Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Reply to Rob...

Robert said:
I always thought that we wouldn't 'win' the war either- not in the traditional sense that is.

There will be no battle that definitively marks the end of the War. Just a slow fading into obscurity of our enemies.

So no, we are never going to 'win it'.
See, I don't think we'll ever win it in the tradition sense (surrenders, peace treaties signed in Paris or Geneva etc.) but I do think this war can be won. You say:
The idea is to disrupt the regimes that foster such terrorists, spread freedom to diminish the long term threat of terrorism

It is not a foolproof plan for complete eradication of terrorists because that cannot be done. The purpose is to make them a marginalized enemy that poses little to no threat to us. Not exactly zero threat.
All of those points are very true indeed. And I agree the that freedom is one of the best ways to diminish the threat of terrorism, which is one of my key justifications in supporting the Iraq War. But I think what we need to do it engage in a massive discrediting campaign. Highlight Islamist atrocities across the world; from Sudan to Algeria to Iran to the Phillipines. Yes, that is a long term strategy, but one of the only ways I can see to stop the recruitment. I mean, we obviously can't invade every Islamist country and Iraq is hard enough by itself. This ties fairly nicely into Stygius's post on whether al Qaeda is an ideological movement or ideology and see also this ideofact post in which there it some really good debate about the effectiveness of just "killing the terrorists." This war will eventually have a conclusion as I doubt it is anything we could live with for a hundred years, with the resulting tens of thousands of American deaths. Just like the Cold War, when it's over, the America that existed on 9/10/2001 will be radically altered.
Perhaps I don't see this as a 'flip-flop' because I don't see how its a big change of position. For Bush it wasn't a change, just horrible articulation of his stance as usual.
That may be true, but this is the irony of the situation. The Democratic defense of Kerry's flip-flops is the same for your defense of Bush's. Whether or not Bush flip flopped is up for debate, but unfortunately, for the millions of people who came home and saw on the nightly news that Bush had declared the war on terror "unwinnable," what else could they think other than it was a defeatist position.

As with the Swift Boat controversy that killed Kerry, it's all about perception.