Tuesday, April 17, 2007

GWOT (Part II)

The rightwingers over on Hot Air have a different take on the Brit's announcement. In summary, they prefer the war title because it makes them feel like they're actually doing something meaningful against the crazy people who would like to see us dead.

I understand the sentiment, really I do... it's the same way I would prefer to believe there's a God who answers our prayers and that a magical man named Santa Claus really delivers presents to all the good boys and girls in the world. But wishing for the WWII simplicity of uniform wearing enemies, or a focused Cold War puppet theater, isn't going to make it true. The reality of the situation is that it's a new reality, and if we don't recognize that and adapt to it -- if we keep insisting on a response that fits the type of war we're most comfortable with -- we'll perish just as surely as if we refused to recognize our enemies at all.

The shift from Bin Laden to Saddam was an attempt to reshape the terrorist threat into something tangible we could engage with our military. Americans believed it because they wanted to believe it... because it's preferable to admitting the truth, which is that the greatest conventional military the planet has ever seen cannot be used against an unconventional enemy. And as expected, the lie has not served our country well. At all.

Our current enemy will to prove to be the most difficult enemy we've faced in our history, but the fight, if properly engaged, could make us a much stronger nation. A stronger league of nations, really. The battles will be subtle... economical, ideological, psychological, strategic, covert.

The bottom line: America is going to have to shift its mindset away from its pre-conceived notion of war if it has any hope of winning this one.

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