Terrorism has been the defining issue for this presidency, and it might still be the biggest issue in the next presidential term. Those of us who plan on voting this November should probably put some thought into the topic before going out to the ballot box.

With that in mind, I wanted to talk to an expert on the subject so that my inexperienced writing doesn’t affect you too much. I fought tooth and nail to get a hold of one of America’s foremost terrorism experts for an interview. What follows is the transcript of my conversation with decorated Army Ranger Duke, from G.I. Joe.

Me: Hi, Duke. Years ago, you dedicated your life to battling the terrorist forces of COBRA. How has the fight against terrorism changed since you started?

Duke: Surprisingly little. On thing that has changed, though, is that in my day you could easily recognize COBRA operatives by the creepy dark costumes they wore. That’s not the case anymore. Now you have to find terrorists by looking for turbans.

Me: We’ve made a lot of progress against terrorism in the past few years. For instance, we invaded Iraq, which over 50 percent of Americans believed had ties to al-Qaeda. Is terrorism still the greatest threat facing America?

Duke: Some people would tell you that it never was. They would cite statistics about more Americans dying each year from preventable disease, malnutrition and pollution than have ever been killed by terrorists. Those people are deliberately helping the terrorists. You should report them to me, so I can kick their terrorist-loving asses. The fact is that terrorism has been America’s greatest enemy from her very inception, from Indian raids to slave uprisings to al-Qaeda.

Me: Wait a minute. Weren’t the country’s founders themselves using terrorist guerrilla attacks?

Duke: No, there’s a difference. They had the support of the American people, which makes it legitimate. The American government has a history as long as my arm of acting in ways that might be confused with terrorism. We teamed up with Osama bin Laden to fight the Russians in Afghanistan and trained fighters in Latin America who slaughtered whole villages. As recently as 2002, we provided support for a group of insurgents in Venezuela in the hopes that they would overthrow their democratically elected president. But if any of these actions were wrong, Oliver North would be behind bars and not a celebrated hero, wouldn’t he?

Me: What do you think about the claim that terrorists are driven by desperation and that ending their people’s repression will eliminate the threat of terrorist attacks? For instance, do you think that there would have still been Indian raids and slave uprisings had we given them back their land, women, freedom and precious colored beads?

Duke: That’s just silly. Terrorists are criminals, and you can’t encourage them by being soft. It’s just like domestic crime – you increase the usage of the death penalty and the crime rate drops.

Me: Actually, that doesn’t seem to have helped at all.

Duke: Oh. Well, at least I’ll have job security. Go Joe!

Daily Nexus columnist Loren Williams has been MIA since shortly after this interview, when Duke realized he was sort of talking shit. If you see him, run.