Let’s Talk Tough on Terror

By: Rachel Marsden

If anyone’s going to cause us to lose this War on Terror, it’s guys like NDP leader Jack Layton who don’t understand the importance of wartime PR. Now that Canada has racked up a whopping ten casualties fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan since 9/11, Jack feels that it’s time to publicly debate why we’re there. Hey Jack, don’t you have a parade float to go decorate, or something?

Wartime rhetoric is important because western nations can’t fight wars of attrition anymore, and something has to compensate for that. We could manage high casualties during World Wars I and II when communications were poor and the public had a low body bag sensitivity as a result. But everything changed the day TV Bingo-caller Walter Cronkite apparently found his military expert certification inside a box of Cracker Jacks on the plane ride over to Vietnam, and officially declared US efforts hopeless, despite witnessing a virtual implosion of the Viet Cong enemy. Public perception quickly followed anyway.

Now every single war is peppered with media types who, thanks to technology, can whine to the folks back home, 24/7, in real-time. Three hangnails, one bad hair day and a fender-bender in a war zone now officially constitute a “quagmire”.

Unfortunately, our enemies are paying attention to this bellyaching, too. Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani biographer revealed in a recent book that Osama monitors the western media and watches Larry King on CNN. (Uh, hello? Can someone please trace this guy through his service provider, already?)

It’s the craziest mofos who win wars. Right now, that’s not us. We’re up against people who will gladly self detonate just for a shot at getting laid in the afterlife. Our guys have Internet porn and indoor plumbing—so by comparison, life is much more worthwhile.

Since we can’t match them in craziness, the key is to fake it so the enemy thinks the guy hovering over the red button is a mere cappuccino away from the “big twitch”. US President Ronald Reagan was the master at this. By 1983, Reagan’s rhetoric was so ramped-up that the Soviets were terrified the Gipper was going to use NATO war games to score the big touchdown. A year later, he joked: “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Is it any wonder why the Soviets ultimately dropped their toys and ran?

Likewise, just before George W. Bush blitzed Iraq, prompting Saddam Hussein to take a running dive into a dirt hole, his tough-talk led Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, to lay down some skid marks of his own. “Bush is not Clinton. I think this is the end,” he reportedly said to Iraqi media.

Only since Bush has laid off the tough talk—around the same time the media went ballistic over US military shenanigans at the Abu “Crotch” Ghraib terrorist prison—has Iran started to get uppity again.

To win this war, the bad guys have to believe that we’re capable of kicking their butts. Only conservatives can do that credibly. Flaming liberals like Layton need to zip it and focus on their Chomsky tapes and CBC specials until this war is over. Please. Unless you want to go back to the days when Middle Eastern despots ran roughshod over western interests while the lefties in charge were busy fending off giant “swamp rabbits” (Jimmy Carter) or playing grab-ass with White House interns (Bill Clinton).