Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's maniacal ravings against President Bush were truly disgusting but I believe, in the end, they will only serve to help our cause. Don't buy the "defense" of Bush by American liberals like Charles Rangel and Nancy Pelosi. Their defense speaks to the silver lining I see in Chavez's vitriol. The truth is that the Democrats were forced, kicking and screaming, into this pseudo-defense of the president because they see clearly that if they don't create some noticeable difference between their criticism of Bush and Chavez’s criticism, they will be lumped together and rejected by the people. The Democrat’s criticism of the president over the past several years has been just as bad, if not worse, than that of Chavez. Democrats see Bush rising in the polls, and his popularity will threaten their chances at winning control of the House in November. If Americans finally say "we've had enough" with the relentless, hateful attacks on the president, they will see that Chavez and the radical left of this country are one in the same, utterly indistinguishable. Ideologically speaking, both the left and Chavez are staunch socialists and subsequently, hostile to the United States and President Bush. The pathetic “defense” offered by Rangel is an attempt to mitigate the fury most sensible Americans feel toward Bush’s critics.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
There is a debate swelling between conservatives and liberals regarding the treatment of suspected terrorists. At the behest of the omnipotent Supreme Court, President Bush is asking Congress to define more clearly Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which addresses the treatment of prisoners of war. The objective of Common Article 3 is to prohibit the torturing of prisoners at the hands of their captors. It is well known that Common Article 3 originally applied only to captives of traditional military forces, that is to say, uniformed soldiers from a legitimate nation-state. The Supreme Court however decided (declared) that Common Article 3 should be applied to al-Qaida and other terror operatives who flaunt all traditional rules of war: they blend into the civilian population thereby refusing to clearly distinguish themselves from the general public, they hide in and fire from mosques and hospitals, they intentionally target innocents, and they belong to no clearly defined nation. We are facing, in this asymmetrical war, manifestations of a new type of enemy truly unlike anything we've seen before. The enemies we face on the battlefield are savages, unmatched in their brutality and unscrupulousness.
Bush has repeatedly insisted that we do not torture our prisoners. I believe him. However we do make use of tactics that some may consider rough; tactics that would no doubt offend weak-kneed, effeminate liberals. We do make use of legitimate, alternative measures with interrogation to obtain extremely valuable information. That we have not had an attack in over five years says that we must be doing something right. In fact, several terror plots have been interrupted as a direct result of our intelligence gathering and interrogation tactics. The CIA is insisting that interrogation parameters need to be clearly defined for them so they will not be hauled before judges for the alleged torture of detainees. In response to the Supreme Court's foolish ruling, Bush has petitioned Congress to hammer out and crystallize acceptable interrogation techniques to avoid embarrassing court spectacles involving our interrogators. Liberals and a handful of renegade Republican Senators like John McCain argue that we shouldn't touch Common Article 3 because it would, they speculate, create a moral equivalence between al-Qaida and the United States. Torture would be sanctioned by the US and we would sink to the moral depths of the very terrorists who attacked us on 9-11. This kind of moral equivalence between the US and terror cells is truly sickening and should be rejected outright. It starts with a premise that I don’t readily accept. Liberals also argue that, if we tweak Common Article 3 in our dealings with prisoners, our enemies could follow our precedent and adjust the Geneva Conventions to suit their needs as well in the event that an American is captured. Those who hold our prisoners will look at our example and claim that they have the right to modify their own standards of interrogation imposed on them by their signing onto the Geneva Convention. This will, in the end, put Americans at risk. The problem with this argument is that the enemies we are concerned with in the war on terror have already tortured, beheaded, mutilated and slaughtered captive Americans. Assuming they even know about the Geneva Conventions, they certainly could care less about abiding by them. McCain argues that the Geneva Conventions have governed Western POW detention and interrogation standards for decades and ipso facto, shouldn't be changed. This kind of static thinking is deeply troubling, especially in light of 9-11 and the evolving nature of warfare. That something is old and "time-tested" should not be the sole criteria for upholding a particular policy. If we've learned anything, it is that we must continually update our tactics to stay one-step ahead of our enemies. We should take our leaders at their word (an almost impossible task for some) and trust that we are not torturing our captives, à la the regime of Saddam Hussein. At the same time, we must allow for effective, albeit rough, interrogation tactics to obtain the life-saving information we need.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
On September 21, the United Nations is celebrating the International Day of Peace. In 2001, the General Assembly unanimously approved the resolution reserving this day for peace, love, harmony and dialogue, how nice. I wonder if these characters are joining hands. Of course, more graphic images could be added to the gallery, but the point has been made sufficiently. In other news, Muslims across the globe will hold a "Day of Anger" on Friday to protest (peacefully, of course) the pope's remarks.
