31 August 2004
Taking the long view
"I don't think you can win [the War on Terror]," said George W. Bush. "But I think you can create conditions so that ... those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."
Which strikes me, frankly, as a fairly sane assessment of the situation. It is literally impossible to wipe every last terrorist off the face of the earth. And bad ideas have a way of surviving well beyond their sell-by date: despite the implosion of the Soviet Union and the shredding of the Iron Curtain, we still have Communists scattered hither and yon, clinging desperately to their discredited delusions. There are even converts to the cause: in some circles, pink is the new red.
Radical Islam, which is at least as bad an idea as Communism, and in some regards worse, isn't going away any time soon. Your friendly neighborhood multilateralist thinks it can be bottled up, buried in bureaucracy, bogged down in red tape. He ignores the Islamist disregard for the niceties of civilization and the conventions of contemporary life. And obsessed with al-Qaeda, as though it were a brand name like, um, Heinz®, he overlooks the fact that there is no shortage of Islamic militants who owe no particular allegiance to Osama bin Laden. (Again, the Communists provide an example: the world is awash in Reds, but actual Bolsheviks are few and far between. And not even Communists agree on everything.)
In time, radical Islam will be deposited unceremoniously in the dustbin of history where it belongs. Between now and then, Mr Bush seeks to make life difficult for those who practice it and for those who, for whatever reason, help prop it up. (Yes, European Community, I'm talking to you.) To those who score a win only if someone signs the official terms of surrender, it may not look like a whole lot of progress. But considering what's happened so far two whole nations mostly out of the thrall of extremists, and a third (Libya) trying to mend its ways I'd say we're moving in the right direction.
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» PUTTING BUSH THROUGH THE SPIN CYCLE from Michelle Malkin
The New York Times headline this morning reads: "Bush Cites Doubt America Can Win War on Terror." John Edwards (who?) yapped: "This is no time to declare defeat." Bush did not "declare defeat." John Kerry's desperate spinners are selectively seizing......[read more]