2.13.2008

War is over, if you want it

The Global War on Terror is over.

Though George W. Bush for his own reasons denies that he's won, it's over. And it's over thanks in large part to the aggressive measures Bush took after 9/11: tracking down terrorist financing, intercepting communications, and unleashing military and intelligence teams around the world. And Guantanamo. Thank God for Guantanamo. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sang like a canary after a little waterboarding. If you don't love waterboarding, you're not paying attention.

It is a remarkable achievement that we have not had another organized terror attack on U.S. soil in six years. How hard would it be for a few Islamist nuts to put together an Oklahoma City-style truck bomb? Or send a couple dozen suicide bombers into shopping malls in a simultaneous wave of attacks across America? Or even set off a dirty bomb in a big city?

The fact that the Islamists haven't been able to pull off even the easiest of attacks is testament to the job GW has done destroying their network. I am not just surprised, but amazed. But the record is what it is.

Now I'm not saying that we should stop the tracking of terrorist finances or the monitoring of overseas communications or targeted military strikes against terrorist targets. To the contrary, these routine operations are what keep the terrorists from coming back. But that's not war. It's ongoing security maintenance.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Have you noticed how your airport TSA personnel have a less fascist attitude recently? They know the war is over. I got through a couple weeks ago with more than three ounces of toothpaste, which would have triggered a cavity search last year.

But most of all, the chief warriors in the Global War on Terror know that the war is over. GW Bush and John McCain are openly hostile to any attempt to secure the borders, which are obviously our most glaring vulnerability. They defunded the Secure Fence Act. If Al Qaeda wanted to put operatives in the U.S., it would be trivially easy to bring hundreds of them across the border from Mexico. GW and McCain obviously know what I'm telling you now: there is no threat of Al Qaeda operatives coming to the U.S.

I said some time ago that Osama bin Laden is a decrepit jackass hiding in a cave. That may have been giving him too much credit; he may well be dead. Regardless, it's clear that his network is not capable of what it was at the turn of the century. For that, we owe George W. Bush a debt of gratitude. But we don't need to heed Bush's, or his heir McCain's, call for perpetual war.

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