This past weekend, I was privileged to pay a visit to the military base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A good friend serves in the Army and is currently training for the elite Army unite more commonly known as the Green Berets. This particular branch specializes in raiding operations, antiterrorist actions, and reconnaissance. My friend is in the middle of a rigorous training process that is physically and mentally taxing, to put it lightly. In addition to picking up foreign languages and advanced medical training, he occasionally disappears for weeks on end into the fort’s dense forest complex. To say that Fort Bragg is expansive would be an understatement. Quite simply, it’s massive, virtually a self-sufficient city within itself. The military ambiance permeates every square meter of the complex; granite and marble monuments bear the seemingly endless list of names of those who paid the ultimate price in the service of their country. Larger-than-life bronze statues of Herculean soldiers are scattered about and seem to be holding vigilance over this vast nexus of military barracks, offices and training centers. There are few places in the country that are more secure and guarded. So the opportunity to get an insiders view was an extraordinary experience.
As my friend and I strolled the grounds, and drove around in his pick-up truck, we had the chance to talk about the ins and outs of life in the military. He spent over a year in Iraq, so I give a good deal of credence to his perspective and insights. As the war on terror progresses amid both great losses and notable victories it is not surprising that, within the nation, debate over the particulars of the mission have emerged as a popular topic to toss back and forth. The phrase “We support the troops, but not the mission” has become common parlance among those on the left as they seek to whip-up support for an end to US participation in Iraq. As they see it, this comfortable middle ground allows them to offer lip service to the troops, who are widely lauded by the general public, and still maintain their traditional pacifist ideology. I wanted to understand what kind of impression this rallying cry made on the American soldier and, given my friend's full-immersion into the harsh realities of war, I considered him preeminently qualified to speak for his peers. He told me in no uncertain terms that the “we support the troops but…” catchphrase is empty and means nothing. “Someone who says that they support us but not our mission really does not support us because, deep down, they have no reason for seeing us succeed.” It made a good deal of sense to me. Supporting someone implies that one approves of what another is doing, especially if that person is putting his life on the line. For example, in the political world if I support candidate X, wouldn't that mean that I believe in what he’s doing and I hope he succeeds in his campaign? It would be patently ludicrous to say that I support him yet not his objective.
The truth of the matter is that, even in certain circles of well-intentioned Christians, there exists a deep-seated hostility toward the military. This hostility and suspicion is generally rooted in a clouded understanding of the Church’s 1,500 year-old just-war teaching and, even more troubling, a general naïveté about the human condition itself. A limited war conducted within the strict parameter of the just-war doctrine is too often muddled together with cold-blooded murder. At the very heart of the Church’s just war teaching is that, occasionally, force must be wielded to reestablish peace and justice when they have been violated by evil men. There’s a particular arrogance about modern man’s tendency to believe, such is the state of our enlightenment in this new age that we no longer have the need to resort to brutish arms. Physical combat is somehow impugned as something antiquated, uncivilized, etc. "Dialogue" has become the magic wand to resolve all our problems. Understandably traumatized by the horrors of the numerous wars waged in their backyard, most Europeans, (Romano Prodi comes to mind), are now virtually default pacifists and subsequently question the very relevance of even the possibility of waging a limited war. The irony is that it is precisely because arms were taken up in the past in Europe that Europeans are free to pontificate against them today. It is precisely because the United States intervened in the blood baths of European wars that Europeans today can sit on their soap boxes, chastising American intervention elsewhere. Fortunately, Americans see things differently. I’ve always been impressed with the stark realism that distinguishes the United States, together with the UK and Poland, from many of the nations of the world.
