Seven years of safety at home bred the assurance of perpetual safety from another 9/11-like attack. The 4,000 killed in Iraq created "my perfect three-week war was ruined by your five year screw-up." Two presidential elections meant every item of the war on terror became politicized. All that and more have led to a new narrative: There was never any real threat. Bush whipped up fear. Democrats were misled. Liberal hawks were duped. We, not a Khalid Sheik Mohammed, were the real problem. Guantanamo was a Stalag. And so on.
But the problem with constantly metamorphosizing to keep ahead of the hourly curve is that one never quite catches up. Barack Obama variously has trashed the Patriot Act, wiretaps, email intercepts, renditions and military tribunals. He promised all troops gone from Iraq by March 2008. And he said our Predators were blowing up innocents in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And then candidate Obama became President Obama and essentially flipped on every anti-terrorism issue, and simply kept the Bush protocols, albeit with new euphemisms ("overseas contingency operation", "man-made catastrophes", etc); his supporters almost magically ceased the "shredding the Constitution" slurs used against Bush. And here we are.
All We Need Now is Joe McCarthy
Nancy Pelosi, after calling for an inquisition, now would find herself right in the middle of it. If a lawyer is to be tried, ruined, or disbarred for offering a legal opinion, then what about a Congressional representative whose oversight allows waterboarding to continue? Will Pelosi want more memos released, à la Cheney, to show that the practice that she authorized by her complicity in the oversight briefings paid dividends by preventing new attacks?
The fact is, that once war is redefined as a criminal justice matter, everyone in government comes under this French Revolution-like reign of revisionism-did Eric Holder once authorize Clinton-era renditions? Does blowing apart suspected terrorists by Predator attacks in Pakistan without habeas corpus constitute executions?
And, of course, if we are hit again by another 9/11 attack, will all the above cease in a nanno-second, replaced by new recriminations of laxity? And would people look back in appreciation that Bush & co kept us safe for years.
If I were the Democratic leadership, I'd move on, so to speak.
Everyone I think knows what is ahead. These mega-stimuli soon will have the effect of kick-starting the economy again-as well as the natural ying and yang of the boom-and-bust cycles that we've grown accustomed to, as well as reduced energy costs and global discounting of prices.
And then as the economy starts to inflate, we expect that there will not be prudence and cutting, but even more borrowing and spending to fund everything from cap-and-trade to national socialized health-care. When these mega-trillion dollars are added to the national debt, and as the government absorbs ever more of the private sector, we will sputter again, as inflation roars back, and as taxes punish the entrepreneurial classes. So this time the natural recovery won't quite come as before and resume the normal American era of growth.
Instead we will be told we are lucky to be a France or the Netherlands. The poorer become wards of an aristocratic technocracy that runs things that sort of work, the entrepreneurial class is content to be of a fossilized middle status, scheming how to avoid government regulations, moonlighting, bartering, and shunning hiring permanent workers, as mass transit, universities, airports, and health care become all subject to periodic strikes. I think we will soon adopt the European mentality-hoping our children will find a good government, life-time guaranteed job rather than become a farmer, contractor, family-practice doctor, etc—and with it the mentality of the spread-it-around group, not too much of that nor too little of this, happy that we are all becoming alike and nurtured by brilliant overseers who tell us to wash our hands, inflate our tires, and pay our patriotic fair share.
Big Brother comes not with jack boots and May Day parades, but with a kindly therapeutic smile--inviting all of us to accept hope and change and forget what we were.