As the lambasting of sliding-into-retirement Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien continues, the founding editor of Slate makes a good argument for the kinds of analysis our PM (with whom I disagree on a number of other issues) is making about the campaign against terrorism, and against saying that terrorists are just evil, evil, evil all the time:
There are many people, unfortunately, who would be happy to hijack four airplanes, fly them into crowded buildings, and kill 3,000 Americans. In terms of malign intent, they all are evil. But only one of them managed to actually do it. [...] If the great essential truth about terrorism is that some people just hate the United States, the obvious next question is, Why? But that is precisely the question that offends the All-About-Evil crowd, because it leads in [...] unacceptable directions.
Just fighting evil isn't going to do it, because to fight it you must understand it, unpalatable and complicated as that might be.