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

The Global War on Terror. (illustration: unknown)
The Global War on Terror. (illustration: unknown)

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.

ast month, outgoing pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson gave a speech 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, 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 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 decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.

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: "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 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 2014...

"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 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 government").

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 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 possible. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

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+87 # DaveM 2013-01-05 14:27
Of course it's not going to end. The ultimate goal is the establishment of a fascist government, which Americans are accepting without qualms as "protection". The odd thing is that mass terrorist attacks are still possible, should a terrorist group have the resources. And yet...none has occurred and the only "terrorists" Homeland Security etc. manages to catch are people "suspected of planning something" (generally on the most dubious of evidence).

If we want America to remain America, we should immediately commence disassembling the "security" infrastructure which is destroying this country from the inside. Bring our military personnel home or if need be put them to work actually benefiting the human race (the latest atrocity in Africa or the ongoing drug war in Mexico seem far better candidates than the Middle East). And let us get on with our lives--as Americans.
+76 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-05 16:12
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
+30 # Ralph Averill 2013-01-06 05:44
"or the ongoing drug war in Mexico seem far better candidates"
The War on Drugs is another self-perpetuati ng, never-ending war that has utterly failed at it's stated goal while justifying a huge and profitable police/prison industrial complex aimed primarily at men of color. It also is used to justify and to cover American military presence in Latin America.
It wasn't until the US had boots on the ground in Afghanistan that the poppy fields bloomed again.
+19 # joedeane 2013-01-06 07:25
The corporate state is an essential ingredient of fascism. In Italy and Germany it was the ideological party, the corporate system, the imperialist military, the imperialist nationalists and the dictator that were the driving forces of the fascist state. Today the driving forces of the state in the USA are somewhat different, but only somewhat. They are still the corporate system, the imperialist military, and the imperialist nationalists; but today a two party system is corporatist and imperialist; there is no need for a dictator or a single party system because the imperialist corporate system has already eliminated democracy and the republic for authoritarian rule. Today the fascist state is run by authoritarians who say they are pursuing democracy world-wide. The reality is the expansion of empire and permanent war, the stiffing of democracy in the Arab spring as well as in the US and in the EU under the cloak of "austerity" and "debt relief". We have no overt fascist ideology, but we have a nonsense ideology of so called world democracy and humanitarian intervention in which the fundamental elements of fascism are combined to give us the prison house of fascism, far more powerful and well entrenched in the USA. Again we have a brutal corporate state endeavoring to rule the world, reducing the system of so called sovereign states to an empire of a supremacist nation's aspiration to remake the world through military, commercial and financial subjection and vast inequality.
+4 # wrknight 2013-01-06 12:51
You are right, but it doesn't have to be that way. Americans could find and vote for good people that wouldn't be the servants of corporations. It's not impossible and there is still a chance to restore our republic.

So don't give up. Evict the incumbents who serve the corporations and try to find good candidates for public office, promote them and vote for them.
+4 # ptalady 2013-01-06 12:56
The "right" to confiscate (and sell)property involved in drug traffic is also a potent source of income to many law enforcement agencies, not to mention quite probably, in my opinion, the outright cultivation and sale of the stuff by US operatives.
+10 # Capn Canard 2013-01-06 10:34
DaveM, yes, and I believe most of us recognized that a war on terror is a license to have the Orwellian war that never ends...
+4 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:52
If "most of us recognized that a war on terror is a license to have the Orwellian war..." then why did such a vast majority vote for the evils of both lessers in that last election?
+9 # 666 2013-01-06 13:44
the only way this will end is when enough of us - US citizens - agree that all 3 branches of our government are no longer legitimate (nothing wrong with the constitution, it's those in control). It is NOT my government, my government is in the constitution. We really cant move forward until there is a consensus on this. Sadly there can be no "internal" reform, nor change through ballot box. Its too late. When sufficient momentum is achieved, we WILL rise up, peacefully I pray, and drive these corrupt sons of evil from power -- that and the evil financial system they have created.
Until then, we just going to be kept busy screaming at one another...
+3 # ptalady 2013-01-06 13:11
Bring them home how? Dismantle how? By what leverage? Can't use the courts, as described in the article above; can't use election process, as seen in past half-dozen or more elections. Occupy...yeah, right, that is sure to come to peacful change. Am I correctly remembering that when Mubarak fell, his successor proclaimed a bunch of "emergency powers" that he would for sure give up once things calmed down -- we see how that is going: quite predictably difficult/unlik ely for anyone to give up power voluntarily. Maybe another lesson from Egypt: Mubarak eventually fell (at least as far as I learned from the media) when the military switched sides to support "the rebels." Maybe we progressives should make better friends with the military, which in the end, is staffed with ordinary citizens prepared to kill and die for the liberties we were taught we have. This was the one tactic that was reported from the Occupy actions that made the most sense to me: educate the officers being asked to harm the occupiers about the officers own personal exploitation by the PTB. I think that is probably the arena in which truth has the best chance of mattering.
+5 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 17:06
Quoting DaveM:
Of course it's not going to end. The ultimate goal is the establishment of a fascist government, which Americans are accepting without qualms as "protection". The odd thing is that mass terrorist attacks are still possible, should a terrorist group have the resources. And yet...none has occurred and the only "terrorists" Homeland Security etc. manages to catch are people "suspected of planning something" (generally on the most dubious of evidence)...

