„¢ strawman. No-one believes there is NO threat, though many disagree as to how to combat that threat. That point aside I have to repectfully disagree with all here decrying the “politicization” of this event. Terrorist attacks and plots are nothing if not political. And while it may well be argued that by so reponding to such threats we are helping to accomplish terrorist’s… Read more »
Joey, Amsterdam
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Joey, Amsterdam
10 years 1 month ago

Some more details on the plot as reuters reports that some were a few days away from “doing it” and I can guarantee you that that does not refer to having sexual intercourse.

Also, Dutch press reports about a terror alert for India, which tells me we might have some rough times ahead of us despite yesterday’s work by Scotland Yard.

Joey, Amsterdam
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Joey, Amsterdam
10 years 1 month ago

More about the terror threat in India here.

Michael van der Galien
Guest
10 years 1 month ago

One side of this story has been completely left undiscussed. In Holland there was talk of terrorists trying to drive the US and UK apart by using planes from UK to attack some US cities (including Los Angeles!).

Yes, that’s also out there on American blogs now.

Michael van der Galien
Guest
10 years 1 month ago

Joey, thanks for the links!

Uncle Joe McCarthy
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Uncle Joe McCarthy
10 years 1 month ago
eff the spinners…both sides politicized the story…and the bushies did what they always do…worked to instill more fear into the populace i dont care if the threat was “imminent” how it has been dealt with is absolutely silly now liquids are banned on all flights? i can tell you one airline that isnt doint that…and that is el al cuz their security measures remain the best in the biz and what ever happened to ” we are fighting them over there, so we dont have to fight them here”? guess they are here still bush hasnt been fighting the war… Read more »
JP
Guest
10 years 1 month ago

Love the CQ suggestion that Bush was somehow above the political fray..he was taking swipes at Democrats and plugging his spying programs. Yes, both parties were guilty–but Bush was NOT above it.

Peter M
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Peter M
10 years 1 month ago
“So exactly who has said or suggested that there is “no threat” to the United States?” Michael Moore, an icon of the American liberal left: “There is no terrorist threat.” (Dude, Where’s My Country). Google it. If one read the left blogs yesterday…and particularly the comments (see Americablog in particular, also Democratic Underground)…the plot was dismissed as a Bush-Blair conspiracy to “scare the sheep”. How can one not read liberal/left blogs and not note the persistant trend to dismiss the threat of Islamic-based terrorism as simply a Rovian plot? Americablog and others were spinning yesterday’s announcement as a deliberate attempt… Read more »
Erik Curtis
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Erik Curtis
10 years 1 month ago
Democrats love to talk about how all we need to fend off the terrorist threat is intelligence and enforcement, yet when those very issues come to the forefront in terms of the privacy debate, the Administration is attacked mercilessly. Intelligence is the mantra of the liberals only when it comes to THEIR “staunch approach” to combatting terrorism but in reality it is simply their method of giving lip service to this issue when they declare that they understand just how “serious a threat” terrorism is. The flaw in stating that intelligence and police work are all that is necessary to… Read more »
Rubyeyes
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Rubyeyes
10 years 1 month ago

The irony, to me, is the right tries to make believe we are safer because there hasn’t been another attack on US soil since 9/11, while at the same time trying to show it’s not safer and we need to give up freedoms to be safer.

Blue Neponset
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Blue Neponset
10 years 1 month ago

It is sad that I have to remind people that this country was once almost completed united behind Bush in the GWOT. That unity was squandered by Bush &Co. Their brand of zero-sum politics has poisoned the political dialoge in our country and it is going to take a good long while before it recovers.

To all those castigating the Dems for their political one-upsmanship, etc. I ask, what would you have the Dems do?