George Orwell once wrote, “We sleep safely because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those would seek to do us harm.” That “rough men” may scare an effete, culture bewitched by political correctness shouldn’t blur the plain-as-day truth that it is just these men who stand as well-anchored shields fending off tyranny’s relentless onslaught on Western civilization.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI, recently discussing the concept of jihad and violence in the name of religion, quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologos. The Holy Father was not endorsing the statement per se; he only described what the emperor said as “brusque.” The emperor said, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." The pope continued, "The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable…Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul." According to news reports, the Vatican’s spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, clarified that the pope was not presenting Islam as "something violent," but he (Lombardi) did say that the religion contains both violent and nonviolent strains. It was an important issue to highlight and Pope Benedict XVI deserves credit for having the courage to address it in such a direct fashion. The Pope's lecture went on to brilliantly trace the origins of what he called the "de-Hellenization" of Christianity. His remarks have angered many in the Muslim world. Taking the passage from Manuel II Paleologos and isolating it from the overall context of the discourse, many leaders in the Muslim community have erroneously accused the Pontiff of stoking the flames of religious intolerance. Putting aside their unfounded criticism, the issue of religion and violence is nevertheless an important theme to consider in light of current global realities. Certainly, Christianity is a religion that truly abhors violence. Often, critics are quick to signal out the Crusades as the Christian equivalent to examples of Islamic jihad. But this criticism is severely misplaced. It betrays not only a glaring ignorance of the authentic motives behind the Crusades (summoned to alleviate the besieged Christian communities in the Holy Land) but also of the very teachings of Christ, as found in Scripture. Nowhere can a passage be cited that presents Christ advocating violence as a means of conversion. No matter how numerous were the atrocities of the Crusaders, no verse in Scripture can be found to justify them. The Crusaders’ trail of destruction and horror, from Constantinople to Jerusalem, reveals a clear betrayal of every letter of Christ’s teachings. It is simply inaccurate to equate Islamic jihad with the Crusades, but that has not stopped people from doing so. Bill Clinton once elaborated upon his understanding of violence in the name of religion in light of the Crusades during an address at Georgetown University.
"First, we have to win the fight we are in and in that I urge you to keep three things in mind. First of all, terror, the killing of noncombatants for economic, political, or religious reasons has a very long history as long as organized combat itself, and yet, it has never succeeded as a military strategy standing on its own, but it has been around a long time. Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless. Indeed, in the first Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with 300 Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple mound [sic]."
What Clinton said about Crusader atrocities was true. They did occur. However, his remarks seem to imply that episodes of jihad perpetrated by Muslims today are simply another manifestation of the same type of religious-inspired violence that Christianity has struggled with in the past. It completely overlooks the clear-as-day fact that violence in the name of Christianity is absolutely incompatible with the words and example of Christ. The betrayal of Christ’s message by misguided Crusaders hardly proves that the Christian religion is an inherently violent one. According to this interpretation, it is then left to us to suppress the latent violent strains within Christianity. But the truth is simply that there are no violent underpinnings to be found in the core tenets of the Christian religion. Can the same be said of Islam, Mohammed and the Koran? There is ample room for a robust discussion of the matter.
The “mainstream” Muslim rightly deplores acts of terror in the name of Islam and adamantly claims that “jihad” ought be understood, symbolically and metaphorically, as both an inner-struggle for the believer and a battle at the intellectual and rational level with unbelievers. Anything that would transform jihad into an actual war against infidels should be categorically rejected outright as a perversion of the true Islam. Any Muslim that would endorse terror in the name of Islam is not a true believer and does not represent the faith, so the “mainstream” Muslim would argue. On the other side of the debate are the Osama bin-Ladens of the Muslim world, who would state in no uncertain terms, that jihad means jihad, a holy war against the “Crusaders and Jews” of the world. They have made their vision of a global Islamic empire emphatically clear. They take literally the words of the Koran and follow the example of the martial Muhammad, who bravely led his fellow Muslim warriors into the battlefield, conquering and expanding by the sword. These Muslims would assert that any Muslim who believes otherwise is not a true Muslim.
