L. Paul Bremer is on FoxNews Sunday, which I’m watching via the wonder of TiVo. He just said “terrorists declared war on us on September 11th.” This is something that we hear a lot about, and something that I think actually distorts the actual situation. A defacto state of war has existed for years, if not decades. I realize that using 9/11 as a rallying cry is effective propaganda, and I don’t really have an issue with it, but preaching it constantly is certainly going to enhance the perception that we’re out for revenge. Our position, which I believe and support, is that we’re out to eradicate international terrorism.
Revenge for 9/11 supported the campaign in Afghanistan. It does not support our invasion of Iraq. If we constantly beat the 9/11 drum and go on national TV and say things like “the war started on September 11th,” we are actually working against ourselves.
Bremer also points out that Iraq is on the way to becoming a democracy and that this fact will bring terrorists to Iraq for as long as the neighbors aren’t supportive of that form of government. And that we cannot make Iraq secure without help from the local Iraqis, both in the form of Iraqi military and police forces and intelligence from the population.
Also, Tony Snow (who I believe deserves more credit as a news program host than he generally gets, regardless of your political beliefs) just posted a quote from Gen. Sanchez:
“The enemy has evolved, a little bit more lethal, a little bit more complex, a little bit more sophisticated. As long as we are here, the coalition needs to be prepared to take casualties.”
He said this on October 2nd. Although I don’t think anyone like to hear that, it’s the sort of thing that our leaders need to be saying.
The Rumsfeld memo said we’re in for “a long, hard slog.” Although opponents gleefully point out that this proves we’re in over our heads, I think it’s actually the sort of honest, open talk that our leaders haven’t been engaged in. Let’s hear more of it. From both sides.
I’m not holding my breath. For either side.