a nuisance. 11.11.04
i was thinking about the furor over john kerry's "nuisance" statement.
it's not a particular touchstone to mark what went wrong, but here's the quote that didn't bother me so much:
''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''
organized crime is a good analogy. on the first link, a small victory, there is a long discussion which actually goes from the "kerry's an idiot" rantings of people who had long ago decided they want to stroke george bush gently, to the substance and heart of kerry's words. organized crime was a scourge. politicians could be bought. blocks of ozone park here in queens would be much safer because the mob bought influence and policemen, who would also look the other way depending on the crime and criminal.
that affects the fabric of the city, creates a shadow government with no accountability to the people the mob affects. and the work of dedicated law enforcement, along with the aging and obsolete community-based structure of the mob made them an annoyance.
[--read jerry capeci's mob column here--]
terrorism was an annoyance, despite what the above link says. there are extremists and crazies in the world. they kidnap and murder and we keep fighting. we won't just waltz into the mid east and suddenly eliminate terrorism. kerry wasn't saying he thought terrorism was a nuisance. it's a problem. isn't the goal to have a goddamned end to the "what's our threat level" terror battle? it should be the kind of thing the president worries about, the military strategists worry about, while we walk around all blissful, watching skinny singers on television and eating ourselves tubby.
if we're thinking "kill kill kill!" how will we know when we're done?
especially if what we're worried about is not the state itself, like the soviet union, but the actors who are raising multinational terrorist regimes. if saddam and osama were opposed to each other, as seems to be the case in this letter attributed to bin laden, then the enemy isn't saddam but something shadier, more below the surface.
iraq gives a launching pad for US operations, but also increases the the number of people who see the US as an invader, while increasing the importance and influence of small terrorists. effective terrorists, but small terrorists. if we eliminate the head of the most established terror network, and remain vigilant for new terrorists coming to fill in the vacuum, and don't extend our troops to the point of fatigue, terrorism will be... just a nuisance.