Reading elsewhere “We are at war.” … “When the Islamist butchers are dead, it will be over.” I am reminded that “we” do not know who we are at war with.
There are plenty of individuals and groups confident that they know, but there is no consensus.
Possibly we are war with rich angry young men like those who lead Al Queda. Possibly we at war with the vast soup of poor angry young men who’s most sophisticed source of learning is the local religious school. Possibly we at war with the problem of societies who’s civic structure is so weak they can offer no better alternative than that. Possibly we are at war with the ease with which a lone actor, or small group of actors can create terror and destruction far beyond thier size. If that’s a war against the way technology give ever increasing leverage to individuals. Maybe we at war with pirates. Maybe we are at war with authoritarian tyrants like Sadam Huessen or Iraq or Joesph Smith of Nigeria. Maybe we are at war with religous cults. Maybe we at war with those who demonize and polarize. Maybe we are war with problem of goverments so tenous, so weak that they tollerate terrorists or ‘harbor’ terrorists.
Possibly we are war with those who would use terror to drive people out of the middle ground and into the simple minded fringes. A place where the retoric is colorful, emotional, and wrong.