Michael Leeden at The Corner, one of the National Review Online blogs:
You can be quite sure that the terror masters saw the election as a great victory, and Rumsfeld’s ritual sacrifice as a moment of glory. It will encourage them to redouble their efforts, both in Iraq/Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They believe they have Bush’s number, that they have broken him, and all they must do now is keep the blood flowing to accelerate our retreat.
This rhetoric from the terrorist perspective really annoys me. Why should we care about the terrorists’ opinion of us? Why do we let them get under our skin in this way?
The US mid-term elections were apparently free and fair. Division of power. Checks and balances on the executive. A 219 year-old constitution working exactly as it should. Democracy, working.
The terrorists might think that that they are winning. But by demonstrating a robust democratic system, we know that actually, it is we (or rather, our American friends) who have the upper hand. Doing something that is right, despite what opinion others may have of us, is the true sign of integrity and strength.
The obverse is also true. Doing something that is wrong, merely to save face, is a sign of weakness. This is why George W Bush is essentially a poor leader, lacking integrity, as we saw this week with volte-face regarding Donald Rumsfeld. An infringement of our civil liberties, or human rights, in the name of the War on Terror may well worry a few of those who are planning to do us harm. As we torture and detain, the terrorists may indeed think “Ooh dear, they have struck a blow against us.” But once again, those terrorists would be wrong. Just because these fanatics do not percieve the value of civil liberties, that does not mean such concepts have no place in our own thinking.