Terrorism

TERRORISM….Matt Yglesias pretty much sums up my view of foreign policy these days:

Obviously, the threat of terrorism is a serious problem. I believe that today, I believed it eighteen months ago, and I believed it before 9/11. Indeed, the fact that the Democratic Party was oriented toward problems like terrorism and counterproliferation while the GOP was stuck bitching about “soldiers doing social work” and dreaming of missile defense was, I thought, one of many reasons to be a Democrat rather than a Republican.

….But still, outside of the need to fight a war in Afghanistan, combatting terrorism is basically a lot of slow, patient, boring work. Keeping up various law enforcement and diplomatic efforts. Doing peacekeeping in anarchic portions of the world. Working with the Russian government on nuclear security issues. Tightening security around likely targets at home and abroad. Building a better public health infrastructure.

….In fact, when you consider that all the necessary programs are going to cost money, you might start to wonder whether it isn’t the Bush administration that’s not serious about these national security concerns….

Yes, you might start to wonder indeed.

I’m truly bewildered by the blinkered view of the right when it comes to terrorism. It’s patently obvious that we won’t win the war on terrorism via conventional war, but rather through persistent, patient cooperation with our allies combined with a foreign policy that truly refuses to countenance repressive dictatorships even if they happen to be convenient to us.

But if there’s anything that George Bush is obviously bad at, it’s persistent, patient cooperation with our allies. What’s more, despite all the talk about transforming the military, his only goal seems to be to transform it to fight better wars against conventional nation states and to build missile defense systems that don’t work in order to protect us against ICBM wielding enemies who don’t exist. Terrorists? Peacekeeping? Nation building? Port security? You’d hardly know they were even issues.

Invading Iraq may be an eventual blessing for the Iraqi people, but it hasn’t made us any safer against terrorism. When is the Bush administration going to get serious about actual terrorists, instead of the bogeymen they’ve been scaring the American public with for the past year?

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