And the FBI is continuously caught more and more now, though of course the MSM by and large doesn't tell us about it, manufacturing "terrorists", goading patsies into attempting to carry out actions they wouldn't otherwise perpetrate, funding them and giving them weapons, and then getting them to commit some act or acts for which the FBI and/or other U.S. government agencies are ready to thwart in a sting operation (or, allow to happen, if not actually being part of perpetrating, like both of the WTC attacks of 1993 and 2001, and the OKC bombing; in order to "justify" increasingly setting up an authoritarian and totalitarian national security militarized police state in the U.S.).

- Continued -
+7 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 17:30
They not only intentionally create more enemies abroad; they also intentionally create them right here at home, in the U.S.; and it's working like a charm for them, too; because most Americans are falling for it and actually cheer it on, just as many if not most of the citizens in the crumbling Roman Empire, Nazi Germany and Italy, and Spain, etc., did.
+1 # Joe Bob 2013-01-06 22:35
-76 # humanmancalvin 2013-01-05 14:44
Right or wrong, the one thing the right cannot carp over is Obama being soft on "The War On Terror."
Realistically, there are people or groups of people that wish to harm American citizens. I would love to see the end of wars but that is not reality. If one must be defensive to save oneself from harm then so be it.
+64 # Vern Radul 2013-01-05 16:19
"Realistically, there are people or groups of people that wish to harm American citizens."

Yes. Most of them in the White House, Wall Street, and other factions of the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

And some in other countries are fed up with US foreign policies and retaliating.

How can they have a "war on terror" without inventing as many "terrorists" as they possibly can?

It really should be called the War OF Terror.

The whole purpose of it is to terrorize Americans into submission.

They deserve all the credit they deserve.

It works. On most people.

The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear

This 3-hour, BBC documentary shows that the "threat of terrorism" is to a very large extent, "a fantasy manufactured by politicians, national security profiteers and Islamic terrorists in order to project and consolidate their own political power". The documentary reveals the origins of the "war on terrorism" in the Reagan Administration under the influence of Neocons like Michael Ledeen and their ally, former CIA Chief, William Casey.
+4 # ptalady 2013-01-06 13:17
war of terror -- exactly.
+49 # Michael_K 2013-01-05 16:24
OK, so you're scared out of your wits that some Arab loonie is hiding under your bed, and you think that curtailing MY rights to assuage YOUR irrational fears is an acceptable solution...

