Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 20, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

IS KERRY BUSH LITE?....Military affair analyst William Arkin thinks Kerry is just Bush Lite when it comes to national security, and he's not happy about it:

By overstating the threat and overreacting to incidents, we not only give terrorists exactly what they seek, but we seem to create a panicked environment that clouds our judgment when it comes to intelligence, propels us into military adventures abroad and distorts our priorities at home.

....We need to rethink this problem, pure and simple, and Kerry needs to unburden himself from the conventional wisdom.

Otherwise, for many in the Islamic world, Kerry's adoption of the Bush administration's worldview and strategies merely reinforces the idea that the United States is indeed the problem, that there is a clash of civilizations that only might can resolve and that Islam will be an American target no matter who is president. If reducing terrorist attacks is the goal, I can't imagine more dangerous perceptions to foster.

Pieces like these are intensely frustrating. I know op-eds have space limitations, but Arkin spent 800 words providing a detailed critique of all of Kerry's (and Bush's) proposals and then apparently just ran out of steam. "We need to rethink this problem," he says rather unhelpfully. "The United States would be safer with a Democratic political platform that demonstrated fundamental disagreement about our current course."

But surely Arkin recognizes that "Calm down, terrorists aren't so bad" isn't exactly a winning campaign strategy? Kerry needs a positive program, not just "fundamental disagreement," and it's hard to see the point of an experienced military analyst writing a piece that doesn't provide one.

Kevin Drum 2:04 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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