David Tucker writes a sobering piece trying to tie together the three wars (Terror, Afghanistan, Iraq) we are in, or soon will be in, and says that it is not clear that we are winning the two we are currently in. Although a good piece, it is made difficult by the attempt to be comprehensive; in tying all three together (which is proper) he also attempts to differentiate between them by, for example, asserting that the Iraq war may be seen to be the "first counterproliferation war," which has its own problems. Plus, he insists that the strategy involved in the war on terror is imperfect: it is more important to get information about and from our enemies, than it is to kill them, and it is hard for the military mind to understand this. All this is OK, but then he gets utopian when he talks about what a total victory over terrorism would be:
"when the sons and nephews of those who lead al Qaeda have repudiated what their fathers and uncles did." Well, I am not opposed to trying this (and it succeeded, for example, in Germany, Hungary, and Poland; but not fully, arguably, in Japan) as long as we understand that it is both very long range and unlikely to be fully successful. In the meantime, there are pressing things that have to be done: getting information on who and where the bad guys are and preventing them from killing us. Then we can be setting up regimes that are freer and more human for the sake of the sons and nephews (and us). Over time, a long time, they might repudiate and disown their fathers. But there is no guarantee.