History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake," the novelist James Joyce once wrote. From the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union up until the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, we were on a holiday from history. We were happy to pay little attention to the Islamofascist terrorist threat that should have been apparent from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. We left that to government officials, who took it seriously and did some things to address it -- but in hindsight not enough. Since then, we took the offensive and have had some successes in stopping terrorists. But we seem to be growing tired of the fight.
Now it appears that voters are willing to turn over Congress to a party most of whose representatives voted against allowing the National Security Agency to surveil without a court order al-Qaida suspects when they place calls to persons in the United States and against allowing terrorist interrogations under rules supported by John McCain.
We are weary, it seems, and ready to go back on holiday. Some things -- a nuclear attack on the United States, the successful release of a disease pathogen that could kill millions -- are just too horrifying to think about. But maybe we should think more about them. As Leon Trotsky is supposed to have said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
(To read the entire column click on the title above for a link)