Bush's false construct

We can assume that courtesy, not support for the policy, explains why Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse applauded President Bush not long after he talked last night about the importance of bringing the fight to the enemy. And we can only ponder how we might be better off without this mess.

Still, the lack of a domestic attack since 9/11 offers some fuzzy support for those inclined to conflate the war in Iraq with taking on the threat of terrorism. It seems closer to the mark to think, as the National Intelligence Estimate concluded a few months ago, that the war has complicated and worsened the thread posed by jihadist terrorists.

We're at the point where even people like Newt Gingrich are calling for a response that ramps up intelligence and State Department efforts, rather than focusing almost exclusively on the military, as Bush has done. George Packer had a provocative look at this in the New Yorker. One major test of the new Democratic Congress will be whether it can develop a more effective response to terrorism.


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