Realistically, you should be careful not to curtail my rights too much, else I might become far more dangerous to you than the imaginary bogey man under your bed. Savvy?
+25 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-05 20:24
Except that 9/11 was an inside job to perpetuate the military industrial complex which grinds out money by grinding out blood. And as for Osama Bin Laden-well dead men tell no tales, although obviously 'getting' him-dead or alive has not stopped the blood sausage machine. Why not just build an immense pyramid (think of the jobs!) and sacrifice your children, old people and poor directly on the altar of blood?
+32 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-01-05 21:56
Our nation is already doing this. We are sacrificing our children by sticking our babies is day 'care' centers, privatizing the schools and training them to answer questions with no thinking---just regurgitate the 'right' answer quickly. The poor people, the elderly and frail are having their benefits cut as prices of food and medicine go up and up. These people are being killed to keep the money going to the endless wars. Watch out! Austerity for the working people and the war on Iran will come through Syria. War against Iran will bring in Russia, China and India. Our only hope of ending this is for an awakening of the people of this nation. We have been fed lies for so long that I think people are beginning to see what is being done to us. It is time to say 'enough' and stand up against this madness.
+2 # joedeane 2013-01-06 08:20
Fools like you and the old good German patriarachal, patriot citizen make fascism possible. As Ben Franklin observed, you deserve neither safety nor freedom. Too bad you destroy the whole system with you and your blind obedience to authority and acceptance of their cock and bull about security and survival. Your too lazy to have any idea of what a republic and a democracy consist of.
+12 # Grout4cake 2013-01-06 08:30
What does it mean to have a"warrior class" as the headline below describes it?
It means we have a mercenary army, that bases its income on killing others.It means they wil not put up with having their source of income messed with.It means they and their wealthy and powerful lobby( the military industrial complex) will exagerate,fabri cate and terrorize the American citizenry into more more more war.
And eventually , should this class,skilled in killing those "far away" , see us as their enemy, they will not hesitate to turn on us...
Do you really think a military coup could not happen in the U.S.?
In many ways it already has.
+8 # RMDC 2013-01-06 08:55
"Realistically, there are people or groups of people that wish to harm American citizens."

Hell yes, there are billions of such people and I'm one of them. All of the crimes the US has committed all over the world means that we the citizens of the world have to do something to defend ourselves and if that means attacking and doing harm to Americans then so be it. If Americans would stop invading nations all over the world, overthrowing thier governments, arming/funding mercenaries to terroized people, and stealing their wealth, then people would not need to defend themselves by harming americans.

America is the greatest terrorist state in all human history. Ask the people of Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and a hundred other nations. The War on Terror is really the 6 billion people of the world trying to defend themselves from the predator nations in American and Europe. These nations know what they are doing. They even call some of their weapons "predators."

Native Americans called settlers from Europe predators. Euro-American civilization is a predator civilization and the world's people must defend themselves from these predators.
+8 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:02
Yes, "Realistically, there are people or groups of people that wish to harm American citizens...." And they are succeeding magnificently. The phoney war on terror enables them to get our collective approval. They are primarily located in three places: Wall Street, Washington, D. C., and Israel.

The rest of the world wonders why the rest of the US is so dumfoundingly suckered into paying exorbitant taxes & mortgages & accepting the resulting toxic substances into their air, water, and land, on behalf of that axis of evil.
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-01-06 12:42
Quoting humanmancalvin:
Right or wrong, the one thing the right cannot carp over is Obama being soft on "The War On Terror."
Realistically, there are people or groups of people that wish to harm American citizens. I would love to see the end of wars but that is not reality. If one must be defensive to save oneself from harm then so be it.

See "Cassandr's212' 's quote.
Ready to lie down are ya? It'd better be a pretty damn deep hole then; they'll get you too eventually, when they've flushed out and neutralized all the increasing list of "undesirables".
All this is doing is recruiting enemies both inside and outside the country and the walls will either implode or explode eventually, when they realize that the terror is from within'.
+34 # curmudgeon 2013-01-05 14:44
And each and every one of us that does not stand and raise hell.....are responsible as we collectively support the government that has provided untold riches to those who are preventing an end.

“Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan” the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (Stanford Law School) and the Global Justice Clinic (NYU School of Law), September 2012. Accessed at:

“Questions Raised in Deaths of Afghan Children in Coalition Strike” by Alissa J. Rubin, October 17, 2012, The New York Times. Accessed at:
+24 # Grout4cake 2013-01-05 19:32
If you stand and raise hell and the mainstream media refuses to cover it , did it happen?

That was my experience during the many efforts to stop the Iraq war under Bush ( bof 'em)
I think that is one of the reasons people just gave up trying to make a dent.
That ,and the election of a Democrat who has turned out to be even worse than Bush, just less bellicose
+4 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:12
Obama is far more bellicose than was Bush. Only his rhetoric is less bellicose.

