Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Is the War on Terror Over?

It is, if you ask Juan Cole:
The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."

I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn [sic] in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.
This leaves Michael Totten speechless, so he responds with a photo-fisking of Cole.

Personally, I don't like the term "war on terror". It smacks of political correctness. We are fighting Islamism; a totalitarian belief system based on Islam.

Which leads us to the subject of Iran, of which Dr. Cole has this to say in the same post quoted above:
It will be argued that Iran is trying to get a nuclear weapon. But a) we don't know that for sure; and b) even if it were to succeed in doing so, how would it be different from the Soviet Union, which hated us much more than Iran does and which had thousands of warheads pointed at us? So far no two countries, both of which have nuclear weapons, have fought a major war with one another, and the reason is clear.
Well, I'd say that it's pretty clear that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and did the Soviet Union really hate us much more than Iran does today? That is a highly debatable point. At least the Soviet Union was led by people who did not want to die. Sting wondered "if the Russians love their children, too." It appears that they did. The Soviets were not led by a fatalistic ideology. The Soviets acted in a manner that we would view as rational. A society that encourages martyrdom and supports terrorists who target civilians is not a society that I want to see with a nuclear weapon.