The War on Terror deserves serious discussion. There is a worthwhile debate over the method by which we fight this war, but both parties seem to be ignoring that debate in favor of sound bites.
There is a dichotomy between two camps with differing views of America. One sees America as a country of and for itself, which was attacked without provocation by a hidden enemy. To respond to that requires firm resolve and an unshakable belief that what we’re doing is right, even if we’re doing it wrong.
The other side sees America as the progenitor of its attackers. Our foreign policy choices have bred anger in our attackers and we must address our own failings to stave off their assault. To them, the war in Iraq is yet another example of the failed foreign policy that has led to our current situation. To fight terrorism, they disconnect those who oppose and attack us in Iraq from those that oppose and attack us in New York.
Serious Americans recognize that there is a degree of truth to both arguments and our cause is not helped by both sides marginalizing the other’s beliefs. Our cause is also not helped by talking points that over-simplify the world.
The President, yesterday, broke out just such a talking point.
“Iraq is the central front in this war on terror,” he said. “If we leave the streets of Baghdad before the job is done we will have to face the terrorists in our own cities. We will stay the course. We will help this young Iraqi democracy succeed and victory in Iraq will be a major ideological triumph in the struggle of the 21st century. I firmly believe we’ll succeed.”
This is, to say the least, ridiculous. Does anyone believe the peaceful handover of Baghdad to the Iraqi people will end the worldwide scourge of terror? There was no war in Iraq when we were attacked in 2001. There was no war in Iraq when we were attacked in 1993. To claim that finishing the mission in Iraq will somehow guarantee we are not attacked stateside is a specious claim at best and laughably ignorant at worst.
A serious discussion needs to take place, but the nature of our Attention Deficit Media prevents that. Comments like these also do little to advance that agenda.