The nuisance vote

In a very revealing interview with the New York Times Magazine recently, John Kerry described the War on Terror as a "nuisance," restating his previous contention that it is mostly a matter of law enforcement and small—scale individual actions.  He further adds, 'we have to get back to where we were' before September 11, 2001, when terrorism 'wasn't the focus of our daily lives.' Richard Holbrooke, his would—be Secretary of State, also chimed in that the "War" on Terror is simply a metaphor, much the same as the "War" on Poverty or the "War" on Drugs.
 
Many analysts have jumped on his comments, noting that his reasoning is shortsighted and dangerous, and that it utterly fails to grasp the nature of the threat before us. Kerry does not truly believe that we're actually engaged in a war against fanatical Muslim extremists, state—supported, whose goal is to destroy Western Christian and Jewish (including Israel) society. Instead, he apparently feels the whole matter is something that can be managed or contained or compartmentalized—in other words, reduced to a mere "nuisance." September 11, all the terrorist bombings against Israel, Bali, the 1993 World Trade Tower attack, the Spanish attack on 3/11, the Russian school massacre, the USS Cole, the US embassies in Africa, and the Kohbar Towers US Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia are all regrettable incidents and the people responsible should be "brought to justice," but in Kerry's view, we're not at WAR. War was WWII. These recent acts, while deplorable, are instead much like a traffic accident or a bridge collapse.
 
However, beyond the obvious problems with Kerry's position lurks a far more insidious danger, one that has thus far gone mostly unrecognized. Continental Europe, Russia, and China share Kerry's view of manageability and appeasement instead of confrontation and elimination as being the preferred approach to terrorism. They view the War on Terror as a second—tier 'Manageable Problem to be Finessed' as opposed to President Bush's stance that it is a top—priority real war. Although President Bush has been able to garner significant, important support from Britain, Australia, Poland and others, we do not enjoy anything even remotely approaching worldwide support in this effort.

International unanimity of thought regarding the threat of terrorism is necessary before it can seriously and effectively be confronted. Countries with wildly disparate motivations and self—interests came together during World War II to counter the common danger posed by Hitler. The peril presented by Nazi Germany was so great that it overcame the political and social differences of the Allies, resulting in the most unlikely, but nonetheless most effective, international cooperative effort of all time.

President Bush believes that the menace posed by international terrorists today is no less great than the mortal threat Germany represented in the 1940's. As such, it will require a coordinated international effort of similar scale to the one that triumphed in World War II.

This is why Kerry's comments have such far—reaching, potentially disastrous implications. Continental Europe, despite Spain having suffered through an al Qaeda attack of immense proportions on March 11th, still does not believe that terrorism is something to be confronted head on and defeated.  Europe's reluctance to engage in war, considering the destruction it suffered between 1939—1945, is understandable, but that reluctance only prolongs the inevitable. As Haim Harari, former President of the Weizmann Institute (the world—renowned scientific university in Rehovot Israel) said in April 2004,

'But the longer it takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and painful the victory will be. Europe, more than any other region, is the key. Its understandable recoil from wars, following the horrors of World War II, may cost thousands of additional innocent lives, before the tide will turn." 

By positioning the struggle against terrorism as a law—enforcement issue with the hope of reducing it to mere 'nuisance' level, Kerry is enabling—if not outright encouraging—the avoidance, appeasement—minded strategy with which too many other nations approach the problem.

If Kerry is elected President and his approach becomes official US foreign policy, then the message will be indelibly etched in the minds of erstwhile allies and terror foes alike that the United States is no longer serious about leading a crucial worldwide alliance against terrorism.

President Bush and Senator Kerry have made their choices and articulated their respective positions quite clearly. After we make our decisions at the polls and align ourselves with one or the other, we, the electorate, will then be solely and completely responsible for the manner in which the terror issue is addressed—both by our country and the world as a whole.

In a very revealing interview with the New York Times Magazine recently, John Kerry described the War on Terror as a "nuisance," restating his previous contention that it is mostly a matter of law enforcement and small—scale individual actions.  He further adds, 'we have to get back to where we were' before September 11, 2001, when terrorism 'wasn't the focus of our daily lives.' Richard Holbrooke, his would—be Secretary of State, also chimed in that the "War" on Terror is simply a metaphor, much the same as the "War" on Poverty or the "War" on Drugs.
 
Many analysts have jumped on his comments, noting that his reasoning is shortsighted and dangerous, and that it utterly fails to grasp the nature of the threat before us. Kerry does not truly believe that we're actually engaged in a war against fanatical Muslim extremists, state—supported, whose goal is to destroy Western Christian and Jewish (including Israel) society. Instead, he apparently feels the whole matter is something that can be managed or contained or compartmentalized—in other words, reduced to a mere "nuisance." September 11, all the terrorist bombings against Israel, Bali, the 1993 World Trade Tower attack, the Spanish attack on 3/11, the Russian school massacre, the USS Cole, the US embassies in Africa, and the Kohbar Towers US Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia are all regrettable incidents and the people responsible should be "brought to justice," but in Kerry's view, we're not at WAR. War was WWII. These recent acts, while deplorable, are instead much like a traffic accident or a bridge collapse.
 
However, beyond the obvious problems with Kerry's position lurks a far more insidious danger, one that has thus far gone mostly unrecognized. Continental Europe, Russia, and China share Kerry's view of manageability and appeasement instead of confrontation and elimination as being the preferred approach to terrorism. They view the War on Terror as a second—tier 'Manageable Problem to be Finessed' as opposed to President Bush's stance that it is a top—priority real war. Although President Bush has been able to garner significant, important support from Britain, Australia, Poland and others, we do not enjoy anything even remotely approaching worldwide support in this effort.

International unanimity of thought regarding the threat of terrorism is necessary before it can seriously and effectively be confronted. Countries with wildly disparate motivations and self—interests came together during World War II to counter the common danger posed by Hitler. The peril presented by Nazi Germany was so great that it overcame the political and social differences of the Allies, resulting in the most unlikely, but nonetheless most effective, international cooperative effort of all time.

President Bush believes that the menace posed by international terrorists today is no less great than the mortal threat Germany represented in the 1940's. As such, it will require a coordinated international effort of similar scale to the one that triumphed in World War II.

This is why Kerry's comments have such far—reaching, potentially disastrous implications. Continental Europe, despite Spain having suffered through an al Qaeda attack of immense proportions on March 11th, still does not believe that terrorism is something to be confronted head on and defeated.  Europe's reluctance to engage in war, considering the destruction it suffered between 1939—1945, is understandable, but that reluctance only prolongs the inevitable. As Haim Harari, former President of the Weizmann Institute (the world—renowned scientific university in Rehovot Israel) said in April 2004,

'But the longer it takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and painful the victory will be. Europe, more than any other region, is the key. Its understandable recoil from wars, following the horrors of World War II, may cost thousands of additional innocent lives, before the tide will turn." 

By positioning the struggle against terrorism as a law—enforcement issue with the hope of reducing it to mere 'nuisance' level, Kerry is enabling—if not outright encouraging—the avoidance, appeasement—minded strategy with which too many other nations approach the problem.

If Kerry is elected President and his approach becomes official US foreign policy, then the message will be indelibly etched in the minds of erstwhile allies and terror foes alike that the United States is no longer serious about leading a crucial worldwide alliance against terrorism.

President Bush and Senator Kerry have made their choices and articulated their respective positions quite clearly. After we make our decisions at the polls and align ourselves with one or the other, we, the electorate, will then be solely and completely responsible for the manner in which the terror issue is addressed—both by our country and the world as a whole.