Monday, October 11, 2004

Real Nuisances

A big deal has come up from a New York Times Magazine interview with John Kerry in which he said something on the order of that the United States should come back to a state by the end of the war where terrorism is a nuisance on the order of prostitution or gambling or drugs. Even President Bush has stated in the past that the War on Terror shall not be "won" in the ways that wars have traditionally won. Both quotations are being spun out of their contexts in new ads.

I have slightly more concern over the real meaning of Kerry's remarks than Bush's in that it implies that Kerry believes that there is a tolerable level of terrorism. While I generally don't like slippery slope arguments, it is far easier to hold a line at an absolute than to maitain a shiftable standard such as "tolerable". Additionally, in the continuation of Bush's interview for the Today Show, he said that the War on Terror will have to be done so that supporting terrorism and terrorists will have intolerable costs for the supporters. An analogy of draining a swamp is useful, except that by trying to instill institutions of democracy and freedom in the Middle East, the current administration is also trying to create new high ground.

As a further thought, comparing terrrorism as an evil that can be controlled such as prostitution and gambling is particularly bone-headed to this voter. There are no real crimes (meaning damage to persons or property without the consent of both parties) being committed in prostitution, gambling, or drugs. The only violence that occurs are from the business ends which are dominated by those willing to break the law to advance their business. Since those niches are occupied by those willing to break the law to be in business in the first place, you can see how much respect they would have for other laws. It would be far better to remove the resources spent trying to bar the public from being exposed to those products and reallocate them to attacking those whose product is death of innocents.

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