Until now, most Americans, including even President Bush's political opposition, have accepted his basic vision of a reordered post-9/11 world -- a world fundamentally changed in almost every aspect.
The critics have nibbled at the edges of the vision, for example by questioning the extent of the tilt toward government power and away from personal liberty. They have tried to use the vision to further preexisting goals, for example by proposing AIDS treatment for Africans or schooling for Third World children as the best means to "drain the swamp" of terrorism. And they have launched oblique attacks by targeting, often in stinging and personal terms, those perceived as its chief theorists, such as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
Alarmism is hitting new levels in American discourse. That, and a massive amount of denial and cognitive dissonance from the newspaper editors who foolishly believed everything the Bush Administration was feeding them. Noone is saying there were not reasonable and realistic reasons to fear WMD falling into the hands of terrorists, but an honest and critical review of the steps we have taken so far will show that we are currently only fighting phantoms. A rogue band of terrorists took advantage of poor airline security and managed to crash a few planes into prominent buildings. This has nothing to do with WMD. It should not fundamentally change our society. After that attack, a very suspicious anthrax attack followed, and even our own law enforcement suspects that it was carried out by domestic perpetrator(s). This involved WMD, but oddly enough is not the triggering event that everyone likes to talk about.
I will have more on this later, dissecting and skewering the entire piece by Hiatt. Something about his tone, and the dark kernel of his conclusions, greatly disturb me, as a freedom and democracy loving American. That his spiel is wholly unsupported by any evidence only makes it worse. I am preparing a thorough response, which will be up in a few hours. We are not surrendering our liberty because of a terrorist action. We just aren't. Forget about it Mr. Hiatt, or get off the editorial page. Mr. Hiatt should be held to account for this indignity, and made to explain and support with evidence his assertions, and not without challenge from his "oblique" critics. He is supporting the enemy, and the terrorist, by advocating such measures without due cause or supporting information. It's a shame, and beyond that it's a threat. We must put it down, and lift this nation from fear and loathing back into an appreciation of who we are and what we are about. The land of freedom. The home of the brave. That all men and women are created equal.