One more thing about last night's Eric Alterman appearance, and then I swear I'll let it go.
I was reminded of this by Nick Confessore's piece on the American Prospect weblog which talks about the problems the National Guard and Reserves are having with recruiting, the stop-loss orders that Rumsfeld has issues, etc.
Alterman noted that one of the biggest problems in dealing with the "War on Terror" or terrorism is that we're not really in a war on"terror." Terrorism is a tool used by the people we're fighting against. When FDR gave his "day that will live in infamy" speech, he wasn't asking us to go to war against "sneak-attack-ism;" he was asking us to go to war against Japan. The same is true of us--our was isn't against terrorism; it's against Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups who have declared war on Western culture.
It's an important distinction, because as many who have come before have noted, we'll never win the "war on terror." It can't be won--as long as there are groups who are outgunned and can't meet in open conflict with those they battle, there will be terrorism. But we can defeat Al-Qaeda and we can do much to improve the conditions in that part of the world from which Al-Qaeda gains much of its manpower and money and eat into their recruiting base. But we'll never do it unless we understand exactly what it is we're fighting against.