Stu Bykofsky thinks he knows what ails America, and he's got the cure. What America needs most, Bykofsky writes in the Philadelphia Daily News, is unity -- as provided by our friends in al-Qaeda:
ONE MONTH from The Anniversary, I'm thinking another 9/11 would help America.
What kind of a sick bastard would write such a thing?
A bastard so sick of how splintered we are politically - thanks mainly to our ineptitude in Iraq - that we have forgotten who the enemy is.
It is not Bush and it is not Hillary and it is not Daily Kos or Bill O'Reilly or Giuliani or Barack. It is global terrorists who use Islam to justify their hideous sins, including blowing up women and children.
Iraq has fractured the U.S. into jigsaw pieces of competing interests that encourage our enemies. We are deeply divided and division is weakness.
Not only does he actually pine for another terrorist attack on America, he actually offers a few targets for AQ to consider:
What would sew us back together? Another 9/11 attack.
The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Chicago's Wrigley Field. The Philadelphia subway system. The U.S. is a target-rich environment for al Qaeda.
Not only does Bykofsky have the wrong prescription, he has the wrong diagnosis. The problem isn't a lack of unity in America; when have we ever been entirely of one mind? Americans thrive on diversity of thought and political opinion, on finding the best way forward by hashing out all of the options. It's a strength and not a weakness.
The problem that Bykofsky just misses in this piece -- and not by much -- is the nature of a terrorist conflict. Americans simply haven't shown the fortitude needed to fight one to the end, at least not since our attention spans shrunk from overexposure to cathode-ray tubes. We fought the Barbary Pirates for decades just after the nation's birth, and we fought the Native Americans for decades before and after the Civil War (with little honor). Another attack on America would simply repeat the dynamic of 9/11, which would be that we commit to a fight for a couple of years, until everyone started complaining about costs and casualties to the point that Congress started demanding withdrawal.
The attack of 9/11 called for a long-term strategy to change the power base of the terrorists in order to give them barren ground from which to operate. We needed to isolate and destroy the sponsors of terror and attempt to end the radicalizing elements of the Middle East. In order to do that effectively, we needed to resolve the Iraq standoff, which had tens of thousands of our military pinned down in a failing sanctions regime. Liberating both Afghanistan and Iraq would isolate Iran and cut off vital transit routes for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Americans thus far have shown that long-term strategies don't work, not because we can't accomplish those missions, but because Americans have little patience for them. Another 9/11 won't solve that problem, but it will kill a lot more Americans. The Daily News should ask itself whether it wants to be associated with a columnist that fantasizes about unity through mass murder, for little point at all. (via The Moderate Voice)
UPDATE: Shaun Mullen at TMV points out that this was the Daily News, not the Inquirer.