Kim Ritter
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Kim Ritter
10 years 1 month ago
Erik- The country backed Bush in the GWOT when he invaded Afghanistan and went after the Taliban and Al Queda’s organization. But Bush’s efforts in Iraq can only be viewed as a massive failure, and his policy of allowing free and fair elections has resulted in the legitimizing of terror organizations in Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon, which has greatly complicated negotiations with those governments. We don’t have 100 years for the Middle East to develop stable democracies that won’t foster more terrorism. In my opinion, this idea of a “grand strategy” in the Middle East is Bush’s way of avoiding… Read more »
Louis Spielman
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Louis Spielman
10 years 1 month ago
The left was denying the reality of the terrorist threat from the moment the planes struck the World Trade center. I was living in San Francisco at that time and working in Walnut Creek. On the Muni bus I took home after getting off BART, a couple of obvious leftists wwere arguing about whether or not the CIA did it to strengthen the Bush Administration or whether Israeli Intelligence did it to bring the US into the mid-east war on their side. By the way, these people all voted for Nancy Pelosi who will be Speaker if the democrats win… Read more »
Blue Neponset
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Blue Neponset
10 years 1 month ago

So Louis Spielman,

The “Left” consists of two guys on a bus in San Francisco?

Pug
Guest
Pug
10 years 1 month ago

Where the liberal agenda falls short is that they offer no long term approach to solving the terrorism issue

Well…Iraq has certainly turned into a long-term appraoch, but I think you would be hard pressed to prove it is a solution to the problem, as shown by the events of yesterday.

I wonder if those two guys on the bus in San Francisco, you know the Left, make much anti-terrorism policy for the United States.

C Stanley
Guest
C Stanley
10 years 1 month ago
(link)Erik Curtis (mail): Democrats love to talk about how all we need to fend off the terrorist threat is intelligence and enforcement, yet when those very issues come to the forefront in terms of the privacy debate, the Administration is attacked mercilessly. Intelligence is the mantra of the liberals only when it comes to THEIR “staunch approach” to combatting terrorism but in reality it is simply their method of giving lip service to this issue when they declare that they understand just how “serious a threat” terrorism is. The flaw in stating that intelligence and police work are all that… Read more »
C Pete
Guest
C Pete
10 years 1 month ago

To say that the Left doesn’t believe there is “no terrorist threat� is a fallacy, considering some on the Left, believe 911 was all a conspiracy of the Bush Administration.

To say that Bush isn’t using this event for political gain is pure inanity. All politicians, Right and Left, are opportunists who will use any event for their gain. If you believe that your politicians speak with sincerity, then I have some beach front property to sell you in Florida.

Brian Angliss
Guest
10 years 1 month ago
I’d like to point people to the following Duluth News Tribune story from Cox News Service. Specifically the first three paragraphs: When Vice President Cheney went out of his way on Wednesday to blast Democrats as weak on terrorism, he knew something that few Americans knew: Another stark reminder of the dangers of terrorism was about to hit the headlines. The White House confirmed Thursday that senior administration officials have been aware since at least last weekend that British authorities were moving toward arrests in an alleged plot to bomb international flights. Some of these top officials worked in concert… Read more »
Elrod
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Elrod
10 years 1 month ago
“Would a change in US policy at this point really be embraced by Islamists, Palestinians, etc? My belief is that it would not, and that this would be seen as a sign of weakness which would quickly be exploited. It is on that basis that I reluctantly support the ideas of “benign imperialism” that are currently being enacted.” Well, you just brought up a possible “long-term” solution that would address the root cause, and then summarily dismissed it. Sure, some would interpret policy change as “weakness.” But I bet most would treat it as respect. We aren’t talking about appeasing… Read more »
C Stanley
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C Stanley
10 years 1 month ago
Elrod (mail): Well, you just brought up a possible “long-term” solution that would address the root cause, and then summarily dismissed it. I dismissed it in part because I believe it is doomed to failure every bit as much as you believe the current strategies have failed. And, because I wanted you and others to discuss it because I would love for someone to convince me that I’m wrong. Your points are well taken but I believe that nearly every one of your suggestions would backfire. Why do I believe this? Because I think you underestimate the real motivations of… Read more »
C Stanley
Guest
C Stanley
10 years 1 month ago

FISA would have nabbed these terrorists too.