The Gordian knot of the issue seems to be the troubling passages found in the Koran. How should they be interpreted? With no central authority in Islam, how can a correct exegesis be hammered out definitively so as to command universal acquiescence by the Muslim world? How should the following passages be interpreted?
• When you meet the unbeliever in the battlefield, strike off their head and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. (Sura 47:4)
• Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage. (Sura 2:190-191)
• When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the levy [the special tax for non-Muslims], allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful. (Sura 9:5)
The second passage may be offered as a consolation by some, as it seems to only endorse violence within the parameters of defense. But precisely how is “defense” to be defined in the minds of radicals? Couldn’t the mere existence of an infidel, deemed a threat to the very existence, if not spread, of Islam offer sufficient reason to go on the attack? Bin-Laden himself said as much in 1998 when he declared war on the United States. “All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on Allah, his messenger, and Muslims.” So it is clear that the perceived “crimes and sins” of the enemy offer ample reason to launch jihad, according to bin-Laden. The existence of an alleged threat gives the green light to claim that one has been placed in a defensive position and therefore must act accordingly.
Muslims around the world urgently need to reach a consensus about the meaning of jihad, for their sake and the world’s. Acts by terrorists must be condemned unequivocally by every imam, in every mosque. Muslims also need to grapple with the difficult history of their own religion as well and reconcile it, somehow, with the verses found in their holy book. Pope John Paul II repeatedly expressed his regret and sorrow over the atrocities committed by the Crusaders. But this sorrow is often misunderstood by secular pundits; the late Holy Father’s expression was not so much rooted in the original intent of the Crusades, which, again sought to provide protection for fellow Christians, but rather for the egregious deviations taken by the marauding Crusader armies, that ended up murdering innocents and pillaging holy cities and sites. Christ did not preach violence, His sublime example is the antithesis of the harsh dictates of violence and He expects no less from His followers.
My regard for the UN has always been virtually nonexistent but as of today it has been brought down even further. I read the following headline and, after a hearty laugh believing it to be a joke, updated my dismal esteem for the august institution. Could things get any worse for the credibility of the UN? Stay tuned...I suppose next week Rosie O'Donnell could be called in to testify on promoting family values in the third world.
George Clooney to Address United Nations Security Council
George Clooney to Address United Nations Security Council
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Last night, President Bush delivered what I believe was the greatest speech of his presidency. He has never been known as an eloquent speaker in the mold of Lincoln, Kennedy or Reagan, but last night, everything came together and he spoke marvelously. His points were interlaced, explained with great clarity and he didn’t slip up as he tends to when giving formal addresses. Bush is incapable of separating 9-11, the war on terror and the current struggle in Iraq into isolated, episodic events completely unrelated to one another in the way that his political opposition would like to see them. Politicians on the left go hysterical when Bush ties together the war in Iraq with the overall war on terror. “Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11!” “There were no weapons of mass destruction!” “The President is politicizing 9-11 for his own personal political aims!” Immediately after the speech, Senator Ted Kennedy lambasted the President. "The president should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to commandeer the airwaves to give a speech that was designed not to unite the country and commemorate the fallen but to seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had nothing to do with 9/11.” Last weekend Senator Rockefeller made the outrageous assertion that the United States would have been safer with Saddam still in power. I’d like this effete, Socialist-lite Senator to travel to Iraq and tell the legions of American soldiers that, according to his serious analysis, their efforts have been counterproductive and placed the nation at an even greater risk of harm. Part of the problem for Democrats is that they are so trapped inside a prism of moral relativism that they cannot see this struggle as one of good against evil. For them, everything comes down to political posturing and their quest to regain power. They have no effectual strategy in fighting terror. They are defined, as a movement, as an ideology, as a Party as one of opposition to Bush in everything. They foolishly cannot see that they allow themselves to be defined by running unanimously opposed to Bush on every front. Bush is secure enough with himself personally that he does not allow himself to be concerned with "image," polls or criticism that reflect negatively on him as a person and he does not allow these factors to dictate his policy decisions. I read a fascinating vignette by Byron York in the National Review. He relates a discussion between Bill Clinton and Dick Morris that reveals why Bill Clinton will never be considered a great president. Here’s an excerpt from the article.
