The Cold war strategy employed by the West assumed two things:
1) The Soviet Union was not suicidal. Although they did not agree with us on many fundamental things, they did want to bring up their children. They realized early on that a full-scale nuclear exchange would wipe out both sides. This is commonly accepted as the main reason why the Soviet Union turned their ships around in 1962.
2) Time was on our side. Due to our open societies, sooner or later they had to open up. And when they did, we GOCHA! At that point, they would join us.
These two assumptions are invalid regarding the war on terror today. While the Soviet Union was not interested in direct confrontation, today we see the opposite. Suicide attack is a common feature today in Iraq. Will people who use this ideology stop if they were threatened with annihilation? Japan did, although this is a new situation. With terrorists being so de-centralized, I find it difficult to believe that any Islamic terrorist organization would NOT use a WMD if they were ever able to. Once WMD goes off, EVERYTHING changes. The loss of life would make the current war in Iraq look very small by comparison.
Time is NOT on our side. Sooner or later an Islamic terrorist organization will obtain and deploy an effective weapon of mass destruction. It can only be a matter of time. What position do we want to have at that point? Playing good defense against WMD is sound ONLY if prevention was effective. I prefer to do both: Keep our defense strong, but have an effective offensive as well. The strategic initiative is ours by our ‘occupation’ of Iraq. The enemy MUST attack us there. Attack our army? That has got to be VERY expensive in both soldiers lost and equipment destroyed and captured. This cannot have any effect other than to drain resources that would be better-utilized attacking ‘soft’ targets, like shopping malls. A good offense will help ANY defense, good or bad.