Mr. Bush made at least two comments Thursday night he can and should be made to regret. One has been commented on: his seeming objection to doing homeland security right on the grounds that it would cost money.
The other hasn’t been noticed, or if it has I haven’t noticed the noticing. Responding to Kerry’s complaint that Bush diverted to Iraq forces that should have been hunting down al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, thus blowing the chance to capture bin Laden. Bush responded that bin Laden is “isolated” and that “seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice.”
Question for the President: Does that mean that you think that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat to the U.S.?
I’m told that, according to U.S. intelligence estimates, al-Qaeda has three times as many members now as it did on 9-11, and that the leadership killed or captured has been replaced. If that’s right, Bush’s answer seems to reflect a dangerous complacency.