Terrorism Blame Game 

Posted: 1:20 pm Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

By Jamie Dupree

When I rushed out of the U.S. Capitol on Christmas Eve, the assumption was that health care would be “the” issue when the calendar changed to 2010.  But an attempted airliner bombing on Christmas Day changed all of that.

Instead of a holiday break focused on health care, both parties immediately switched into high gear on the threat of terrorism and whether the Obama Administration had done enough to safeguard the nation, or whether the Bush Administration had done enough to safeguard the nation.

In other words, about the only thing that has mattered over the last 10 days was whether you had a (D) or an (R) after your name.

“Dems Blame Bush For Failed Terror Policies” read one headline.

“Republicans Blame Obama For Near Bombing of Airliner” read another.

I really got a chuckle out of all the terrorism stories as Democrats accused the Republicans of trying to exploit the issue for partisan political gain, like somehow in the past history of the United States, both parties held hands and sang “Kumbaya” together on major foreign policy issues.

Were both parties in agreement on how to deal with the Soviet Union and the Cold War?

Were both parties in agreement on the best course in Vietnam?

Were both parties in agreement on what to do about the Contras?

Were both parties in agreement on how to deal with Fidel Castro?

No.  And the political situation in the United States has rarely been where both parties agree on what to do in terms of foreign policy.

Anyone remember the opposition of the Federalists to the War of 1812? 

I didn’t think so.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled show, the battle over Al Qaeda. 

If we remember the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, the Bush Administration caught a lot of flak for how it handled (or did not handle) the clues of that terrorist plot.

Republicans meanwhile blamed Democrats and President Clinton for not doing enough about Al Qaeda when the Dems were in charge before Bush.

It would be nice to see both parties work together on such issues, since there still are a lot of shortcomings in how the US intelligence system deals with signs of terrorism, even in the post 9-11 world.

Witness the argument over “connecting the dots” on this latest bombing attempt, something that echoes the original battle over whether US intelligence should have uncovered the 9-11 plot.

The late Sen. Arthur Vandenburg spoke in the 1940’s of how politics should end at the “water’s edge.”

But a real reading of American history would suggest that the current partisan slugfest over terrorism is the true reality of our political system.

It would be nice to think that we could overcome that and put together a system that could detect and prevent terrorist attacks in a non-partisan manner.

But I’m not expecting to sing “Kumbaya” on that one anytime soon.