And, domestically, he has proven repeatedly to be spineless.

All bullies are spineless. Like GWB, so BHO.
+35 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-01-05 14:58
"It's a pure and perfect system of self-perpetuati on." says it all. BUT, all these new laws/control by our government can be used against us if we dare challenge the power corporations have over our government/our world.
+45 # jedson 2013-01-05 15:02
This article is absolutely accurate. So called "progressives" must wake up to the fact that Obama is as much a part of this whole unspeakabley immoral and cruel charade as was Bush. Why are the Amreican people so easily deceived by smooth talkers?? Look at what a person does -- not what they say.

+39 # Barbara K 2013-01-05 15:05
You go Rachel! I was watching Rachel's show when she made those statements. This war needs to end. We have people right here who need to be taken care or, we have an infrastructure falling down around us and we have better use for all that money, than blowing up things in other countries. End the war and bring our kids home. All we are doing over there is making more enemies, and that should never be okay. Stop wasting our money and use it here. Let people of other countries handle their own problems, we cannot help them. They have their own ideals and we have ours. Just think of how much good in our own country all that pentagon and war spending could be doing.
+7 # Michael_K 2013-01-05 16:26
Why don't you try telling your "lesser evil" buddy this? He'll listen to you, since you're his base, right?
+5 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:17
It has been relentlessly astonishing to see how many voters supporting the lesser evil cannot imagine that voting based on fear is surrendering everything that matters.

The D party pretends to want to reclaim and extend the FDR state of civility and decency. Yet, since Truman, they have forgotten that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

The D party is the party of cowards. So is the R party, but their universal cowardice is now pulling them to shreds as their bullies rise to dominate their party.

That fate cannot be avoided by the fear-based D party over the coming elections.
-28 # George Kennedy 2013-01-05 15:14
In his piece, Fareed Zakaria on Foreign Policy, Why Barack is Like Ike, writes, Obama shares some of Eisenhower's character traits: "A deliberative process of decisionmaking, a disciplined evaluation of costs and benefits and perhaps above all an instinctive feel for the power of strategic restraint. How does that square with Greenwald's central thesis?
+14 # Michael_K 2013-01-05 16:26
Zakaria is a fool, that's how.
+20 # beeyl 2013-01-05 16:37
I haven't got time to read Zakaria's article, but what you've excerpted here is the kind of emotionless and detached verbiage that could have been written by a computer. Seriously, what the hell does it mean, that Obama has and Ike had "an instinctive feel for the power of strategic restraint"?

Obama breaks most of his promises, assassinates US citizens (and their teenage children), and generally enhances and codifies the fascist secrecy and unaccountabilit y to law enjoyed by the US military and government and their owners (big corporations). But (according to you) Zakaria thinks Obama is deliberative, disciplined, and instinctively restrained.

What kind of opiate-laced dope is that guy smoking?
+14 # Vern Radul 2013-01-05 17:04
What kind of opiate-laced dope is [Zakaria] smoking?

He's not. He's selling it.
+1 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:21
What it means is that those who refuse to think for themselves have a knack for believing whatever crap they can get to stick between their ears. That is why Obama won (and it is also why Romney would have won if the Ds were only a tiny bit less gullible). In other words, the whole nation is gullible as hell. But this is hardly something new.
+2 # 666 2013-01-06 13:49
correction, romney might have won if a small amount of those on the left didn't knuckle down to the big lie, that if they didn't vote BO, that romney would win, the surveillance state would increase, war would be eternal, taxes would rise.... in short people who could have known better got suckered by the relentless fear pitch from the obama groupies. Was it good for you?
+6 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-01-05 22:22
Because Zakaria is irrelevant. Obama's primary political principle is opportunistic utilitarianism: pick a solution that seems to work at this moment. Obama offers nothing less shallow.
+1 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:19
Fareed Zakaria is, like Obama, an unquestioning devotee of the Wall Street guided Global Empire project.

