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Archive for the ‘War on Terror’ Category

Zbigniew Brzezinski on the “War on Terror”:

The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves.

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This will seem like a victory only to those who are not disturbed the fact that these confessions originate from a military tribunal, under conditions we can only assume include torture, in the legal netherworld of Guantanamo. Or for those who are not disturbed that the President believes he has the right to imprison in solitary confinement and torture any of his subjects (for that is what we are today) at his will and without evidence, as in the case of Jose Padilla.

A much greater victory than the “confession” of one man would be the observance of due process. This is about the difference between principles and individuals, and the fact that the destruction of our particular enemies is not worth the abdication of those principles. E.g., very simply:

His attempt to call two witnesses was denied.

And the bizarreness of the planner of 9/11 feeling the need to make these kinds of admonishments, as if to say “I thought I was heartless ….”

While not contesting his own guilt, Mr. Mohammed asked the United States government to “be fair with people.” He said that many people who had been arrested as terrorists in the wake of 9/11 were innocent.

Or the strangest tof all:

He added, “The language of war is victims.”

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Another Washington Journal moment: “This is a Wahr,” the old woman reminded us. “This” — not two wars, the war on terror and the war in Iraq, the first a made-up fantasy and the second elective folly. The first not really a “this”, but rather an unending excuse for abuses of executive power and the folly of trying to use the blunt instrument of force against hidden cells; the second not legally a war (which in our forgotten Constitution, only congress can declare) but rather an executive military “action”. And neither really a war in planning or practice: no tightening of security on the first front, no establishment of security on the second.

The Republicans like to make a sentimental mockery of this notion of war and support of troops: they apply it liberally. What a boon 9/11 was to this fantasy of militarism, what an ultimate excuse for the occasional leisure aggression, to be waged with a fierce minimalism, watched from the living room, and lamented as if it were the great national sacrifice that it is not.

The great sacrifice that was asked of us, that we might have made: to find bin Laden, to target our enemies selectively, to improve our national security and intelligence apparatus, and to make rational our foreign policies. The great indulgence that we are engaged in: a prideful fantasy, a folly that is now approaching its logical conclusion — not a wahr at all, not a war, not even a battle, but the kind of tale that idiots craft for themselves, full of shock and awe, accomplishing nothing.

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