You know this for a fact?

If it is true, it is only apparently because ISI tipped off the British intelligence service. I don’t claim to know how Pakistan conducts its intelligence but somehow I doubt they are constrained by concerns about civil liberties.

denisedh
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denisedh
10 years 1 month ago

Apparently, the British authorities received a tip about this plot from the Muslim community. CNN has included it in a story about the plot. (I’m sorry, but try as I might, I cannot figure out how to put in the link. It’s at CNN.com, under the Europe section.)

Would the plot been averted without the tip? The article does not say if the person was Muslim, but did come from the British Muslim community.

C Stanley
Guest
C Stanley
10 years 1 month ago
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article1218434.ece The operation began with MI5 officers watching a group of people in London with suspected sympathies for the aims of al-Qa’ida. The targets were among a group of about 1,000 terror suspects that the expanded Security Service had under investigation. At first, it appears to have been fairly routine, but gradually the alarm bells started to ring. The group had links throughout the country – east London, High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, and Birmingham – as well as abroad. They were said to be taking a disturbing interest in aircraft and homemade explosives, and how to smuggle the latter through… Read more »
Elrod
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Elrod
10 years 1 month ago
C Stanley, I don’t see how your analysis shows FISA to be too restrictive or not. All FISA governs is the US government’s requirement to get warrants to conduct wiretaps. That’s it. The point is to make sure people who do wiretaps have reasonable reasons for doing so. If the story is to be believed, British intelligence had damn good reason to believe that many people needed to be wiretapped. The FISA court undoubtedly would have come to the same conclusion – they approved 99.99% of all wiretap requests. As for the ISI, FISA doesn’t address how other countries do… Read more »
Elrod
Guest
Elrod
10 years 1 month ago

C Stanley,
In this fascinating exchange between Andrew Sullivan and one of his readers, we see some of the same points under discussion that you and I have been bantering back and forth. The context for Sullivan’s letter and response was an earlier comment he made stating that Democrats haven’t really put up an effective remedy for the root causes of terrorism. Personally, I think both the letter-writer and Sullivan make excellent points.

C Stanley
Guest
C Stanley
10 years 1 month ago
Elrd, Yes, interesting exchange between Sullivan and the reader and the response sums up my feelings exactly. You state that I have substituted the Jihadists for the masses. It is no accident that I have done so. Not that I believe there is an equivalacy but I do think the propaganda has taken hold enough that the masses DO believe in jihad. I simply don’t think there are any options for us to now strengthen the moderates who oppose them. Think Germany in the 30’s. Maybe during the early part of that decade, had the rest of the world been… Read more »
C Stanley
Guest
C Stanley
10 years 1 month ago
Elrod (sorry for previous post misspelling your name- sticky “O” key on my laptop) My FISA point is that I see hypocrisy in using intelligence gathered by foreign entities without concern for civil liberties while we wring our hands about how our government operates. And my larger point is that one case doesn’t prove that all threats could be handled within the FISA constraints. In this particular case a neighbor tipped off the police so that the govt could begin investigating and gathering probable cause. Do you think we can always assume that an observant neighbor will come forward? Do… Read more »
Kim Ritter
Guest
Kim Ritter
10 years 1 month ago
Good point- denisedh- If we antagonize the Muslim world will they continue to cooperate by bringing forward this kind of information? That tip averted an event that would have provided a sequel to 9/11 in scope. Is there no credit to be given to them for helping us avoid this catastrophe? Also, Muslim intelligence provided the tip that led our forces to Zarqawi, so I do think Elrod’s suggestions for softening our image would work. In fact, I think it is our only chance. PING: TITLE: Sky Terror in UK: 3 BLOG NAME: Pajamas Media News Items (Blogs & Opinion… Read more »
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