Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There is no "War on Terror"

When will a credible "leader" publicly pronounce the simple, devastating truth: the "War on Terror" is a phantastic notion with no basis in law or reality.

Start with the obvious and oft-stated, what "war"? Sure declarations of war have been passé since Korea, and one hates to split hairs about petty things like sending people off to kill and die, but still: only Congress is empowered to declare war, to officially declare that someone is our enemy. Sure, the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) provided some legal cover for the use troops, but it's not a "war". What should we expect from Congress? As in the Viet Nam era, it has behaved in a cowardly and craven manner. If they wanted a war, they should have declared it. But they didn't. And simple "police actions" shouldn't require wholesale suspensions of civil rights.

So who cares about legalisms -- war is war, they started it, and now we're in a fight for our lives. Right?

Well, how can you wage war against a tactic? Terrorism is a tactic, difficult to define, perhaps, but we all know it when we see it, right? Yeah, maybe. And terrorism, like steroid use, is already illegal -- violates the "rules of war", no? But we can't seem to stop people from breaking the rules. Anyway, we're not really at war against the tactic (which I think we're probably too willing to use ourselves).

Stupid blame-America-firster, it's a figure of speech, not a literal war. We're in a life-or-death struggle against the Islamo-fascists.

We are told that the enemy are adherents of a dangerous religious ideology...would that be a religiology? Anyway, is it just Al Qaeda? Probably not. Or at least, not anymore. Saudis? Wahhabist Muslims in general? Or maybe it's bigger than that: if we're fighting everyone who's against us, everyone who "hates us because of our freedoms" -- maybe, maybe it's a war against America-haters!

If we can't define the "enemy" any better than that, how on earth can we devise effective strategies and tactics to either defend ourselves OR attack  "them"?

So, as a figure of speech, the "War on Terror" is vaporware. It might as well be a campaign against scary movies. Except... that it has the collateral effect of actually creating more fear. Ironic. Or not.

As Robert Scheer says on Huffington Post: "Terrorism, which should be treated clinically as a dangerous pathology threatening all modern societies, instead has been seized upon as an all-purpose propaganda opportunity for consolidating this administration's political power."

Well articulated, Robert, but aren't we still nibbling around the edges of this white elephant? Where is the full frontal assault -- i.e., the "War on Terror" is a fucking lie.


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