What’s Truly De·plor·a·ble

The “most qualified” candidate for president is briefed on bombings in New York and New Jersey and the best she can muster is: “I think it’s always wiser to wait to until you have information for making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened,” and, “Well I think it’s important to know all of the facts about an incident like this…. That’s why it’s critical to support the first responders, the investigators who are looking into it, trying to figure out what did happen.”

Did some 243 million Americans really not know what happened, and also want to do everything they could—if they could—to support first responders and investigators?

She, of course, was not alone in trying to fool all the people all the time. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio came right out of the box with: “To understand there were any specific motivations, political motivations, any connection to an organization — that’s what we don’t know.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tried, “It depends on your definition of terrorism.”

But this morning? Turns out that little thing hundreds of millions of adult Americans expected turned out to be, well, the wisdom of the crowd.  This morning the New York Times leads with how “police are searching for a 28-year-old man, described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent, Ahmad Khan Rahami, in connection with the bombing in Manhattan on Saturday night, sending out a cellphone alert to millions of residents.” And we used to say the media was always the first to get major terrorist events wrong.  [Update: We got him].

Now, let us think about a candidate and party that wants to expand the importation of Syrian refugees at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. Of course this would be the same candidate who, as secretary of state, tried to sell the country on the notion that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was not like his dad but was, rather, “a reformer.”  This is the same candidate and secretary of state who was responsible for pushing the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, an act that even President Barack Obama would say was his “worst mistake” in office.

With the “most qualified” candidate for president, whose tenure as secretary of state includes the key decisions on and portfolios of Syria, Russia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and beyond, we may very well have one of those rare elections based on national security and foreign policy. Now add the continued and attempted blinkering of the American people by that candidate and her party on the issue of domestic terrorism—the chances of that kind of election escalate dramatically. This, as so much else, of course, remains to be seen and will reveal itself November 8.

The other open question, far more important, far more durable: Why do so many political leaders continually try to distract us from, whitewash, and minimize terrorism that is so clearly here and so clearly obvious every time it is launched?  This we may never know. But we do know this: terrorism is deplorable, to put it no lower—and there’s no excuse for denying it. In fact, it should be easier to recognize and denounce than our political opponents and their supporters.

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