"We will not yield to these people."In all honesty and sincerity, I'd like to ask him at this moment: What does that mean?
What other option is there, really? Does anyone, anyone (including the terrorists themselves) expect Bush to one day come out after a bombing and say, "All right, you win. We've had it. My administration will be out of the White House by dawn and you Al-Qaida guys can move in. We'll leave the keys under the doormat."? And, be fair you conservatives out there, do you honestly think that a President Gore or a President Kerry would ever do anything remotely similar?
Of course we will not yield. In actuality, the statement can be taken as a standard response that a leader makes almost out of courtesy. People expect the President to say such things after a crisis. But I'd like to make one other point about it. He uses the term "yield" to reinforce the concept that our fight against terrorism is a "war".
It's not a war. There's no yielding of territory in this fight. War, of course, usually has a clear and definable objective. Our fight against terrorism is a fight against dangerous ideals and individuals, not countries and armies. When this fight grew too abstract to yield satisfying results (like, oh I don't know, capturing Osama Bin Laden, perhaps?), Bush decided to invade a country that he knew he could conquer. Therefore, he could say defeating Iraq was a victory in his "War on Terror". After all, we had captured all this territory, so we must be doing well, right?
Some might think that I'm over-reading into a single word that Bush might have chosen on the spur of the moment. Perhaps he meant that we will not be frightened to the point that our daily lives are filled with fear. That is, after all, the best way to respond to terrorism: refuse to be intimidated. And that should indeed be our response (Along with forming ties with the world bodies and intelligence agencies to track down, capture and prosecute terrorists everywhere).
But Bush and this White House has made all of us jaded when it comes to their words. His advisors and speech writers do all they can to subtly and un-subtly connect Terrorism and Iraq. Their "War on Terror" is counted as one-and-the-same with the "War in Iraq" to the point that the fate of the later hangs in the balance equally with the former.
When it comes to Terrorism, there is no territory and there is no victory; only struggle. One day, we hope, that struggle will wear down terrorists to the point that their presence in the world is a mere shadow of what it is today. Until that day, the world will persevere amid any catastrophes (both terror-related and Bush-related) that come our way.