It's Time to Talk About al-Qaeda

PJ Crowley thinks it's time to reassess the US strategy in the war on terror
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2012 1:51 PM CDT
Updated Oct 22, 2012 1:59 PM CDT
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney shake hands at the end of the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, Oct. 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – All right, America. It's time we had a talk about terrorism. "We've been at war with al-Qaeda for at least 11 years and still don't know how to have an effective political or, more important, strategic conversation about it," writes PJ Crowley in the Daily Beast. In the wake of the Benghazi attack, the candidates have spent more time arguing about what to call it than what to do about it. "Just calling the attack terrorism is not enough. Terrorism is a tactic."

So at tonight's debate, let's move beyond "gotcha" politics and discuss the attack's implications. Is al-Qaeda "shifting gears from high-end global plots to low-end local attacks"? Do we respond by trying to form a Yemen-esque partnership with Libya's government? Do we risk relying on drones, despite growing international outrage over civilian casualties? "These are questions that don't lend themselves to campaign soundbites. But if the candidates can move beyond the incessant thrust and parry of the campaign," they might actually advance America's understanding of this war. Click for Crowley's full piece. (Read more presidential debate stories.)

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