William F. Buckley
Angelo M. Codevilla is one tough hombre, yet his prescriptions are mobilizing, even for the weak-willed: There is muscle of the brain there. Not surprising, inasmuch as Mr. Codevilla is a professor of international relations at Boston University and a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute. It is in the sparkling Claremont Review of Books that Mr. Codevilla analyzes the war we are in, tells us why it is not achieving its purpose, and goes on to tell us what, in his gritty opinion, needs to be done. The least bellicose of which is "a declaration of war against the Assad regime by the U.S., Israel and Turkey." The good news is that such a move would "most likely produce a palace coup in Damascus."

What we are doing now, he tells us in some detail, is wasting our time. Our "War on Terrorism" has three parts: "'Homeland Security,' more intelligence, and bringing al-Qaida to 'justice.'" About this program, we are informed, "The first is impotent, conterproductive and silly. The second is impossible. The third is misconceived and is a diversion from reality."

The reason that the homeland security business is miscast is that the goal of protecting us from the terrorists is simply impossible. There are too many targets. An attempt to protect them (a) will not succeed, and (b) will set into motion restrictions on the American Way of Life that are themselves an objective of the enemy. It does not do, to countenance the threat of being killed, to commit suicide.

Intelligence of the kind we have working for us in the drug world -- the practice of integrating informers in the culture of the drug-importing network -- is beyond our reach. The assignment is too broad, our resources manifestly insufficient. We simply cannot produce a thousand Arab-speaking spies who can integrate themselves unnoticed in the warrens of the enemy.

As we are proceeding, we are not targeting the procreative citadels of the enemy. It is not so much Osama bin Laden we are after as those who permitted him to be strong and influential and, as a terrorist leader, productive. Our enemy? "It's the Regime, Stupid."

The principal sponsors of the terrorists are not religious fanatics. "Palestine's Yasser Arafat, Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Syria's Assad family have made themselves the icons of Islamism despite the fact that they are well-known atheists who live un-Muslim lives and have persecuted unto death the Muslim movements in their countries."


William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. is editor-at-large of National Review, the prolific author of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography.

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