Phil: Benghazi terrorist arrested a year and half after we knew where he was, and Iraq is under siege with Iran to the rescue. Is your man Obama in control?

Ethan: Control? You neocons drive me crazy. You hate government solving domestic problems, but in other countries you can’t get enough.

Phil: Not sure I’d label myself a neocon in terms of overseas nation-building, but I am interested in protecting and securing our national interests. And the way things are moving, we had better move quickly.

Ethan: We are all interested in keeping America safe. But in terms of moving quickly to resolve the mess overseas today, you know as well as anyone that cleaning up what your man Bush left will take time.

Phil: We can’t move forward safely if America is driving foreign policy through the rearview mirror.

Ethan: We also can’t move forward safely if we don’t understand the mistakes that got us here. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, as they say.

Phil: You mean the mistake of Obama pulling out troops while the peace was still so fragile?

Ethan: I mean the fact that troops were even there in the first place.

Phil: At the time, Democrats and Republicans alike believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and troops were needed to topple a government that was ready to use them against us.

Ethan: Not everyone. I sponsored a bill that called on the administration to slow the march to war. Every Democrat in the Maine Senate supported the bill.

Phil: All well and good, but now we have to deal with what happened.

Ethan: For sure. As Obama said in his first inaugural address, we are trying to unclench the fists of the Middle East so peace can prevail. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are using diplomacy. This is the right approach.

Phil: America sure hopes you are right.

Ethan: But now let’s talk Benghazi. Did you happen to notice the reports that surfaced saying the ringleader whom we just captured, Ahmed Abu Khattala, claimed that the attacks were in response to … wait for it … the anti-Islamic video? Exactly what your people excoriated Susan Rice for and refused to approve her for secretary of state! Your apology will be accepted …

Phil: I’ll wait for the trial and evidence before issuing any such knee-jerk reaction, unlike the administration.

Ethan: Speaking of trial and evidence, how refreshing is it that our president is actually following criminal procedures in arresting a criminal?

Phil: Those same criminal procedures that left a terrorist on the street for 21 months while we gathered evidence? There’s no telling how much more damage this individual did while we fiddled and diddled.

Ethan: Your side always loves the Constitution, except when you don’t.

Phil: Constitution? This man is at war with us! Plus, he isn’t even an American citizen.

Ethan: Citizenship does not matter in regard to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (nor the First, Fourth, Sixth, etc). If you are a “person” being tried in an American court, our Constitution rules, regardless of citizenship.

Phil: That may be, but terrorists at war with the United States are not and should not be freed based on some technicality of Miranda.

Ethan: “Technicality of Miranda.” Sigh. A basic right to know your rights is now a “technicality.”

Phil: Ethan, he is a terrorist and we are at war. The minute we suspected his involvement, we should have picked him up. If it turns out he was just some blowhard, let him loose. Instead, he was having coffee with reporters from The New York Times and probably training others to follow in his fanatical footsteps.

Ethan: That’s pure conjecture. I suspect eyes were on him constantly as they gathered information against him and that might lead to others. But the difference between him and the 150-plus still at Gitmo is that he’ll actually be brought to justice. That is a far cry from the black ops torture methods that garnered us nothing and inflamed those in the middle against us. I am proud we are looking to end this conflict in a more responsible way.

Phil: Let’s hope you are right. Perhaps President Obama will address the nation and tell us how the Arab Spring – Syria, Iraq, Libya, Israel, Pakistan and Afghanistan – has sprung. Then he will richly deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he won.

Ethan: Do I sense the dove in you has finally emerged?

Phil: Let’s just say, looking through the rearview mirror reveals tribes, not country boundaries. The sooner the administration can achieve peace with these tribes, the sooner we can prove to the next generation that the past, at least, is secure.

Ethan: Anyone who expects Obama to achieve peace in the Middle East anytime soon, misunderstands the situation. As you often say to me, “Have patience, my boy.”

Phil: When the words of the younger are used against the elder, you know progress has been made.