blogenlust
8.30.2004

Bush Admits We Can't Defeat Pesty Nouns


I am happy to hear that the President has finally acknowledged that the war on terror "probably can't be won."
“You cannot show weakness in this world today because the enemy will exploit that weakness,” he said. “It will embolden them and make the world a more dangerous place.” When asked “Can we win?” the war on terror, Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.”
This should have been clear from the start. Like its cousins, The War on Drugs and The War on Poverty, The War on Terror will never be successful as long as you frame victory as achieving the end of terrorism. Terrorism has been around forever and it isn't going away, no matter how many governments we overthrow. If this premise was accepted from the beginning, we may not have invaded Iraq under the guise of fighting terrorism. I wish the President would realize that his war on Iraq has done nothing remotely close to "creating the conditions so that--those who use terror as a tool are--less acceptable in parts of the world." In fact, most evidence suggests that Bush's war has made Iraqis more susceptible to resort to terrorism as an acceptable means of expression. Of course, this could have been avoided had he not miscalculated the aftermath of the war. I think it is too little too late for Bush. The fact that he has had to admit that he miscalculated on Iraq and that the war on terrorism is not possible to win, means he knows he is in deep shit. update: Josh Marshall has more on "the Bush retreat."