In early August 1996, a few weeks after the Khobar Towers bombing, Clinton had a long conversation with Dick Morris about his place in history. Morris divided presidents into four categories: first tier, second tier, third tier, and the rest. Twenty-two presidents who presided over uneventful administrations fell into the last category. Just five — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt — made Morris’s first tier. Clinton asked Morris where he stood. “I said that at the moment he was at the top of the unrated category,” Morris recalls. Morris says he told the president that one surprising thing about the ratings was that a president’s standing had little to do with the performance of the economy during his time in office. “Yeah,” Clinton responded, “It has so much to do with whether you get re-elected or not, but history kind of forgets it." Clinton then asked, “What do I need to do to be first tier?” “I said, ‘You can’t,’“ Morris remembers. “‘You have to win a war.’“ Clinton then asked what he needed to do to make the second or third tier, and Morris outlined three goals. The first was successful welfare reform. The second was balancing the budget. And the third was an effective battle against terrorism. “I said the only one of the major goals he had not achieved was a war on terrorism,” Morris says. (This is not a recent recollection; Morris also described the conversation in his 1997 book, Behind the Oval Office.) But Clinton never began, much less finished, a war on terrorism. Even though Morris’s polling showed the poll-sensitive president that the American people supported tough action, Clinton demurred.
In my view, Bush will be seen by history, as a great president because he had the chutzpah to take on terror with the military. Clinton and his entire Party are quite simply not equipped to engage in this struggle. The article sited above proves this convincingly. Every terror attack during the Clinton Administration, and there were many, was met with utter inaction that only served to embolden our enemy. Liberals have a fear of taking action coupled with a deep-seated cynicism of the military that borders, in my view, on a psychological complex worthy of the best-paid therapist money can buy. If you throw this in with their obsessive, narcissistic preoccupation with their own image that paralyses them from doing anything that involves risk and you have the recipe for a perfectly dysfunctional political Party.
Monday, September 11, 2006
As America commemorates the fifth anniversary of the attacks on our nation, prayerful reflection accompanies a serious evaluation of our nation’s security. That this anniversary falls within a stone’s throw of crucial midterm elections cannot be completely glossed over, as politicians on both sides make their case for either “staying the course” or making a major course correction with new congressional leadership. Democrats are arguing for change, claiming that the nation as a whole is not safer and that the conflict in Iraq, rather than making us safer, has emboldened our enemies, alienated our allies and drained our resources. According to characters like Sen. John Kerry, President Bush and the Republican Congress have ignored al-Qaida, bin-Laden and the ongoing war in Afghanistan and have instead become endlessly distracted and “bogged down” by a growing “quagmire” in Iraq. Administration officials hit the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday to make the case that America is safer as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Andrew Cline wrote a serious analysis of the situation for the American Spectator and his insights will prove helpful. I’ll highlight the salient points and then give the link to the entire article.
• The US has killed or captured 75% of al-Qaida, delivering a crippling blow to the terror cell
• The US has worked effectively with allies, France in particular, to track-down, detain and interrogate suspected terrorists, thus debunking the spurious assertion that the US has alienated itself from key allies
• The war in Iraq has hardened the Muslim world against al-Qaida, since the overwhelming number of deaths at the hands of the terror cell are not American soldiers, but innocent Muslims.
• As for the claim that the Bush Administration is ignoring the war in Afghanistan by not sending more troops, Cline points out that the difficulty experienced in that country is the direct result of other nations that have either not contributed the promised quantity of soldiers or the extreme reluctance of some nations to place their troops already present in Afghanistan in danger, stationing them in less threatening regions.
