Of the legal minds at Findlaw, I’ve always kind of liked that of Edward Lazarus. I never thought of him as the sharpest tool in the shed, but I never saw him as a complete tool either. Until now, that is. In his recent column The Liberty-Security Tradeoff: Virtually Everyone Accepts That Liberty Blah Blah Who Cares Long Title, Edward argues that the reason nobody accepts Dem claims of being strong on security is because nobody believes them to be strong on security. And while that argument might seem circular on its face, its circularity is apparent on its face.
His evidence? Because people like the television show “24” and its terrorist-torturing hero. As Ed says: “Even in circumstances like this, "24" presents, and America seemingly accepts, the torturers as heroes, even when the victim is no terrorist.” And ok, sure. Popular entertainment can’t be topped when it comes to evidence of whether people are willing to give up their freedom for security. That’s why folks elected Arnold. But…would America be willing to give up “24” for freedom? I doubt it.
But Ed doesn’t rest his argument there. For you see, Dems are “uncomfortable projecting American power.” German power, we’re more than comfortable asserting; but that American power is so blasted uncomfortable. He explains:
That attitude led to an unconscionable failure to intervene in the Rwandan genocide. And it led to weak responses to terrorist strikes in the Clinton years: How much our history might have changed if, rather than lobbing a few missiles at bin Laden's camps and then ignoring the issue, the President had cleaned the camps out, and captured and tried bin Laden and his lieutenants! In that event, military force would have led to not only greater security, but also greater liberty: The compromises our free society has made, might not have come about.
Whoa, there. Slow down, Sparky. Let’s take that point-by-point:
an unconscionable failure to intervene in the Rwandan genocide
Right, Rwanda is exactly what’s on every voter’s mind when they’re pulling those levers for Head of Security. Hell, I’d bet that there are more Americans who have seen Hotel Rwanda than who actually know about Rwanda as a real-life issue. And while Rwanda was a horrible failure, exactly why would Americans consider this to be a failure in security? Has Bush made himself a reputation as Mr. Toughguy Security because he sends troops into African wars? I think not.
What else did he say?
And it led to weak responses to terrorist strikes in the Clinton years
Because we’re supposed to pretend that terrorist attackers weren’t caught during Clinton’s presidency. And he’d have a point, were that point not wrong.
How much our history might have changed if, rather than lobbing a few missiles at bin Laden's camps and then ignoring the issue, the President had cleaned the camps out, and captured and tried bin Laden and his lieutenants!
Yes, if only Clinton had been a strong leader, like Bush, and captured Bin Laden. That really is a great example of how weak Clinton was: He couldn’t even capture Bin Laden. Sure, he was in no position to invade Afghanistan, which is what would have been required at the time. And sure, even if he had invaded, Bin Laden could have escaped into the mountains, and possibly remained in Pakistan indefinitely (unless he wanted to invade them too). But none of that would have happened, had we a strong, bold leader, like President Bush. Hell no. Bush would have kicked ass and taken names. But alas, we’re still stuck with Bin Laden…all thanks to that fucking weak-ass Clinton. No wonder nobody takes us seriously on security.
And that’s it. That’s Edward’s argument for why we’re seen as being weak on security: Jack Bauer’s popularity, Rwanda, and for failing to capture Osama Bin Laden. Oh, and let’s forget all about that Kosovo thing, as some people might misconstrue that to suggest that we might somehow be comfortable with asserting American power.
Oh, and one point that Edward fails to cite as a reason why Americans might think Dems are soft on security: Because dopes like Edward Lazarus continue to read from Karl Rove’s script regarding matters of Democrat failings; along with all the other stereotypes regarding Dem extremism, flip-floppery, and inability to get out a coherent message.
Just so you know, Edward continued on and changed the subject to many other Rove-fed lines; and I addressed them point-by-point. But it really wasn’t interesting and I got too tired to edit it properly. So in a fit of pique, I erased it all. It was funny, but covered too much turf and wasn’t funny enough. All I can say is that Ed really needs to stay in the lawyer business and to stay the hell out of politics.