At a press briefing moments ago, Tony Snow claimed that last night’s Connecticut Senate primary gave voters the chance to answer the question, “Do you take the war on terror seriously?” Snow said that Connecticut voters who backed Ned Lamont (and the 57 percent of Americans who support his position on Iraq) were choosing to “ignore the difficulties and walk away.” That is the same approach, he said, that led Osama bin Laden to the conclusion “that Americans were weak and wouldn’t stay the course and that led to September 11th.” Watch it:
Take a look at the blogs today, they’re pretty hot. And the real question for the American people to ask themselves is, do you take the war on terror seriously? With all the developments around the world — and, if so, how do you fight it to win? There seems to be two approaches, and in the Connecticut race, one of the approaches is ignore the difficulties and walk away. Now, when the United States walked away, in the opinion of the Osama bin Laden in 1991, bin Laden drew from that the conclusion that Americans were weak and wouldn’t stay the course and that led to September 11th.
It is important to realize that terrorists are not simply inspired by American engagement in the world, but they have their own agenda and it is an agenda that if we turn around and look the other way, they’re not going to ignore. They will continue to build strength and they will continue to build adherence and it is a vitally important debate to have.
And it’s really up to Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party to figure out how they want to stand in the war on terror. Do they want to have the sort of time-table approach, leave by a date certain? Do they not want to have something constructive to say about gathering threats from Iran and elsewhere? Or do they want to acknowledge the fact that in a dangerous world it takes commitment, it takes persistence? Throughout American history, generation through generation has been faced with difficulties, and each generation has risen to the challenge and we’re confident this generation will do the same.