The Wrong War

Amir Taheri has an excellent dissection of John Kerry’s acceptance speech, as it relates to the current war, in today’s New York Post. An excerpt:

One of the things the Americans need to do in the war against terrorism is to unlearn the lessons of Vietnam.
Kerry’s speech was dominated by one powerful image: that of himself in “that gunboat in the Mekong delta.” But that was the image of 1967.
The image of 2004 is that of hijacked jetliners running into the twin towers in New York. U.S. strategy in this war must be built around that image.
The choice the United States has is not between war and peace. The enemy it faces does not understand peace…. The choice here is between war and endless war. This is not an enemy that could be drawn into Paris “peace talks” to win Nobel Prizes for the participants.
Kerry says “We need to be looked up to, and not just feared.” Yet, while it is always pleasant to be looked up to, what is needed now is that the terrorists, and their allies and patrons, should fear the United States. The bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins of this world are unlikely to look up to the United States. But they can be made to fear it, to the point of running to hide in caves and holes.
Kerry says he would wage “a smarter, more effective war on terror.” Ok, but how?
First, he would “ask hard questions and demand hard evidence.”
But when it comes to terrorism, hard questions don’t necessarily produce hard evidence. Often, such evidence becomes available only after an attack, not before.
Anyway, once a President Kerry has asked his hard questions and obtained his hard evidence, he would only be at the start of a long road to a policy. He would next have to persuade other nations (variously described in his speech as “allies,” “erstwhile allies” and simply “others”) to accept his “hard evidence” and side with the United States. Then the whole matter would have to be taken to unspecified “international institutions,” supposedly for approval.
After that? Here is Kerry’s answer: “Only then with confidence and determination we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose, we will win!”
Will such a warning make the bin Laden and Saddam Husseins of this world tremble?


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