It’s time to start calling

It’s time to start calling this….

WORLD WAR III

By any definition, the fight against terrorism is turning into a world war.

First factor: The major powers are engaged — the U.S. and Britain now; soon, Germany, France, and other NATO countries will be be sending troops. Russia and China are taking part, in their ways. Many other countries are involved: Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey….

Second factor: This is a war being fought on many fronts. It’s not just about hunting down one war criminal and his cult. Every Muslin/nonMuslim battleline is now drawn: The Arab world hopes that now is the time for the creation of a Palestinian state; Israel — under pressure from us — was reluctantly getting ready to go along; then terrorists met their agenda of agitating and avoiding peace with an assassination this week; now Sharon decrees that the Arafat era is over and he’s ready to fight. This is war. Meanwhile, India fears that we’re going to ally so closely with with Pakistan that it will affect its endless skirmish with Pakisatn Kashmir and so they launch attacks; this comes after terrorists launch their own attacks in India. This, too, is war. Indonesia threatens to flair up. Sri Lanka and the Philippines are not far behind. At the same time, Russia wants to mop up Chechnya and China is dueling with its Muslim minority. There are ever-present terrorist threats in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. And in the background, Iraq and Iran are dying to pick a fight with the West.

This is a world war.

But, of course, this will be nothing like the other world wars. This will be fought not in trenches or — in the longrun — from the air. This will be fought from inside countries. For the first time, the enemy is not apparent; it hides in caves and cheap New Jersey apartments and practices a strategy of silence. The enemy is among us. We are living in the battlefield. And that, by the way, is why the FBI’s performance during the anthrax attack is so disturbing, for we are depending on law enforcement (and, God forbid, the Post Office), not armed forces, to defend us at home and they are not prepared.

The President is right when he warns us that this will take time. This is a world war.

- Trenton’s day in infamy.