SERIOUSNESS….Charles Krauthammer, I am told by conservatives, is a serious person. Unlike squishy liberals, he is a person who understands the dangers facing us today.

On Friday, Krauthammer unleashed a broadside against Hans Blix ? a man owed a thousand apologies by vituperative war supporters ? and then explained his view of the dangers facing us today:

Blix is not deranged. He is merely in denial, discounting the uniqueness of the WMD-terrorism issue by comparing it to global warming and hunger. Yes, hunger is an existential issue to the people suffering it. As are car accidents, heart disease and earthquakes. But they hardly threaten to destroy civilization. Hunger is a scourge that has always been with us and that has not been a threat to humanity’s existence for at least 1,000 years. Global warming might one day be, but not for decades, or even centuries, and with a gradualness that will leave years for countermeasures.

There is no gradualness and there are no countermeasures to a dozen nuclear warheads detonating simultaneously in U.S. cities. Think of what just two envelopes of anthrax did to paralyze the capital of the world’s greatest superpower. A serious, coordinated attack on the United States using weapons of mass destruction could so shatter America as a functioning, advanced society that it would take generations to rebuild.

….It is a new world and exceedingly dangerous. Everything is at stake.

I am perfectly capable of dismay when liberals occasionally seem to take the danger of WMD-based terrorism too lightly. It’s not a joke and it’s not science fiction. It’s a deadly serious problem.

But this is Strangelovian lunacy. To Krauthammer, terrorism (unlike car accidents) “threatens to destroy civilization.” It is (unlike hunger) a “threat to humanity’s existence.” A serious attack could destroy the country so badly that “it would take generations to rebuild.”

Is this what it takes to be considered serious by conservatives? To be so divorced from reality as to think that Osama bin Laden is a threat to humanity’s existence?

People as frightened as Krauthammer are liable to make serious mistakes with serious consequences ? but of course Krauthammer is just a columnist for the Washington Post and is therefore limited in the damage he can do. What I really want to know is whether there are people in the White House who agree with him. And do they have their fingers on any dangerous buttons?

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