During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Republicans argued that Candidate Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats would be â€œsoft on terror” and leave the US open to another devastating attack. This past week, those worries were proven to be unfounded.
In what President Obama termed a â€œcredible terrorist threat,â€ explosive material was found on two US-bound packages from Yemen. The Presidentâ€™s assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism, John Brennan, said the two packages were â€œdesigned to try to carry out some type of attack.â€ The packages were addressed to two unspecified synagogues in the Chicago area. Fortunately, they never made it to the US – one was stopped in Britain, the other in Dubai. Because of the quick action of counter-terrorism officials in the US and abroad, disaster was averted and no lives were lost.
The packages seized in Britain and Dubai contained PETN, the same chemical explosive contained in the bomb sewn into the underwear of the Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit last Christmas â€“ a plot that also originated in Yemen. Authorities remained on alert over the weekend, and the search for additional explosives is continuing. While investigators in the US and abroad continue to investigate the origins of those packages, it has become apparent that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is among the prime suspects.
The developments of the past few days make two things apparent. First, the US is still at war with Al Qaeda, and the terrorist organization is as determined as ever to bring death and destruction to this country. This is not the time to let down our guard.
Second, the discovery of the plot, and the rapid response of the US counter-terrorism apparatus in thwarting it proves that our Democratic president and his allies in Congress are more than up to the task of keeping America safe. President Obama and his national security team deserve our praise.
Even representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee and an enthusiastic critic of President Obama and Congressional Democrats, was forced to admit that the White House had done well.
â€œSo far everything has worked the right way,â€ he told The New York Times.
Everything has, thankfully, worked out the right way. When Americans go to the polls on Tuesday, they should remember the events of the past week. And they should remember that security knows no party; that bombs kill Democrats and Republicans alike. If anyone – or any political party – wants to make political hay out of terrorism then, well, they don’t deserve to lead. More than the President’s children, security is off-limits when it comes to party politics.
There are many reasons why a voter might choose to favor one party or the other when he or she goes to the polls tomorrow, but fear of terrorism need not be one of them. Like the Republicans in office before them, President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress appreciate the severity of the Al Qaeda threat. And like their Republican predecessors, the current leadership has shown that they up to the challenge.