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Jewish World Review
April 18, 2006
/ 20 Nissan, 5766
Hey, Dems: If you want to win, stop the Bush-bashing and stand for something
The November elections will soon be upon us. Democrats believe they can win a majority in both Houses of
Congress, and I agree. But victory will not be won by Bush-bashing. It will be won if we rally the country to support the core
issues of the Democratic party.
On the international front, the overriding issue facing our country is whether Americans have the will to denounce, resist
and vanquish the fanatic Islamists who hate democratic values, who engage in terrorism, and who want to kill us and say so.
Take them at their brazen word. When Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf," we failed to take him at his word and lived to regret it.
Sixty million people ultimately paid with their lives.
The best known Islamic fanatic in the entire world is Osama bin Laden, praised and followed by millions of Muslims.
His chief deputy in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has said, "Killing the infidels is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion,
until they convert to Islam or pay us tribute." Who are these infidels? First the crusaders (Christians), Jews and Hindus, but
ultimately the entire non-Muslim world.
A majority of Muslims and their leaders oppose these fanatics. But out of a worldwide Muslim population of 1.4
billion in 52 countries, the fanatics and their sympathizers number in the hundreds of millions. Further, their opponents, e.g., the
leaders of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf states that seek to resist bin-Laden and his extreme ideology are
themselves in great danger of being overthrown by fanatics in their own countries. Those fanatics call moderate Muslim leaders
and their supporters infidels and seek to assassinate them. President Musharraf of Pakistan has been the subject of at least
three such attempts.
What would happen to Pakistan and its nuclear stockpile if the next attempt were to be successful? It is surely not
unreasonable to fear that Dr. Abdul Qadeer Kahn, who developed the Pakistani nuclear bomb and who, according to The
New York Times, provided Iran with "advanced technology" in "black market offerings," would resume control of Pakistan's
nuclear program and distribute the bomb and the technology to use it to terrorist countries like Iran and terrorist organizations
One such terrorist is Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin-Laden's second in command, who in his letter of July 9, 2005 to
al-Zarqawi, stated among other goals that of "the establishment of a caliphate…" What would happen to our troops in Iraq
and Afghanistan were the terrorists to have available to them the nuclear bomb? What would happen to the U.S. and to Israel
if Iran which supports and finances terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, the West Bank and elsewhere, secures a usable nuclear
bomb immediately on the black market?
Iran's megalomaniacal President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has publicly threatened the destruction of both the U.S. and
Israel. Is there any doubt that if he had a nuclear bomb, he would seek to use it directly or deliver it through terrorists? His
missiles are now capable of reaching Hawaii and Alaska. How long will it be before they are capable of reaching Los Angeles
and Chicago? Do we wait until we are attacked and millions of Americans are killed or do we do now whatever is required to
prevent the Iranians from gaining access to such a weapon? Of course, if Iran struck first, we would annihilate that country,
but how would that help a grieving America?
Every course of action diplomatic and economic should be used to prevent the bomb from being acquired by the
Iranians, but if that approach fails, what then? I support the wisdom of Senator John McCain who summed up his position
which I believe should also be that of the U.S. when he said, "There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising
the military option, that is, a nuclear-armed Iran."
Will the Democratic Party convince American voters that it has the resolve to protect us from the terrorism of Islamic
fanatics? If it does not, it won't win the next election, notwithstanding the failures and the botching of our occupation of Iraq
by the Bush administration.
On the domestic front, the overriding issue is universal comprehensive medical insurance. 45 million Americans are
without health coverage, millions of whom are working at minimum and low-end wages. The Republicans have told the
country they will not support a comprehensive national coverage program. Our Democratic leaders have paid obeisance to the
principle of a national medical insurance program, but have not agreed upon one and have not taken measures to come to a
consensus on what the party will actually support. All we hear is talk and more talk, but no legislation.
The Democrats should be prepared to state well in advance of the pending election what such a program would offer.
Anyone with knowledge of costs and medical demands knows there must be limits on what can be offered with the resources
available. Limits could involve rationing, personal responsibility for illnesses caused by a refusal to stop smoking or to deal
with obesity or to use safer sex practices (condoms). The party leaders must be willing to defend a defined program against
the onslaught of those who will oppose any limitations.
The core issues of the Democratic Party, going back to FDR and expanded with the passage of time, include Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid, environmental protection, education, race relations, abortion, gay rights, equal employment
opportunities, fair taxation and others. The party should now clarify its positions and its platform should be intelligent and
reasonable. Since 1973, I have defined my philosophy as that of a liberal with sanity. I believe a majority of Democrats see
themselves that way.
If the leaders of the Democratic Party convey to the country that is how they view themselves and are prepared to
govern that way, we will win in November. If all we convey is opposition to President Bush, we will lose.
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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, Ed Koch