The Impossible Imperative? Conjuring Arab DemocracyIssue: Fall 2002
Say what you will about Lyndon Johnson's imperfections, the man had a keen sense of the American character. "Our American people", he said during a November 1967 press conference, "when we get into a contest of any kind-whether it is a war, an election, a football game or whatever it is-we want it decided quickly; get in or get out." President Johnson's appreciation for Americans' lack of tolerance for ambiguities, particularly in matters of national security, bears on how we think about and deal with the problem of mass-casualty terrorism. Having to live with vulnerabilities of apocalyptic scale for an indefinite future is, for most Americans, simply inconceivable. It follows that there must be a way to end such vulnerabilities.