Some smart pre-Election Day thoughts from Tony at Rootless Cosmopolitan, who argues that our current economic crisis is a far greater threat to the United States than Bush’s “War on Terror”:
McCain regularly repeats the preposterous mantra that the struggle against Islamist radicalism is the “transcendent challenge of the 21st century,” but make no mistake, Barack Obama falls victim to the same flawed logic when he proclaims Afghanistan “the right war” and promises to get out of Iraq in order to free up more troops to send to “stamp out the Taliban”, as he put it one of the presidential debates. The war on Afghanistan is no more winnable than the war in Iraq. Both are products of a mindset that responded to the spectacular provocation of a tiny band of jihadists on 9/11 by launching massive military campaigns to remake whole societies in a more U.S.-friendly image, and as a result ended up inflicting far more damage on American life, treasure and strategic position than al-Qaea ever could have.
The war on terror is a profound conceptual error, not simply because the problem with making war on a common noun (drugs, poverty, terror) is that a common noun cannot surrender; but also because it treats a small band of extremists with no means of transforming the balance of power as if they represent a genuine strategic threat rather than what John Kerry quite correctly in 2004 labeled a “nuisance.”