How does that square with the calculations that lead you to your question assuming Obama learned something worth knowing from Ike?
+24 # The Oracle 2013-01-05 15:55
From the day Bush invaded Afghanistan I asked someone, anyone, to describe what a victory would be. No one could do it. Except possibly those who said "when every Muslim is dead". I warned them that would be a difficult,long and costly objective to achieve.
+24 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-05 16:14
Not to mention, crude and immoral!
0 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:24
Revenge never was very thoughtful.

That is why Job was so successful at knocking God out of the sky.

And why Jesus could so easily finish Job's work.

And all the Judeo-Christian religions have been devoted to sticking the vengeful creep back up there ever since Job.
+1 # 666 2013-01-06 13:55
throughout history, people have realized the only long-term ways to maintain control of a conquered land are:
1) genocide
2) mass slavery & deportation
3) brutally repress the population socially, politically, economically, ethnically, etc. -- but even this is only a short term solution. The only ones that have ever really worked are #1 & #2.

Our government has been using #3 for a long time because to do so is the only method of long-term conquest that be framed as slightly humane (hey, at least we're not killing them...)

Now dont get me wrong, I am NOT advocating this, only pointing out the thin line between the state of affairs today (#3) and what might potentially be coming in the future. When we start practicing genocide (not just the random village massacres and drone attacks), but wholesale genocide or enslavement, then we've really lost our collective soul. Personally, I think we're well on our way.
+28 # The Oracle 2013-01-05 15:59
Dick Cheney said 100 years. Of course him and Bush invaded two countries but never did fight the War on I guess that makes it 107 years. And the Republicans tell us they're worried about handing off debts to our grandchildren.
+30 # Vern Radul 2013-01-05 16:23
It's been running for decades.

"Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the U.S. military machine to turn"

"3000 major operations, and 10,000 minor operations... bloody and gory beyond comprehension.. . we have organized death squads in countries around the world... operation in Afghanistan - biggest single operation in the history of the CIA secret wars... we produced the golden crescent - the largest source of heroin in the world... we count at least - minimum figure - six million people who've been killed [by CIA ops] in this long 40 year war that we've waged against the people of the third world"

-- Former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell -
+14 # Vern Radul 2013-01-05 16:34
The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.

I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.

In those difficult moments many hard-to-describ e ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

-- Osama bin Ladin, 01 November 2004
+10 # Grout4cake 2013-01-05 19:46
Would we even be doing what we are doing in the Middle east if it weren't for the rabid israeli Zionists and the treacherous APAIClobby who seem to have little of America's interests at heart?

I fully understand why Iran would want a nuclear weapon.They are surrounded by American troops and weapons on every side and they have oil.Plus nukes certainly worked for Pakistan who provided so many of the 9/11 attackers,and blatantly harbors virulent anti Americanism, while receiving billions in American aid for decades.So what do we do ? We occupy and terrorize Afghanis!
+4 # 666 2013-01-06 13:58
you've put your finger on some truth here. Our eternal war policies look increasingly as if they been adopted after being tested by israel's "eternal" war of survival... it is interesting the influence many of these israelis have in the us circles of power that continue "this, this insane war" (quoting homer). no I'm not anti-semitic, but go ahead and give me a thumbs down for telling the truth
+6 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 17:26
OBL didn't say that! And that alleged quote of him comes from one of the "al CIAduh!"-create d speeches fraudulently attributed to him in fake videos and/or audio recordings using doubles (very bad ones at that, including the one that the U.S. government murdered in Pakistan, who didn't even really look like him), and/or electronic manipulation of voices to sound like him. OBL denied being involved in 9-11, and he died soon thereafter as a result of the fact that he was already dying from kidney disease. So, the U.S. government didn't kill him in Pakistan, because he was already dead long before that.

In response to that video where OBL allegedly "confesses" to perpetrating 9-11, look very closely at side-by-side pictures (available on the web) of the real OBL and the guy in the video; and it becomes very clear that they're two different people, and that the guy in the video is NOT OBL. Wake up, people! We are being falsely propagandized like you refuse to believe, and just as the corporate-fasci st U.S. government and international government depend upon most Americans falling for!

