Of Hobbits, War & Bush

Last January George W. Bush assumed the presidency under the cloud of a disputed election thanks to the transparently partisan actions of the U.S. Supreme Court. At that time, we were a divided and contentious nation. On September 11 the United States was attacked by Islamic terrorists, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties. In January 2002, President Bush leads a nation united by war and enjoys historically unprecedented public-approval ratings. His most dedicated political opponents concede that U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, and the orchestration of the international political alliances necessary to fight the "war against terrorism," have met with remarkable success. Even those who still harbor doubts about Bush’s competence and political views should be grateful that he has risen to this daunting challenge. Still, the way in which Bush speaks of fighting "evil" and destroying "evildoers" gives many people pause. The administration’s flirtation with military tribunals, press censorship, and the prolonged detention of illegal immigrants compounds such worries.

Success brings with it almost as many dangers as failure. As Osama bin Laden’s forces are routed in Afghanistan, the intensity of the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians and between Pakistan and India has only intensified. Both situations could easily spiral out of control, threatening wider war and even the use of nuclear weapons....

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