Monday, October 29, 2007

Ed Morrissey: Terrorism is a tactic

Over in the Captains Quarters, Ed Morrissey makes the point that many neo-conservatives and the Bush administration have been ignoring since 9/11:

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter -- and the State Department finally has discovered this truth. In a long-overdue act, State has forgiven the "terrorism" of the Hmong and Montagnards who fought so bravely beside us in Southeast Asia, allowing them to enter the country and allowing those already here to become legal residents.

I've stopped by CQ off and on over the past few years, and I don't know if I recall him ever making a statement so, well, um, Michael Moore-ish. His post does address something further down that I don't think gets talked about enough:

...We have used "war on terror" as a label because it allows us to avoid the more accurate -- and more provocative -- descriptor of a war against radical Islamist terrorists. Using that phrase clearly identifies our enemies, but we have avoided it to keep those enemies from twisting it into a war on Islam for their own propaganda purposes.

Unfortunately, this declaration of war against a tactic leads to a lot of conclusions, many of them self-defeating. It calls into question what terrorism means, how it's defined, and under what circumstances it becomes terrorism.
What Morrissey didn't add in his critique is how we define victory in a war against a tactic. The truth is, there is no way to win the GWOT. Just like murder, kidnapping, extortion or any other tactic, it's always going to be around. There is a way to counter radical Islamic terrorists, but that's material for another post.

So why not just be more clear on who our enemy is? The explanation given by Morrissey is inadequate because it doesn't address our own internal propaganda purposes. Look at the rights that we have given up in the name of fighting the GWOT. The Patriot Act has allowed warrantless searches, and the elimination of habeaus corpus to become a norm. Has there even been a discussion about even amending the Constitution to reflect that norm? Not at all. But that's OK, it's all in the name of fighting terror.

All of the amendments that make up the Bill of Rights are equal, and should be respected equally. Assaults on the 4th and the 5th amendment should be met with the same resistance as attacks on the 1st and 2nd or the other 6. Terrorists hate us because of our freedoms Bush says, well our government is working on that.

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