I firmly believe that, unless we continue to act stupidly, we will win the war against radical Islamic terrorism.
In fact, I think we were already winning that war long before Sept. 11, 2001.
This will be my last column on the topic of why I'm voting for John Kerry, because I'm tired of it. And anyway, by this point if you haven't already made up your mind for whom you will vote then you might as well close your eyes and push whatever button you are destined to punch come Nov. 2.
First, the reason why I think we'll eventually win the war on terrorism is not because we have the strongest military in the world. Those guys and gals are doing a bang up job, but military action is actually just the smallest part of the war.
The greater part of the war is the struggle of ideals, those that motivate our enemies and those that motivate America and the Western world.
I was reading "The 9/11 Commission Report" as any intelligent American should be, and I came across something in the history of Osama bin Laden that cinched it for me.
Bin Laden bases much of his radical nonsense on the writings of the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb. Qutb, who was executed in 1966 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, believed that the world, and especially America, was beset by jahiliyya, which means the "period of ignorance prior to the revelations given to the Prophet Mohammed," according to the commission report.
And in his own writings Qutb says that more people are attracted to the material comforts of jahiliyya than to the kind of Islam he believed in.
That's the key.
My conversation with Aryo B. Pirouznia, coordinator for the Student Movement Coordination for Democracy in Iran, a couple of weeks ago also gelled with this concept. Pirouznia said basically that only a crazed moron would chose radical Islam over moderate Islam and the Western style of living.
This is a phenomenon I've witnessed first hand. Everybody likes Coke and McDonalds and American movies everywhere I went in Asia. Even if they don't like us, they like the way we live.
It's natural. It's pervasive.
Especially in the years following the fall of the Soviet Union, America enjoyed a hegemony based not on the world's fear of our military but on their love for our lifestyle.
That's why bin Laden and his pals attacked us. They saw what was happening and knew that eventually nobody would choose the aesthetic lifestyle they see as the path to heaven.
He's right. And the reason he's going to lose is because it's already too late.
Even the commission saw it. In their recommendations for what to do next, they talk about our need to essentially set an example for the rest of the world.
It is on this point that I believe President George Bush has failed. The war in Iraq has set us back in this larger part of the war.
The war on terrorism did not start on Sept. 11, 2001, and it's not just our war. We're coming in at the middle of a struggle that has been burning the world for most of the last century and, so far, the early years of this one.
That means we have allies in this fight with whom we must once again start working. At the same time, we must stay focused on defeating the immediate enemies, Osama bin Laden wherever he is and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.
On the latter, it would be nice if we could avoid all civilian deaths, but that's probably not possible. And we shouldn't wait to retake Fallujah if that's what it will take to crush al-Zarqawi.
Al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian with Al-Queda ties who has been kidnapping and beheading foreigners, is the next big thing in terrorism. We really should get him now.
As for Iraq, I like many of Kerry's recently advanced ideas, but I worry that many of them won't be obtainable any more than elections in January. But I have less confidence that Bush's handling of things will be any better.
One thing, as recommended in an article in the New Zealand Herald, we should perhaps take precautions to protect recruits for the Iraqi security forces such as sending them to camps outside the city.
Of course there are issues beside foreign policy. On economics, well, it looks like we're going to increase our debt either way.
Bush pushing more tax cuts that probably won't work, Kerry pushing a health care plan that, according to the ABC News Web site, is possibly "under-priced" with "some savings that are wishful thinking."
Kerry, by the way, favored the five- and six-year extensions of the middle-income tax cuts although he reportedly would have preferred bigger government child-support checks to low income families over the $13 billion business tax break that was included.
Of course, according to the ABC News article, Brian Riedl, a budget analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said "Neither party has offered a detailed or realistic plan."
So, damned if we do and damned if we don't, uh? Guess that doesn't do much to tip the scales, does it?
Thus, I'm sticking with Kerry. I realize this makes me a minority here in Georgia, but I'm not one to let the mob do my thinking for me.
And that's all I have to say on the subject.
Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .