Sunday, October 10, 2004

War on terror is a "nuisance?"

Okay, I'll be honest, at first blush I almost agreed with Kedwards that Kerry's quote was taken out of context. But then you read what Racicot and Gillespie do with it: they show that it reflects Kerry's belief that we're in a pre-9/11 world. I don't think that's unfair at all, and I do believe that Kerry's quote illustrates just that. How else can you want to reduce the activity of terrorists to a nuisance level? I mean, I thought terrorists were a nuisance back in the 90s; every few years they'd blow something up and kill a few Americans. It sucked and pissed me off, but I didn't regard it as the end of the world. And look at how naive I (and the nation) was in regards to the capacity of al Qaeda to pull of a spectacular attack.

Basically, I don't think terrorism, after 9/11, can ever again be regarded as a nuisance activity, no matter how far it recedes into the background of the public's consciousness. Nor does the fact that terrorism MIGHT become a fourth-tier concern of America's public (something that is already happening, to some degree - how else to explain the "undecided voter") mean that the government should ever regard it as such. Which is exactly what Kerry is suggesting here.

I also don't see this as the same sort of slip of tongue as Bush's comment about never winning the war on terror. Kerry really does believe, as his overtures and previous record make apparent, that the war on terror is a law-enforcement issue. Bush's comment was such an aberration from everything else he has done and said up to this point that, in the minds of everyone except the NYTimes, there was no question that he misspoke. I don't know that Kerry can make the same claim - or rather, pass this off as a misquote, since he has said similar things in the past.

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