The founders of the U.S. warned us to ALWAYS distrust government, including the U.S. government; and to doubt EVERYTHING they say, and all "evidence" they present. This blind trust of the U.S. government is extremely dangerous; and it is what is allowing the destruction of our republic from within. Today, and for the past ten years in particular, almost everything they've said is a lie. Hello!
+3 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 19:03
- Continued -

OBL was a very convenient scapegoat or fall-guy (very likely, willingly) to blame, along with the so-called "nineteen hijackers" (at least ten of which who have been found to still be alive), the "War (OF!) Terrorism" on, and to "justify" and/or "legitimize" it, as well as the elimination of our human rights and civil liberties in the U.S. and abroad, and to keep it going interminably, etc.
0 # Activista 2013-01-07 19:58
at least ten of which who have been found to still be alive?
Please document - I am anti-war - War on terror is creation of the Military Oligarchy - but please - write facts.
0 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-08 03:04
Research it yourself, "Activista". It's a well known fact among "Truthers" because there's evidence of it. But I'm not doing your work for you. I simply state only the facts. Comments usually aren't the place to provide proof, as it would often require writing comments that are too long. So, for those who want the proof, they can look it up themselves. The info, with the right keywords, should still be freely available on the web. Considering your past comments, of which I've read many, I would think you would already know this fact about many of the "nineteen hijackers" still being alive. It's common knowledge in the right circles, and has been for years.

Also, you know that OBL worked for "al CIAduh!", right? And you know about his being in an "al CIAduh!" / U.S. military hospital in June or July of 2001, and that he was visited by a CIA agent, probably (one of?) his controller(s); and that, even though he was already placed on the "Most Wanted" list by the U.S. government in January of 2001, he wasn't taken into custody, and was freely allowed to leave that hospital after his dialysis (etc.?) treatment(s), right? That is also common knowledge, and has been for years, in the right circles.

So, rhetorically-sp eaking, where have you been??

Of course you're not going to find any of this in the MSM. Those at the top in the U.S. government propaganda ministry within the MSM, undoubtedly knew these facts; but they have intentionally chosen not to disseminate them.
+29 # Inspired Citizen 2013-01-05 17:11
The most important point of this argument is the last sentence: "Only outside compulsion, from citizens, can make an end to all of this possible."

Even in liberal Ithaca, NY, our weekly peace demonstration has only 4-8 people. Today, a fascist pig, Officer Nelson, threatened to arrest me for handing out flyers that has another article by Greenwald about drone strikes printed on it. I'm going to print this one and hand it out too.

Education about this endless war is needed, and in all likelihood, people are going to have to go to jail in order to curb the empire that America has become.
+1 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:34
Re: The "empire America has become": You may want to re-read your copy of the First Federalist Paper, where Alexander Hamilton argues (on behalf of ratifying the US Constitution) they were creating "an empire, in many respects the most interesting in the world...."

And you also may want to review the anti-Federalist s ("What the Anti-Federalist s were For," by Herbert Storing, provides a superb summary of their arguments).

Because the US Empire is functioning as designed. Except for the Preamble the the US Constitution. And about nine-tenths of the rest of the Constitution. The parts that have become inconvenient for the empire seem to have been forgotten. By everyone.
+18 # LizR 2013-01-05 17:16
+1 # pushingforpeace 2013-01-06 09:54
Utter double-speak of the establishment!
0 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 17:36
0 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 18:53
Quoting LizR:

+2 # RMDC 2013-01-07 05:35
Obama campaign slogans. He captured US domestic and foreign policy perfectly in these three statements.

He's the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
+10 # JSRaleigh 2013-01-05 17:18
Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
0 # 666 2013-01-06 14:00
big brother! big brother! big barack, big brother, obama brother, big brother, barack obama!

and the 2 minutes hate comes to a close....
+24 # mdhome 2013-01-05 17:28
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:

SHOCKED, I tell you shocked, shocked! Do you mean to tell me they don't like being blown up? Ungrateful wretches.
+26 # walt 2013-01-05 17:38
Think of those who will continue trying to perpetuate war: neocons, the Israel lobby, the military-indust rial complex. All are committed to keeping the USA in perpetual war. Meanwhile, we pay with our lives and tax dollars while being told we have to cut "entitlements" to our own people.

Americans need to wake up and demand an end to it all. We are being used!
+10 # Youtube-GlobalPrison 2013-01-05 17:41
Looks like the Guardian UK have been browsing my online articles...I wrote a similar article back in June 2010...fame at last.

