Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Presidential Hubris

I was shocked several weeks ago when Bush said we couldn't win the war on terror. Not only was he "flip-flopping" as he so childishly accuses Kerry of doing, but for once he was speaking the truth. Naturally, he changed his mind (got back "on message") the following day, lest he lose his deceitful reputation. This week, Kerry is saying that we can minimize terrorism, but we cannot eliminate it. Bush, with remarkable hubris even by his standards, says that Kerry is wrong and that we will indeed destroy terrorism.

We cannot win the war on terror. First of all, we would have to please all of the people all of the time. I don't see how Bush could think that our nation could do that internationally when he personally has aroused so much resentment just within our borders. Second, there is no way to deter someone from carrying out a terrorist act. If someone is willing to pay with his or her life, then what threat of punishment could we use to stop that person? Third, it is impossible to watch everyone all the time. No matter how many troops, police, video cameras, etc. the U.S. deploys, we cannot watch or catch every potential terrorist. The small and highly militarized country of Israel has been unable to eliminate terrorist acts within its borders, so how could we? If we can't eradicate gangs in the U.S., how could anyone presume that we could control the entire world? For an example of a similarly international and unmanageable controntation, look at the "war on drugs."

The Neo-Cons might compare the war against terror to the Cold War against communism, but they are completely different. To change a government, we don't have to convince everyone in a nation, just the "right people" (whether by persuasion or force). To "win" the war on terrorism, we would have to control every person in every nation--it only takes one dissenter to terrorize the world. There has always been terrorism in the world (for example, one could argue that our founding fathers were terrorists in the eyes of the British), and there always will be. No arrogant, self-righteous president can change that with bombs and soldiers. Bush is telling people what they want to hear, not the truth.

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