The article relies on many sources and none of them are conservative mouthpieces for the administration, thus bolstering the assertions that America is indeed safer and that the war in Iraq, despite the blunders and difficulties, is an essential front in the war on terror.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I love this Pope! A light-hearted post for you. It looks like he's interested in bringing back some of the more traditional papal attire. The first red hat pictured is called a saturno, the ermine-trimmed hat is a camauro. Blessed John XXIII was the last Pope to have worn it. The red shoes, I've read, although I'm not 100% sure, have their origin in the Roman/Byzantine Empire. Anyone who has more info on the shoes should enlighten me.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Left has its priorities all wrong. That's the best I can say for them. The media would have us believe that everyone in the country is “angry." We’re angry at Bush, angry with the economy, angry with the war, angry, angry, angry. I don't know, I’m not running into that many people who are seething with blind rage. To be sure, the media perpetually comes across to me as somewhat prissy and sardonic, but the everyday person I encounter in the real world hardly seems consumed with anger, as the media seems to be saying. In fact, the economy is rolling along quite well, unemployment continues to drop and the price of gas is likewise falling; especially encouraging is the discovery this week of a major source of oil in the Gulf of Mexico that some say will boost our oil reserves by over 50%. And who would deny that we’re experiencing major successes in the war on terror? Our allies have arrested of a host of terrorists in the U.K. and Demark in the past several weeks, proving that the intelligence tools like phone surveillance are actually working. Over the past few days, hundreds of Taliban militants have been killed in intense fighting in Afghanistan; the coalition there is performing marvelously. In Iraq, the long-feared Zarqawi is now buried in an unmarked graved, consigned to everlasting oblivion. In addition, the number-two al-Qaida leader in Iraq was recently captured, along with a good number of his advisors, who appear willing to talk to Iraqi officials and reveal secrets as to their operation in that country, perhaps in the hope that they will be given some degree of leniency when punishment is meted out. What we’re doing is working. It’s hard to argue with results. If we’re going to speak in terms of anger, lets direct it toward those who deserve it, with 9-11 fresh in our collective memory.
The recent video appearance of American-turned al-Qaida-henchman Adam Yehiye Gadahn provides us another opportunity to reflect on the high stakes of our struggle against Islamic extremism. Some analysts see the latest ploy utilized by al-Qaida of using an American member of the group as an attempt to water the so-called “home-grown” terrorist cells already germinating in American soil. There may be more to their agenda than a friendly invite for Americans to join the merry bandwagon of Islam. Indeed, this latest attempt may be a façade for prodding hidden cells in the US to follow the tactics of their brethren in the U.K. At present, Britain is struggling severely with the removal of multiple cells from within that have been implicated in horrendous plots to blow up passenger jets en route to the U.S. Like weeds that infiltrate and burrow firmly in fertile soil, these Muslim groups take full advantage of the freedoms Western societies provide to scheme and whisper in dark corners and execute their havoc on innocent civilians, deemed heathens and infidels. Will Americans wake-up and wrestle this all-important issue from the grips of squabbling, angry politicians who lust after lost power? Will Americans reject the venomous aspersions vomited forth from politicians who seek to paint the president as the prime threat to our cherished liberties, even over the very terrorists he is pursuing? How long until America finds itself in the same perilous predicament as Europe, bewitched by narcissism and overrun by a swelling Muslim population? Now is the time for vigilance. No doubt there are already those plotting from within our very destruction. Is this the time for Americans, duped into feeling misdirected anger toward Bush, to hand a significant portion of the reigns of power over to a Party earnestly invested in America’s capitulation and humiliation? We are engaged in a decisive battle against a real enemy. I am certain of one thing with regard to the current president; he clearly understands the gravity of the threat we face and is willing to take a firm stance against it, regardless of world opinion. Simply put, Democrats cannot be trusted with national security. From Vietnam to the Cold-War, the Bay of Pigs to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Democrats have proven astonishingly feckless and impotent when entrusted with our nation’s defense. They cringed when Reagan thundered against the “Evil Empire” and shuddered in horror as Bush lambasted the “Axis of Evil.” They are comfortable and eager to magnify our nation’s stains and stoke the flames of national anger for their own political purpose, but are ever-reluctant, in principle, to project their criticism outward to the real threat and the true enemy outside our borders.