Tim Blair


New Criterion



Sunday, October 17, 2004
It shouldn't happen doesn't mean it won't.

Mark Steyn is convinced that the absurdity of John Kerry's description of the war of Islamist terror on the US as a "nuisance" will not wash with voters.
This is aside from the basic defect of the argument: If some gal in your building is working as a prostitute, that's a nuisance -- condoms in the elevator, johns in the lobby; if Islamists seize the schoolhouse and kill your kids, even if it only happens once every couple of years, ''nuisance'' doesn't quite cover it.

When all they could do was kill a few dozen here, a few hundred there, they were a ''nuisance'' to Clinton, Cohen, Kerry and Co.; when they came up with a plan that killed thousands, they became something more than a nuisance. But that change in status was determined largely by them. The Kerry Doctrine leaves it in their hands. And, in this kind of conflict, if you're not on the offensive, you're losing.
John Howard's victory a week ago says he's right.

The victory yesterday of the Stanhope Labor government in the Canberra sheltered workshop says otherwise. Eighteen months of buck-shifting, and an official enquiry held hostage by a posse of QCs, has only polished the reputation of the government responsible for comprehensively failing in its duty to protect and inform its community.

Kerry is offering what John Howard offered when he was a failing opposition leader an aeon ago. You may recall Howard promised a return to a safer world, with a white picket fence to lock out our worries. Kerry offers to do the same for the American people, with dipomacy, the UN and Europe providing the pickets.

On the other hand, the US doesn't think it's Canberra.