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The 'War on Terror' Designed to Never End

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  • Ed Pearl
    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/266-32/15398-focus--the-war-on-terro r-designed-to-never-end The War on Terror Designed to Never End By Glenn
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2013

      The 'War on Terror' Designed to Never End

      By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK

      05 January 13

      As the Pentagon's former top lawyer urges that the war be viewed as finite,
      the US moves in the opposite direction.

      <http://readersupportednews.org/images/stories/alphabet/rsn-L.jpg> ast
      month, outgoing pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson gave a speech
      <http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/12/20121210645962539.html> at
      the Oxford Union and said that the War on Terror must, at some point, come
      to an end:

      "Now that efforts by the US military against al-Qaida are in their 12th
      year, we must also ask ourselves: How will this conflict end? ... 'War' must
      be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs. We
      must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the 'new
      normal.' Peace must be regarded as the norm toward which the human race
      continually strives...

      "There will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and
      operatives of al-Qaida and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and
      the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against
      the United States, that al-Qaida will be effectively destroyed."

      On Thursday night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow interviewed Johnson
      or-is-morally-forgivable/> , and before doing so, she opined as follows:

      "When does this thing we are in now end? And if it does not have an end -
      and I'm not speaking as a lawyer here, I am just speaking as a citizen who
      feels morally accountable for my country's actions - if it does not have an
      end, then morally speaking it does not seem like it is a war. And then, our
      country is killing people and locking them up outside the traditional
      judicial system in a way I think we maybe cannot be forgiven for."

      It is precisely the intrinsic endlessness of this so-called "war" that is
      its most corrupting and menacing attribute, for the reasons Maddow
      explained. But despite the happy talk from Johnson, it is not ending soon.
      By its very terms, it cannot. And all one has to do is look at the words and
      actions of the Obama administration to know this.

      In October, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reported
      b2ae-18b3-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_story.html> that the administration was
      instituting a "disposition matrix" to determine how terrorism suspects will
      be disposed of, all based on this fact: "among senior Obama administration
      officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be
      extended at least another decade." As Miller puts it: "That timeline
      suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was
      once known as the global war on terrorism."

      The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of
      years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war
      apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In
      the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted
      <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/us/25miranda.html> decades-old Miranda
      warnings; codified
      -detention-law> a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted
      ys-aclu> to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy
      <https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/12/12-7> , repression
      -to-guantanamo-prisoners.html> and release-restrictions
      2402601.html> at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential
      assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed
      <https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/12/31-1> the Bush/Cheney
      warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as
      -autopen_n_867851.html> the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just
      signed into law
      2402601.html> all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held

      Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on
      Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make
      their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and
      secrecy permanent? About all of this, the ACLU's Executive Director, Anthony
      Romero, provided the answer on Thursday
      amo-could-lead-claims-right-discriminate> : "President Obama has utterly
      failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day. His
      signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the
      illegal military commissions, will be extended."

      There's a good reason US officials are assuming the "War on Terror" will
      persist indefinitely: namely, their actions ensure that this occurs. The New
      York Times' Matthew Rosenberg this morning examines
      F0> what the US government seems to regard as the strange phenomenon of
      Afghan soldiers attacking US troops with increasing frequency, and in doing
      so, discovers a shocking reality: people end up disliking those who occupy
      and bomb their country:

      "Such insider attacks, by Afghan security forces on their Western allies,
      became 'the signature violence of 2012', in the words of one former American
      official. The surge in attacks has provided the clearest sign yet that
      Afghan resentment of foreigners is becoming unmanageable, and American
      officials have expressed worries about its disruptive effects on the
      training mission that is the core of the American withdrawal plan for

      "But behind it all, many senior coalition and Afghan officials are now
      concluding that after nearly 12 years of war, the view of foreigners held by
      many Afghans has come to mirror that of the Taliban. Hope has turned into
      hatred, and some will find a reason to act on those feelings.

