- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kudos to Sen. John Rockefeller for having the courage to finally articulate the Democrats’ position on terrorism. On Thursday, after President Bush had finished describing a terror plot the government had foiled, Mr. Rockefeller remarked: “Maybe [the administration is] tired of talking about [the] Brooklyn Bridge and they’re trying to find a different edifice of some sort.” The Brooklyn Bridge, readers might remember, was also marked for destruction at the hands of terrorists, before federal authorities learned about the plot in 2003.

The “different edifice” in this case is Los Angeles’ U.S. Bank Tower, also known as Library Tower, a 73-story building standing more than 1,000 feet tall and office to thousands of workers. As the president outlined, September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed originally intended that fateful day to include 10 hijacked planes targeting landmarks across the country, including U.S. Bank Tower. When Osama bin Laden downgraded the plan to only targets on the East Coast, Mohammed shelved the destruction of U.S. Bank Tower for another day. With Ground Zero and the Pentagon still smoldering, Mohammed set to work on recruiting Southeast Asians who would carry out the plan. The leader of the cell was eventually captured, while the others were detained. Mohammed himself, by the way, was caught in 2003.

Mr. Bush concluded: “As the West Coast plot shows, in the war on terror, we face a relentless and determined enemy that operates in many nations, so protecting our citizens requires unprecedented cooperation from many nations.” The obvious undertone is that this war also requires new tactics, like the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.

So, what is the Democrats’ position, so artfully explained by Mr. Rockefeller? Simply this: That the American people should never be reminded that we are a nation at risk; that we should forget that there are terrorists abroad and next door who will gladly give their lives to take ours; that laws designed for a bygone era are sufficient to thwarting their evil intentions; and that “playing the fear card,” as Sen. Hillary Clinton called it Wednesday, is merely a ploy to adversely affect Democrats’ political fortunes.

We got it, Mr. Rockefeller: Nothing to worry about.

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