Not A World War

Niall worries about Giuliani's 9/12 fixation, his staggering ignorance and incuriosity about the world outside the U.S., and his penchant for pure aggression as a foreign policy. Money quote:

The reality is that the threat posed by Islamist terrorism today is wholly different from the threat posed by the Axis powers in 1941-42. To judge by Osama bin Laden's latest rant, he aims at mass conversion, not conquest (with low-interest loans as the latest inducement).

The Islamists have thousands rather than millions of trained warriors. Their most dangerous weapons are land mines and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, not aircraft carriers and guided missiles. The total number of American fatalities that can be attributed to this supposed world war is about 6,000 (adding together 9/11 victims with U.S. passports and the service personnel killed in action in Iraq). On average, the Axis powers killed about 20,000 Allied soldiers and civilians a day.

The threat is real, but it is different. The only people capable of winning this war understand this. Rudy doesn't. And it seems he doesn't want to. This is not the same as conservatism. Conservatism is not indistinguishable from the use of violence and raw state power to solve all problems.