Glenn Greenwald discusses the administration position that the war on terror is expect to continue for and, in terms of importance, why that should be the lead story in the news instead of the Benghazi, IRS, or DOJ/AP scandals.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.
He makes a good point. Attacks on the U.S. by foreign terror organizations have universally been in response to perpetual Western (especially U.S.) interference in the affairs of middle eastern countries. The U.S. then uses that as an excuse to further ramp up and broaden that interference which leads to broader foreign support for the very terrorist organizations we claim to be fighting. Contrary to the common belief that wars happen to the U.S., the real fact of the matter is that the U.S. pursues war.
…the “war on terror” cannot and will not end on its own for two reasons: (1) it is designed by its very terms to be permanent, incapable of ending, since the war itself ironically ensures that there will never come a time when people stop wanting to bring violence back to the US (the operational definition of “terrorism”), and (2) the nation’s most powerful political and economic factions reap a bonanza of benefits from its continuation. Whatever else is true, it is now beyond doubt that ending this war is the last thing on the mind of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner and those who work at the highest levels of his administration. Is there any way they can make that clearer beyond declaring that it will continue for “at least” another 10-20 years?
If the past is any measure, public opposition to war is only roused by flag-draped caskets of American soldiers, the institution of the draft, and burdens that bring the actual cost of war directly to their front to in a highly visible way. Neither political party is against war. Blind patriotism is becoming just as widely embraced by the left as the right.
Another factor affecting the public reaction to the permanent war on terror is the stunning lack of understanding of (or interest in ) how U.S. military activities in the Middle East provoke a terrorist response. Furthermore, Americans think that terrorism violates the ethics of war, so it’s easy to demonize the terrorists who are simply retaliating with the only methods that make sense against an opponent that could easily crush them in a conventional conflict.
The U.S. is engaged in a global war with objectives that have never been defined against an enemy that is perpetually being redefined and with no idea what constitutes winning or losing or how to know when it’s over. If war is the health of the state, then this state has truly arrived.