- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2002

Something about fighting a war on terror seems to bring out the most foolish tendencies among the Democrats, particularly when it comes to their latest sniping at the Bush administration. On CNN's "Late Edition," California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was asked about President Bush's recent West Point speech, in which he rightly noted that the war on terror "will not be on on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge."

Unfortunately, Mrs. Feinstein delivered a response that could only have warmed the heart of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Mrs. Feinstein declared that she was concerned that Mr. Bush might be planning to stage a "unilateral" attack against Iraq. The California Democrat warned that Mr. Bush would be making a "mistake" by doing this without first settling the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and that making such a move could "turn the whole Muslim Middle East world against the United States." Since there is no serious possibility of resolving this conflict in the foreseeable future, the Feinstein formula is a blueprint for giving Saddam free rein to continue amassing weapons to terrorize his neighbors.

Mrs. Feinstein isn't the only Democrat to be spouting nonsense when it comes to the war and related security issues. Last week, Sen. Edward Kennedy attacked the administration for announcing new immigration rules that will require persons from countries believed to pose a heightened security risk to the United States to register with federal authorities and be fingerprinted and photographed. Under existing rules, only foreigners from Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan four countries officially designated by the U.S. government as supporting terrorists are subject to this heightened scrutiny. When finalized, the new regulations will likely expand this scrutiny to other terrorist-sponsoring states like Syria and countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, home to nearly all of the 19 Arab men who hijacked planes on September 11.

Given the fact that these terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans that horrible morning, clear-thinking people understand that added scrutiny might be in order right now for individuals from these countries. But Mr. Kennedy claimed this would "stigmatize" Arab and Muslim visitors.

Perhaps the silliest comments, however, are the ones made by people like former "Crossfire" host Bill Press and Sens. Chris Dodd and Tom Daschle following the arrest of Brooklyn native Abdullah al Mujahir for plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in this country. Mr. Daschle, whose foot is never far from his mouth, demanded to know why the May 8 arrest wasn't disclosed earlier. Mr. Dodd suggested that the administration's announcement of al Mujahir's arrest was probably "hype." Mr. Press asserted that the announcement was timed to deflect attention from recent revelations about the FBI.

Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, a frequent administration critic, points out that such charges are balderdash. Al Mujahir, he noted, was "in custody for a month, and I'm sure they were evaluating the evidence against him before they made their final decision. It's not unreasonable." Unfortunately, too many of Mr. Durbin's Democratic colleagues are being unreasonable in their criticisms of the administration.

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