"America must confront threats before they materialize." George W. Bush, Cincinatti Post, 05/05/2004.Isn't that a little bit like saying we must shovel the yard before it snows? Or, if you prefer, we must put out the fire before it starts. Another nice one would be to say that we must kill the murderer before he attacks his first victim. (That sounds an awful lot like Minority Report!)
Sure, there are some naysayers out there who could find examples where this form of logic might actually fly. I suppose that you could take birth control to prevent impregnation before you have sex. (We all know where Bush stands on that one! Abstinence only, ladies and gentlemen!) Also, one might argue that you should drink water before you're thirsty. Even so, we're getting away from the brainteaser itself.
How can you confront a threat that hasn't materialized yet? If it hasn't materialized yet, it is obviously not a threat. To confront a threat that is immaterial seems impossible and downright silly to me. Plus, Saddam Hussein was much more of a threat back in the 80's when America was busy selling him all those Weapons of Mass Destruction (yes, they existed, up until the First Gulf War under Bush Sr., when some pretty intelligent bombs turned them into confetti). So, basically, what Bush is advocating is going back in time to when Ronald Reagan was selling all those dangerous arms to Hussein in the 80's and to stop Reagan from making such a shoddy decision.
Mr. Bush, while you're back in time, could you do us a favour and tell the CIA and MI5 not to train Osama Bin Laden and his Afghani Mujaheddin Resistance Fighters? Sure, they were indispensable in booting the Ruskies out of Afghanistan, but they've been a real pain in the WTC since then. (The CIA denies that they participated in Bin Laden's training. Then again, they wouldn't admit to ordering a pizza. They're just very secretive, I guess! Still, this fact has been documented in various places.)