Monday, April 05, 2004
Safire: The Floo Floo Bird
I am not sure I get what Safire is saying here. Is he saying that we have to consider the past, past, and get ahead with the war on terror? If so, that is not correct. The problem with the Bush administration is that they have not, to date, understood the fundamentally different nature of this war. They run it like it were another Cold War... except, terrorism is replaced by Islamism. But then, during the Cold War, there was the USSR that was the face of Communism. Targeting USSR was targetting Communism. But that is not the case with terrorism. Terrorism's strength is precisely that - it does not need, or have, a face. This war cannot be run like the last Cold War. But Bush people are trying to do just that. They try to invent faces to terror in states such as Iraq and Syria. There are times when I wonder if the entire WoT till now is just a zoetrope of actions against individual (possibly just putative) state sponsors of terror, which is not quite enough. That approach is what is being questioned now.
Contrary to popular belief, Bush administration has done precious little when it comes to security of American homeland. They have not been focussing on where they need to focus when it comes to internal security. Their essential message is, "We'll take care. Trust us. You can relax." That is not true. They cannot take care completely, we cannot blindly trust them, and we cannot relax. The people in the United States need to be aware of just what this entails, and Bush has not done that.
More than any other country, the United States can evolve a more global answer to this problem - something like a Geneva Conventions. Sure, the Geneva Conventions have not stopped war crimes - and they may never do so. But then there is no law that is not ever broken. It is undeniable that Geneva Conventions have become a standard, and those who break those rules do so at their own peril.
There is no such standard to test just what amounts to terrorism, and what is genuine resistance against tyranny. Bush's solution to this question is, "we will know it is terrorism when we see it." That is not quite an acceptable definition, and to many, looks suspiciously like a way of pushing American agenda on the world by branding the vulnerable enemies sponsors of terror deserving unilateral action. There is no way we are going to evolve anything resembling wide consensus against terror, even among democratic nations.
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