Monday, October 11, 2004

Malaise, Part Deux

I wasn't the only one outraged by Kerry's proposal to accommodate perpetual terror. The Senator described terrorism as a "nuisance" which--like prostitution and illegal gambling--"isn't threatening people's lives every day" and can never be ended. Instead, Kerry promised to lead America "back to the place we were."

  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani excoriates Kerry:
    I'm wondering exactly when Senator Kerry thought they were just a nuisance. Maybe when they attacked the USS Cole? Or when they attacked the World Trade Center in 1993? Or when they slaughtered the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972? Or killed Leon Klinghoffer by throwing him overboard? Or the innumerable number of terrorist acts that they committed in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s, leading up to September 11?

    The idea that you can have an acceptable level of terrorism is frightening. How do you explain that to the people who are beheaded or the innocent people that are killed, that we're going to tolerate a certain acceptable [level] of terrorism, and that acceptable level will exist and then we'll stop thinking about it? This is an extraordinary statement. I think it is not a statement that in any way is ancillary. I think this is the core of John Kerry's thinking. This does create some consistency in his thinking.

    It is consistent with his views on Vietnam: that we should have left and abandoned Vietnam. It is consistent with his view of Nicaragua and the Sandinistas. It is consistent with his view of opposing Ronald Reagan at every step of the way in the arms buildup that was necessary to destroy communism. It is consistent with his view of not supporting the Persian Gulf War, which was another extraordinary step. Whatever John Kerry's global test is, the Persian Gulf War certainly would pass anyone's global test. If it were up to John Kerry, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power, but he'd still be controlling Kuwait.

  • UCLA Law Prof Eugene Volokh supplies an interesting thought experiment demonstrating both that Kerry's crazy and that the media, which largely has ignored Kerry's admission, is thoroughly biased:
    Let's say that in response to a sharp increase in the number of rapes, or of racist anti-black violence, or anti-Semitic violence, a President John Kerry had declared War on Rape / War on Racism / War on Anti-Semitism (a somewhat more metaphorical war than the War on Terrorism, but still close enough).

    Let's also say that Governor George W. Bush, who was challenging President Kerry in the presidential election wanted to argue that this is a different sort of war, one in which we can't expect total victory. He certainly wasn't arguing that nothing should be done about racism, anti-black violence, or anti-Semitic violence. He had his own proposals, though ones that Kerry's supporters thought weren't tough enough, and were otherwise misguided. But he wanted to point out that we should be realistic about this: We shouldn't talk the rhetoric of total victory, where we had to realize that some background level of rape, anti-black violence, or anti-Semitic violence was inevitable. And let's say that this is how he made this point:
    We have to get back to the place we were, where [rapists/ Klansmen/ anti-Semitic attackers] are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.
    Volokh's questions: Would you accept this argument when made by a Republican? Wouldn't the media call it a gaffe? If so, isn't Kerry's version necessarily dangerous and a blunder as well?

  • Columnist/blogger James Lileks shreds Kerry's analogy:
    Tony Soprano doesn't take over schools and shoot kids in the back. The doxies of the Bunny Ranch don't train at flight schools to ram brothels into skyscrapers.

    A nuisance?

    A nuisance? I don't want the definition of success of terrorism to be "it isn't on the rise." I want the definition of success to be "free democratic states in the Middle East and the cessation of support of those governments and fascist states we haven't gotten around to kicking in the ass yet." I want the definition of success to mean a free Lebanon and free Iran and a Saudi Arabia that realizes there's no point in funding the fundies. An Egypt that stops pouring out the Jew-hatred as a form of political novacaine to keep the citizens from turning their ire on their own government. I want the definition of success to mean that Europe takes a stand against the Islamicist radicals in their midst before the Wahabbi poison is the only acceptable strain on the continent. Mosquito bites are a nuisance. Cable outages are a nuisance. Someone shooting up a school in Montana or California or Maine on behalf of the brave martyrs of Fallujah isn't a nuisance. It's war.
    Lileks also highlights the peril of Kerry's proposal to take America "back to the place we were."
    [W]hen we were there we were blind. When we were there we losing. When we were there we died. We have to get back to the place we were. We have to get back to 9/10? We have to get back to the place we were. So we can go through it all again? We have to get back to the place we were. And forget all we've learned and done? We have to get back to the place we were. No. I don't want to go back there. Planes into towers. That changed the terms. I am remarkably disinterested in returning to a place where such things are unimaginable. Where our nightmares are their dreams.

    We have to get back to the place we were.

    No. We have to go the place where they are.
Kerry once said he had a "secret plan" for Iraq. Well, secret no more: Kerry wrongly believes America can return to September 10, 2001 and ignores the certainty that retreating from terrorism in the Islamic world would encourage Islamic terrorism here.

There's a word for Kerry's policy: appeasement. It didn't work for Clinton or Carter. Indeed, appeasement's never worked at all.

It won't work now. I cannot imagine an idea, or Presidential candidate, more hazardous to our homes, our families and our country.

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