The Next Attack

Kevin Drum wonders what, exactly, it is that hawks are afraid John Kerry won’t be tough enough to do. On a related point, I’m wondering what either man would do if we face another major terrorist attack. After 9–11 we had a fortunate confluence of a public desire for some retaliating with a logic means of retaliation — topple the Taliban. I imagine that after another attack people will still feel, on a gut level, like we ought to retaliate, but there really won’t be anything to be done. Just as Australia and Indonesia didn’t respond after Bali, and Spain didn’t respond after the Madrid attacks, if someone blows up Grand Central Station there’s not really going to be much of anything we can do in response. A lot of people, myself included, would find that pretty unsatisfying on an emotional level, but it’s hard to see any reasonable policy options.

You’re going to have, meanwhile, a certain group of people trying to blame Iran for anything that happens, but they’re not actually going to have been responsible, and no president who gives a damn about his re-election (or his brother’s presidential campaign) would get us embroiled in something like that. At least I think they wouldn’t.