Friday, January 21

"MISSION INEBRIATION" OR MORE A MINDFULNESS OF "WHAT ANIMATES THE TERRORISTS"

I took issue with Peggy Noonan's "WSJ" column of today on the Inauguration and President Bush's Second Inaugural Address in a previous post. I hope you took the time to read it or will before leaving my site.

And, yes, I'm still steaming. My blood is up over what she chose to see, what she chose to hear, and what she chose to niggle over. After all, her column opens with an account of an alarm system going off in her Washington D.C. hotel, replete with some name-dropping about people clad in pajamas responding to the alarm; and then she moved from there to her approval of the pomp, panoply, parades, flags, and cannonades of the Inaugural festivities, even applauding the music selections. Finally, however, after this superficial prelude to her main purpose, she hunkered down into taking issue with what she termed a speech that suggested and a president who conveyed mission inebriation.

By contrast (and Deacon at Powerline turned me in the direction of this hard-hitting, well-thought, "read of the day" column), Diana West's editorial at the "Washington Times" shows that somebody saw the day for what it was and the president's address as unassailably germane.

Diana West writes:

I'm not afraid; I'm mad; livid that our alabaster capital bristles with armaments so we might solemnize the outcome of our peaceful election. So the president might give an inaugural address and make his way safely from the Capitol steps to the viewing stand in front of the White House. So we might begin Bush II without a deadly explosive bloody hitch.

She continues:

There's no war on "terror" any more than there's a war on car bombs. Neither term describes what animates the terrorists -- drivers of car bombs, wearers of explosive vests, or wielders of butcher-blades. It is Islam and the murderous, expansionist ideology of jihad that drives that extreme fringe you read about to the point of unspeakable violence. And by the way, that's some fringe: ... it includes 10 percent of the Muslim world -- 100 million plus people.

She goes on to caution us about remaining confused about the ideology that animates our foes.

Unlike West, Noonan concerned herself more with what she implied is Bush's overweening belief in God, Our Creator, and his preoccupation with the undoable; West, by contrast, concerned herself with the object of the president's speech -- the Islamic fanatics who want death for Americans, who distort a theology to suit their own dastardly purposes, who have attacked the United States on its own soil and overseas, who reject democratic forms of government, who worship at the altar of brutal dictators, and who see the slaughter of innocents, even gruesome beheadings, as necessary to pleasing Allah and gaining an afterlife.

Noonan has never before struck me as so fatuously naive. She should meet West for lunch and learn something.