An Open Letter

Over the past year, all kinds of right wing bloggers have ceaselessly harped on their belief that a liberal version of the war on terror would be soft and weak. In doing so, they resemble nothing as much as a toy monkey banging a pair of cymbals together, over and over, until it eventually keels over ‘cause the batteries have died.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be quite so acid, but, you see, I’m on the front lines of this war. So, I’d like to know, just what exactly would the right wing do in order to prosecute this war?

Please, Glenn, tell me: when will we know that we’ve won the war?

Please, Andrew, tell me: if 9/11 happens again—in my opinion, not so much a matter of if, but rather when—does that mean that the past three years have been all for naught?

Please, Steve, tell me: how would you exterminate—and I do mean exterminate, as in with extreme prejudice—al-Qaeda?

All of you: tell me, please tell me, how would you fight this war? Is there anything that you would have done differently from what this President and his advisors have done?

I’m waiting.

Because, you know, I get the feeling that all of you are long on words, but short on ideas.

You all just love to corner the market on moral clarity. You climb on your pedestals, and loudly declaim that only you see al-Qaeda for the mortal danger that it is.

We liberals, on the other hand, are just a bunch of limp-wristed, lily-livered jellyfish, quivering with fear, eager to run the white flag up the pole. Were we to actually, you know, run things, all hell would break loose. We just don’t understand the danger, I guess.

So, tell me: how would you fight the war on terror?

I’m waiting.

Because, it seems to me, that the President whose policies you loudly champion, hasn’t gotten around to fighting terrorism and al-Qaeda.

Oh, he invaded Afghanistan. He sent in the Special Forces, and there were units from the 82nd Airbone and the 10th Mountain. Not to mention all those air strikes, and missile strikes, which only made the old bomb craters bigger, but that’s okay. The operators on horseback were a nice touch.

But when it really counted, when it seemed that we had Osama and Ayman al-Zawahri, and Mullah Omar alongside them—when we could have landed the killing blow to al-Qaeda, and, you know, won this war—we sent in the mighty Northern Alliance. The same bunch that got chased out of Kabul by the Taliban five years previously.

And Osama and the gang got away.

So much for the win.

And ever since then, we’ve kind of forgotten about al-Qaeda. We fought a war with Iraq, and we’ve been embroiled with that ever since—mostly because the President that you all think is so great at fighting terrorism couldn’t be bothered to come up with a good plan with what to do with Iraq once the fighting was over.

So we’ve lurched from there to here. I know, because I’ve done more than my fair share of lurching.

Things might still work out, but if they do, it won’t be because of us, but rather despite us. At this late stage in the process, three months away from turning over power to the Iraqis, we’re irrelevant to whether Iraq becomes a democracy or not, sad to say.

But that’s a matter for another post. I’m here to figure out exactly what you would have done differently in our war on terror.

And I’m still waiting.

Because, it seems to me, all you guys—Glenn, Andrew, Steve, and the rest of you—are just a bunch of Presidential cheerleaders, and about as critical to the war against terror as cheerleaders are to a good game of football.

Well, Andrew’s peeved against the President because of gay marriage (Andy wants it, the President doesn’t), but even on that, you can’t possibly claim ignorance, Andrew. I mean, we’re talking about a man who opposed hate-crimes legislation while Governor of Texas because it included gays in its coverage. So if you’re upset with the President on that issue, I only have two words for you: caveat emptor.

And it strikes me that none of you, nearly three years after 9/11, have come up with a strategy by which we win our war on terror. Not just fight it—win it.

Nothing else will do. I assume you want victory, as do I.

And by every margin, we’re further from victory than ever before. We let the big cat go, along with his cubs, and the Spanish paid the price. Who knows if we’re next?

We don’t, because we’ve only now decided to concentrate on al-Qaeda—nearly three years after the fact.

If that’s a victory strategy, I sure as heck would hate to see the losing one.

Our alliances are in pieces. And before you start giving me that line about the coalition of the willing, let’s look at what Colin Powell has to say about it:

“Well, one, we didn’t put together just the coalition of the willing. A coalition is always a coalition of the willing. And this particular coalition of the willing now has 47 nations; 47 nations are openly members of the coalition, and have asked to be identified with this effort. And there are many other nations that for a variety of reasons don’t want to be publicly identified, but are also a part of the coalition of the willing”.

What kind of alliance is it that has members that don’t want to be identified? And don’t get me started on the vital contributions of countries like El Salvador and Palau. With all due respect to the coalition, it’s a strange alliance that has two members—America and Great Britain—carrying almost all of the burden.

Our intelligence networks are shattered. And we still don’t know how the greatest intelligence failure in American history happened—mostly because the President you admire so much won’t cooperate with the commission he was forced, by shame, to appoint in order to figure out how it happened. And let’s not forget how he originally appointed that mortician of truth, Henry Kissinger, to run the commission, until he was forced, by shame, to find someone else.

So, I ask you, Glenn, Andrew, Steve, and all the rest of you:

Is this how we fight a war on terror?

By angering our friends?

By destroying our intelligence networks, in pursuit of faith-based evidence?

By attacking Saddam when we should have gone after Osama?

By letting our mortal enemies run away, to breathe free and easy, while our families and friends moulder in a mass grave in Manhattan?

Because if it is, and you haven’t said otherwise, then it’s clear to me that you haven’t a clue as to how to fight. You can talk all you want about how the President talks tough, but at the end of the day, if the bluster isn’t backed by actions, beyond invading and sacking a tinhorn dictatorship, then that’s all it is: talk.

And that’s how the right wing fights this war on terror: with lots of talk, but nary a walk, all in the service of defeat, not victory.

But I could be wrong. Show me.

I’m waiting.


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