U.S. has made war on terror a war without end

Fareed Zacharia writes: Whatever you thought of President Obama’s recent speech on Afghanistan, it is now increasingly clear that the United States is winding down its massive military commitments to the two wars of the last decade.

We are out of Iraq and we will soon be largely out of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self. Threats remain but these are being handled using special forces and intelligence. So, finally, after a decade, we seem to be right-sizing the threat from terrorist groups.

Or are we?

While we will leave the battlefields of the greater Middle East, we are firmly committed to the war on terror at home. What do I mean by that? Well, look at the expansion of federal bureaucracies to tackle this war.

Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet – the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons. The largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs is now the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people.

The rise of this national security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government’s powers that now touch every aspect of American life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. Some 30,000 people, for example, are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the United States.

In the past, the U.S. government has built up for wars, assumed emergency authority and sometimes abused that power, yet always demobilized after the war. But this is, of course, a war without end. [Continue reading…]

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4 thoughts on “U.S. has made war on terror a war without end

  1. dickerson3870

    RE: “U.S. has made war on terror a war without end”

    From: Josh Ruebner, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
    Sent: Monday, May 07, 2012 12:16 PM

    Take Action: House Vote as Early as Tomorrow to Expand U.S.-Israeli Military Ties
    Dear ****,
    We need you to take action right now to make your voice heard in opposition to a resolution that the House will vote on as early as tomorrow to strengthen the U.S.-Israel military relationship.
    Sign this petition to Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the sponsor of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, opposing this resolution. If we get 10,000 or more signatures on this petition by tomorrow, we’ll personally deliver it to Rep. Cantor before the vote. . .
    TO SIGN THE PETITION – http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10402

  2. delia ruhe

    “We don’t look like people who have won a war. We look like scared, fearful, losers.”

    The US populace might be getting, on average, stupider, thanks to its failed education policies and the eagerness with which Fox News, Limbaugh, and others have leaped in to fill up the vacuum. But even present Americans can easily see the contradictions in Washington’s security strategies. While bragging about the death of bin Laden and the decline of al Qaeda, Washington nevertheless suggests quite the opposite through its spending regime. The day after bin Laden was killed, Homeland Security should have been slashed by 50 percent, and the excesses of airport security should have been eliminated.

    The US used to be able to count on its myth of exceptionalism to keep the populace in harmony with its military obsessions. For if you live in “the greatest country on earth,” then it stands to “reason” that everybody else wants to take it away from you. What better reason to keep the bloated Pentagon budget bloating. But Americans are no longer convinced of their country’s preeminence. Their government no longer even knows how to get a jobs program going, much less how to protect the country from “enemies.”

  3. Norman

    The enemy’s are right here at home. Right now, they are looting the treasury without fear of being caught.

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