August 31, 2004

Letter to the Paper XXVIII

I linked through to The Yin Blog where, among other good stuff, they ask, can the War on Terror be won? There was an awful lot of negativity on the subject so I piped up with (so far only example of) an optimist's view:

I think that there are some serious linguistic difficulties here. The problem of terrorism is twofold. There is the bare tactic, which can be taken up by a couple of high school kids with little difficulty and whose low level expressions are often called bullying. The other end of the spectrum is terror groups of global reach like Al Queda, the Iranian terror nexus, and others. While nerds and geeks the world over have no doubt fantasized about the 'feds' coming in to take out the low level terrorists making their lives a living hell, that's not what the war on terrorism is about.

What we're concerned with is practiced groups that go beyond the ALF/ELF level and have the potential to rachet things up to WMDs with all the mass mayhem that implies. We're also concerned with groups that are beyond the ability of their home government(s) to control. That level of terrorism is actually a significantly smaller problem, and I suggest that it is winnable in our lifetimes. It's a huge problem though, as big as WW II was, possibly bigger. The only bright side of things is that the casualty count (if we continue prosecuting the war properly) is likely to be less than WW II levels.

So can we eliminate terrorism entirely (which is probably how President Bush understood the question)? No, we can't. But we can win the Global War On Terror (GWOT) and our current actions (including Iraq) are significant steps on the road to victory.

Posted by TMLutas at August 31, 2004 02:20 PM