Tuesday, March 16, 2004

This needs more blogging

I posted some on this article already. But there needs more. In fact, it needs a threading. My thoughts will be in italics, and his will be regular (I know I need to be uniform, sometimes I'm italics, sometimes the quoted text is, but you're smart readers):

Perhaps Al Qaeda will win new recruits as a result of this triumph. But even if it does destroy Afghanistan and Iraq, it still will not stop. Retreating nations like Spain will still not be safe. For Al Qaeda's mission is not about one country or another. It is existential. "You love life and we love death," the purported terrorists said in the videotape found in Madrid. . . .

It would be nice were it so simple. We love life, they love death. I don't think it's that simple - though it's a very effective message with which to creep out anyone listening. It would be easier if that were the answer. Because then we'd have to love death just enough to kill the people who only love death - then we can get back to loving life, see? But it can't really be that simple - not at its heart - regardless of how many programmed drones it takes to plant a bomb or hijack a plane.

If a terrorist group attacked the U.S. three days before an election, does anyone doubt that the American electorate would rally behind the president or at least the most aggressively antiterror party? Does anyone doubt that Americans and Europeans have different moral and political cultures? . . . .

No, I don't doubt it at all - but am I supposed to be happy about it? I don't know if I'd be wholly sad. But here's the thing. When we were attacked we did go after (at least part of) those actually responsible. As of now, we don't really have good, er, any evidence that Iraq was involved in 9-11, though I'm sure Saddam wasn't upset. This point doesn't resonate with me the way he means it to.

Nor is America itself without blame. Where was our State Department? Why hasn't Colin Powell spent the past few years crisscrossing Europe so that voters there would at least know the arguments for the liberation of Iraq, would at least have some accurate picture of Americans, rather than the crude cowboy stereotype propagated by the European media? Why does the Bush administration make it so hard for its friends? Why is it so unable to reach out?

Wait, wait, wait, whoa nelly. I thought foreign governments influencing voters was a bad thing? Why DOES the Bush admin make it so hard for its friends? Well it doesn't anymore. Why? We don't have many left.

This is a watershed event. It will change how Al Qaeda thinks about the world. It will change how Europeans see the world. It will constrain American policy for years to come.

Sigh. I fear the future. Especially the immediate future between now and November.

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