Tuesday, November 23, 2004

How (Not) to Win the War on Terror

The Well-Intentioned One has resurfaced.

In a coda to his virtuoso performance in front of the 9/11 Commission, during which he unctuously apologized for the U.S. government's collective sins of omission in fighting terror, Richard Clarke has written a new article that argues for a radical change of course in our Global War on Terror.

Except that it's not radical. He wants to return to the glory days of fighting terrorism pre-9/11. And this was the man to whom America's safety was entrusted in the death match with the Jihadists.

To bolster his case for "change," Clarke asserts that "jihadist groups have conducted twice as many attacks since Sept. 11, 2001 as they did in the three years prior." Clarke refuses to see 9/11 in its transformational light, that of a culminating attack on the core of America civilian life, enabled by our government's failure to recognize the gathering Islamist menace and to treat the '93 Twin Towers, '96 Khobar Towers, '98 Embassy and '00 USS Cole attacks as hot battles within a wider war.

Clarke can't see that the battle heats up when one opponent decides to join the fight. It was peaceful on Dec 6, 1941 as well, but that didn't mean the American people were safe.

He goes on to suggest that we "stress our common values" within the Islamic world, and that we should "defuse sources of Islamic hatred for the United States," such as our policy that insists on an honest Palestinian broker prior to peace talks and our military efforts to safeguard democratic elections in Iraq. He calls for the U.S. to cease military operations against urban areas within the Middle East, and reduce our goals in Iraq so that withdrawal can commence forthwith.

Perhaps we should turn Fallujah back over to Zarqawi and give his torture-masters a group hug.

Clarke embodies the problem of bureaucratic words vs. results, equivocation vs. resolution. What's worrying is that there are others like him still pulling the levers within the halls of government.