War is a business, an enterprise of hundreds of companies, corporations and private investors- but I don't need to tell you that war is unstoppable when people let the war mongers get a grip on other countries politics and turn it into their own profiteering agenda, do I?

"War Madness- Creating a Never-Ending War"
by Russell S.Wyllie
+11 # Yakpsyche 2013-01-05 17:51
You can only have a war on terror if you can have a war on fear or a war on sneaky tricks. Not! Clearly, the name is a marketing strategy, a ruse to justify the action. The action is not war, its planetary take over, attempted globalization.

When it becomes clear to everyone that we are simply using the military to gain control of planetary territory, resources and influence, a league of other nations could form against us, or maybe two such leagues. This will unify the globe into these two or three camps (c.f. "1984").

Our current leadership is way ahead of the competition, though. By getting a jump on everyone we have a chance to make the world unified as one entity: the ruling empire, the United States of the World (with the capitol in WA, DC, of course). The "best case" scenario is to terrorize and take over the entire planet before others can even give it a name and organize in self defense.

Probably no other confederation of states will emerge. All the rag -tags that remain upset will only be able to engage in individual acts of, oh no, TERRORISM! So, we come full circle. Having established anti-terrorism principles and practices will enable the Empire to keep policing the planetary empire. In this way the plutocrats can maintain order among the peasants. Come on, folks, think big! We can deny the nobility what they're striving for.
+9 # fredboy 2013-01-05 17:59
Just like the 50+ year "war on drugs." Hilarious.
+7 # spercepolnes 2013-01-05 17:59
It took the Soviet Union about 55 yrs to finally implode from it's militarist mania, so, I guess we can look forward to at least another 40 yrs of American "democracy" being imposed around the world......
+11 # Grout4cake 2013-01-05 19:56
Actually we have been at continuous war except 2 years during Jimmy Carter's tenure.
Don't forget Nicaragua, Grenanda , the first Gulf War , Haiti, Somalia and Bosnia.

and of course the war on drugs that has given us good reasons to interfere militarily in Latin America,
+1 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:36
We are already two hundred years into that imposition.

Perhaps you want to revise your prophecy's math?
+15 # anarchteacher 2013-01-05 18:14

"But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded.

"The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact."


by Emmanuel Goldstein

(The 'Book within a Book' from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four)
+4 # 666 2013-01-06 14:01
if rsn readers have never read 1984, I strongly suggest you do. you can even download it free on line.
+26 # futhark 2013-01-05 18:19
United States Marine Corps General Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940), twice decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor, was exactly right when he published his book "War Is A Racket" in 1935. The "War on Terror" is proving to be the biggest and most profitable flim-flam in world history, based as it was in a hoax of unprecedented proportions, that the 9/11 attacks were planned and executed by 19 Islamic extremists with box cutters, a hypothesis that was enshrined as some kind of holy political dogma, but, when challenged, evaporates like morning mist before factual data and rational thinking.

The "War on Terror", as it is currently being prosecuted, is really a "War to Perpetuate Terror", by generating an endless supply of people who will resort to any available means to revenge themselves against the atrocities committed against their nations, their religion, their tribes, and their families. Who profits? The merchants of death, the manufacturers of guns, bombs, missiles, military aircraft, drones, and so on. Paraphrasing Douglas Adams in his HHGTTG, they'll be on the gravy train for life.

Let's get back to challenging the orthodox mythology of 9/11 and chose our political leaders from among those who value evidence and reason over propaganda and intimidation.
+3 # 666 2013-01-06 14:02
its somewhat ironic that it was the box cutter that was used to shred the us constitution and turn us into a tyrannic plutocracy
+3 # Granny Weatherwax 2013-01-06 16:23
Howard Zinn was right to single out Gen Smedley Butler as a genuine US hero in his (must read) "A People's History of the US".

