Winning the 'War' on Terrorism
Can it be done? Of course not

Bush decided to say something honest for once, admitting that the war on terror cannot be won, and some people apparently think that is a good reason to attack him:

"After months of listening to the Republicans base their campaign on their singular ability to win the war on terror, the president now says we can't win the war on terrorism," said Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards. "This is no time to declare defeat."

"The war on terrorism is absolutely winnable," Edwards said later on ABC's "Nightline."


"To suggest that the war on terror can't be won is absolutely unacceptable," said Sen. Joseph Biden...

So what exactly did Bush mean in saying that the war on terrorism cannot be won? Well, if we're trying to be impartial we're obligated to grant him at least a little bit of intelligence, which would lead me to think that he probably meant that we will never be able to totally eliminate terrorism. This is taking the "War on Terror" in the broad sense, including not just the terrorists responsible for 9/11 but all others, including the home-grown variety like Timothy McVeigh.

In that context, of course the 'war' isn't winnable. Acts of terrorism potentially require no more than a sole gunman, one person with an agenda who knows how to make explosives, one bus driver or pilot who decides to crash into a skyscraper. And even more organized terrorism isn't likely to disappear - until the Psychic Thought Police come around (and let's hope they never do), groups of like-minded individuals convinced of the necessity of extreme acts will always come into existence some time, some where, no matter how nice and happy a place the world might become.

That's not to say that there is no disparity in the way Bush talked about winning the War on Terror before and this admission. Anyone implying that terrorism in the broad sense can be eliminated (rather than the ending of the capacity of certain groups to do harm) is plainly wrong. That includes Bush and Kerry. Kerry claiming that Bush is "declaring defeat" is off-base, and would be ignorant if it wasn't such obvious Political Talk. No wonder so many people are apathetic toward politics - these politicians aren't even putting out the effort to appear to be engaging in honest and open discussion.

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