Kerry Envisions Terrorism As 'Just Another Nuisance'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30pm EDT

( - Sen. John F. Kerry -- in an interview with Sunday's New York Times Magazine -- said the Sept. 11 attacks "didn't change me much at all"; and said he hopes the country will return to the days when terrorism was "just a nuisance," the same way that prostitution and illegal gambling are a nuisance.

In the interview published on Sunday, Kerry told New York Times reporter Matt Bai, "As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise -- it isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.'"

Reporter Matt Bai said that Kerry's analogy struck him as "remarkable."

"Kerry, a former prosecutor, was suggesting that the war, if one could call it that, was, if not winnable, then at least controllable. If mobsters could be chased into the back rooms of seedy clubs, then so, too, could terrorists be sent scurrying for their lives into remote caves where they wouldn't harm us."

Kerry however, has made it clear he is dissatisfied with Osama bin Laden's "scurried-into-a-back-cave" status, and Kerry continually blasts President Bush for failing to capture bin Laden.

Reporter Bai said Kerry's vision strikes him as more hopeful than Bush's because, Bai said, Kerry foresees a day when anxiety about terror attacks "could somehow be made to recede until it was barely in our thoughts."

Bai also noted that when he asked Kerry how Sept. 11 had changed him, either personally or politically, he seemed to freeze for a moment: "It accelerated -- " Kerry paused. "I mean, it didn't change me much at all. It just sort of accelerated, confirmed in me, the urgency of doing the things I thought we needed to be doing."

Kerry said the 9/11 attacks didn't transform him as much as they angered and frustrated him - "that we weren't doing the kinds of things necessary to prevent it and to deal with it."

The Bush campaign blasted Kerry's remarks in a new TV ad: "Terrorism, a nuisance?" the Bush ad asks. "How can Kerry protect us when he doesn't understand the threat?"

The Kerry campaign fired back with an ad telling voters that President Bush recently said he doubted that the war on terrorism could ever be won. A few days after his comment to NBC Today show anchor Matt Lauer, President Bush said he meant that the terrorists would never surrender:

"In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table," Bush said. "But make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win."

The Bush campaign is trying to make the point that Sen. Kerry does not have a workable plan to win the war on terror.

Kerry continues to emphasize diplomacy, saying he would bring other countries into the war effort -- and blasting President Bush for going it alone in Iraq -- an insult to the 30 nations that are helping the U.S., the Bush campaign says.

Bush says Kerry -- by calling the war in Iraq "the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place" -- isn't likely to rally allies such as France and Germany to his side.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

MRC Store