Monday, September 18, 2006

Why we can't win the "war on terror"

Why we can't win the "war on terror":

Salon has an interesting synopsis of a new book by one of the few "experts" on terrorism who existed before 9/11. Now, I'll start out by saying that just about anybody will find something in this article to disagree with. BUT, if read calmly, with an open mind, I believe you will find that there are some lessons to be learned here. Richardson has obviously done a lot of research and thinking on this hot-button issue, and to ignore all of her points out-of-hand, would most certainly be throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Indeed, Richardson points out that the Bush administration's absolute, holier-than-thou reaction to 9/11 bore a disturbing similarity to bin Laden's. 'By using the extreme language of conviction that bin Laden uses, by declaring war, even a crusade, against him in response to his war against us, we are mirroring his actions. We are playing into his hands, we are elevating his stature, we are permitting him to set the terms of our interactions. Given that he has a very weak hand and we have a very strong one, we should not be letting him set the parameters of the game.'
For its part, the Bush administration has been highly effective at setting the parameters of the game -- and intimidating the cowering Democrats -- by claiming that it is 'tough' on terrorism while the Democrats are 'weak.' Richardson cuts through this posturing by arguing that the only point that matters is who is effective.
It is an obvious point, but to convince voters of it, Democrats will have to overcome decades of GOP rhetoric that paints them as the 97-pound weakling. But with the tough-guy approach discredited, and the prospect of an endless and unwinnable war looming, Americans may finally be ready to wise up.

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