From a reader in response to my enemy combatants column :
Yes, you are trying to paint the Democrats as “soft on terrorism” just like the far right tried to paint the Democrats as “soft on communism” back in the 50s. But its not going to work. Terrorism, insofar as it effects democracies is a law enforcement problem. Most Americans realise this. And most major terrorists acts have been prevented or solved through ordinary police work, and criminal prosecution, not by military action. Military action (at least in Iraq) has simply led to an increases in the the total number of terrorists.
Me: I like this because it assumes that the charge can’t be sincere. The fact is, if this reader believes what he says, than he is, by my lights, soft on terrorism. I’m not trying to smear anyone falsely, but label them accurately. Similarly, I think the “far right” was telling the truth when it labeled many liberals “soft on Communism,” though less in the 1950s than in the 1960s and 1970s. Some accusations aren’t tactical, they’re observations.