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It’s time for Democrats to think ahead about the terrorism issue.

Today we’re riding a wave of public support for getting out of Iraq. That tide makes 2008 look like a good year.

But a lot can happen. George Bush could announce in September that we’ll be out of Iraq next year. Or America could suffer another terrorist attack.

One thing is for certain: Republicans will say Democrats aren’t tough enough to protect the country.

So our message needs expanding. It’s not just Get Out of Iraq. It’s Get Osama. Get Al Qaeda. Get around to getting the people who attacked us on 9/11.

One of the smartest – and most unconventional – thinkers in the Democratic Party is former Senator Bob Kerrey. After 9/11, he said it made no sense to declare war on “terrorism.” After Pearl Harbor, he said, we didn’t declare war on dive bombers. We declared war on the people who made war on us.

That’s what George Bush did not do. He used 9/11 as an excuse to attack a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. He did it either to get back at Saddam for being mean to his daddy or to show he was tougher than his daddy. Either way, the matador went for the wrong bull.

So we never caught Osama. Bush now acts like that’s of no consequence.

If Democrats want to reassure Americans they’re tough enough, this is the place to start.

And this is why a candidate like Grier Martin, who served a hitch in Afghanistan, could be a force in the U.S. Senate race.

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