IN THE NEWS
One area for which the Bush Administration needs to take greater responsibility is the political invective, often crossing the line into threats, that plague our national dialogue about counterterrorism. Recently, a newspaper in Crawford, Texas endorsed John Kerry for president, resulting in an avalanche of nasty letters like this one:
In the Old West days they hung people for being traitors. Quite frankly, I feel that way about the liberal press, both in the newspapers and on TV. It sounds like you’ve gotten on the “Flip/Flop” bandwagon and I sincerely hope that ALL Texans will ban your newspaper.
The Framers of the Constitution believed that democratic debate was not only possible during war, but necessary. It's the job of political leaders, therefore, to remind people like the author of this letter--or Ann Coulter, for that matter--of the American political tradition.
I'd say the same about Kerry, except I haven't run across anyone encouraging the Democrats to use the tactics of Josef Stalin or Pol Pot on their opponents. We're long overdue for the Republican leadership to rebuke someone advocating the return of Old West-style lynch mobs.
[To wage war effectively, the United States needs to cleave to its own democracy and rule of law. That's why I'm bring up this topic on a blog devoted to security affairs.]