      "'A great percentage of the insider attacks have the enemy narrative - the
      narrative that the infidels have to be driven out - somewhere inside of
      them, but they aren't directed by the enemy,' said a senior coalition
      officer, who asked not to be identified because of Afghan and American
      sensitivities about the attacks."

      In other words, more than a decade of occupying and brutalizing that country
      has turned large swaths of the population into the "Taliban", to the extent
      that the "Taliban" means: Afghans willing to use violence to force the US
      and its allies out of their country. As always, the US - through the very
      policies of aggression and militarism justified in the name of terrorism -
      is creating the very "terrorists" those polices are supposedly designed to
      combat. It's a pure and perfect system of self-perpetuation.

      Exactly the same thing is happening in Yemen, where nothing is more
      effective at driving Yemenis into the arms of al-Qaida than the rapidly
      escalated drone attacks under Obama. This morning, the Times reported that
      US air strikes in Yemen are carried out in close cooperation with the air
      force of Saudi Arabia, which will only exacerbate that problem. Indeed,
      virtually every person accused of plotting to target the US with terrorist
      attacks in last several years has expressly cited increasing US violence,
      aggression and militarism in the Muslim world as the cause.

      There's no question that this "war" will continue indefinitely. There is no
      question that US actions are the cause of that, the gasoline that fuels the
      fire. The only question - and it's becoming less of a question for me all
      the time - is whether this endless war is the intended result of US actions
      or just an unwanted miscalculation.

      It's increasingly hard to make the case that it's the latter. The US has
      long known, and its own studies
      <http://www.salon.com/2009/10/20/terrorism_6/> have emphatically concluded,
      that "terrorism" is motivated not by a "hatred of our freedoms" but by US
      policy and aggression in the Muslim world. This causal connection is not
      news to the US government. Despite this - or, more accurately, because of it
      - they continue with these policies.

      One of the most difficult endeavors is to divine the motives of other people
      (divining our own motives is difficult enough). That becomes even more
      difficult when attempting to discern the motives not of a single actor but a
      collection of individuals with different motives and interests ("the US

      But what one can say for certain is that there is zero reason for US
      officials to want an end to the war on terror, and numerous and significant
      reasons why they would want it to continue. It's always been the case that
      the power of political officials is at its greatest, its most unrestrained,
      in a state of war. Cicero, two thousand years ago, warned that "In times of
      war, the law falls silent" (Inter arma enim silent leges). John Jay, in
      Federalist No. 4, warned that as a result of that truth, "nations in general
      will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it . . .
      for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military
      glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to
      aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans."

      If you were a US leader, or an official of the National Security State, or a
      beneficiary of the private military and surveillance industries, why would
      you possibly want the war on terror to end? That would be the worst thing
      that could happen. It's that war that generates limitless power,
      impenetrable secrecy, an unquestioning citizenry, and massive profit.

      Just this week, a federal judge ruled
      an-remain-secret.html> that the Obama administration need not respond to
      the New York Times and the ACLU's mere request to disclose the government's
      legal rationale for why the President believes he can target US citizens for
      assassination without due process. Even while recognizing how perverse her
      own ruling was - "The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is
      not lost on me" and it imposes "a veritable Catch-22" - the federal judge
      nonetheless explained that federal courts have constructed such a protective
      shield around the US government in the name of terrorism that it amounts to
      an unfettered license to violate even the most basic rights: "I can find no
      way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the
      executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain
      actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws
      while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret" (emphasis added).

      Why would anyone in the US government or its owners have any interest in
      putting an end to this sham bonanza of power and profit called "the war on
      terror"? Johnson is right that there must be an end to this war imminently,
      and Maddow is right that the failure to do so will render all the
      due-process-free and lawless killing and imprisoning and invading and
      bombing morally indefensible and historically unforgivable.

      But the notion that the US government is even entertaining putting an end to
      any of this is a pipe dream, and the belief that they even want to is
      fantasy. They're preparing for more endless war; their actions are fueling
      that war; and they continue to reap untold benefits from its continuation.
      Only outside compulsion, from citizens, can make an end to all of this


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