The republicans thought they had a whopper at news of Kerry’s characterization of terrorism as a “nuisance,” which is how it was generally reported, and spun. But here’s the quote in context, and I think that if Kerry were to play it right, it could strike a cord:
We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.
Now, my purpose in this post is not to quibble with all the bullshit premises implied in the above that all reduce, essentially, to the notion that government should determine what values you hold and how they’ll be managed throughout your course of life. But I agree with the general theme regarding how terrorism should be viewed; and who wouldn’t? Yes, life is short, and wasting it on undue concern for being blown up at any moment is not how to live it, and it’s not how your children should live it either.
That being said, you are still left with the problem of how to reduce it to the nuisance level. First, you need to know who your enemy is, and it’s not terrorism. Never has been. Our enemy are radical Islamists. Their tactic is terror; just as in WWII, we were not at war with “Kamikazeism,” or “Blitzkriegism.” We were at war with Japanese imperialists and German Nazis who employed these tactics. So, with regards to those redical islamists, do you ignore them a la passivism, do you sit down and negotiate with them a la Kerry, or do you preemptively attack and try to keep them on the run, a la Bush? I guess that’s the essential decision before those going to the polls in less than 3 weeks; and it’s really the defining difference. All the differences in domestic and economic issues amount to almost nothing. They’re both monumental thieves who will spend more than they even have the nerve to steal. How the bounty gets distributed (pissed away) is of nearly no concern to me whatsoever.
See Mike Tennant’s comments along some of the same lines.