Your reference to the Hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy made my day. Thanks.
+17 # Vardoz 2013-01-05 18:25
The war on terror is big business and they will continue to cost us billions upon billions as we the people sign on to the work for less programs that are spreading across the nation. Like all the big corporations that are extracting as much as they can at our expense, the military industrial complex thrives on conflict.The USA is the biggest arms dealer in the world and conflict means profits. They are fine with sucking our economy dry no matter what the consequeces are to us too. They have already taken away our right to due process and can indefinately detain Americans, they spend untold billions on our gigantic spy matrix and are already spending billions on their new fleet of 30,000 drones that will also spy on us and perhaps even kill us. They are bringing the war on terror home and woe is us because there will be many abuses.
+20 # Grout4cake 2013-01-05 19:07
This unceasing military action would more properly be called a War OF Terror. Terrorization of the American citizenry.

We have slowly morphed into having a mercenary professional military, who hide the horrors of the war, in collaboration,a s they trade pictures of things like Abu Graib and decapitation of Afghanis amongst themselves.A military that rapes their own female colleagues .A military that prides themselves on taking the "job" of killing , while the rest of the nation is foreclosed upon, faces massive unemployment and bankers get away with robbing us all.
I don't think it is a coincidence that young men are being kept busy abroad while the nation at home is systematically being violated of their pensions, investments, Social Security, forced into perpetual financial servitude to insurance companies and all hope for the future.
Upon on returning they are so damaged as to rendered incompetent to actually do much besides lick their wounds or take a fast exit via suicide.Young minority men are held in check with punitive drug laws, planted marijuana and sentenced to private prisons.
I have to laugh at the so called gun advocates who keep saying we need the ability to respond to a government that becomes overbearing and unresponsive .
How much worse does it have to get? I guess as long as our
troops are killing foreigners , they and the rest of us can shrug and keep selling cans and giving blood while the top 1%
moans about "moochers.
+9 # cafetomo 2013-01-05 21:08
What would be surprising, is if anyone were surprised.

The opportunity to place resources and armaments where the next enemy is expected, indicates the enemy expected.
Ergo, Urban Assault Vehicles in Anytown, USA.

Need work? How fortunate. Become the new "Brownshirt". There is significant employment training for the first rung of a career in search & seizure at every airport, or any other place "security" can be held up as necessary to preserve our freedom. The first order of business is to use greed and fear to set one half of the population against the other. The two party system is doing so nicely. Gun violence is helping their case in leaps and bounds. The more things can be made to appear out of control, the more control can be exerted.

"We" become "they" as "they" decide "we" can no longer be convinced, so must be coerced.

Not all at once. Incrementally, in bits and bobs, in places, under premises, until we know only what we are allowed.

Been going on for years. But the electronic age makes it interesting. Do we use it more to amuse or inform ourselves? They are using it to gain control. Removing our right to privacy or access to watch them in turn. Media conglomerates into their sole possession. Our ignorance is their asset. But if we do not act on our knowledge and in conjunction, the result is the same. Freedom becomes an abstraction, and whatever we are told.
+10 # Grout4cake 2013-01-06 07:52
You are right and one of the first steps in becoming a Homeland Security thug etc. is to start by becoming a " hero" by signing up for a military " job" in which you trade money and benefits for killing human beings.
After you 've thoroughly brainwashed on the need to Kill Kill Kill (this is part of basic training) couched in the defense of freedom of course , placed in areas in which you're actually under constant threat, the gloves are off and so you are perfectly primed to take any order given to you by a " commander".
And freedom really means "free markets" ( actually corporate welfare) in which global capitalism is granted a blank check to do what it wants to do with the planet and her inhabitants in its relentless drive to profitize every life transaction and turn us all into commodities.
+11 # Activista 2013-01-06 00:46
This US war on terror is tragicomedy. One shoe bomber and one underwear bomber with no chance to blow the airplane started this shoe and underwear search industry.
Military Oligarchy bankrupted US economically and MORALLY. One US soldier costs $1 million per year in Afghanistan.
Thousands are being deployed in Israel against next war against Iran ... creating hate against USA.
+14 # Grout4cake 2013-01-06 07:54
1 million dollars per year per soldier in Afghanistan...m eanwhile teachers are being laid off and armed guards will be hired to patrol our schools.
+11 # seeuingoa 2013-01-06 03:29
Isn´t it also the responsability of the
parents to tell their teenage son or daughter,who wants to protect America
from an outer enemy, that the only one
they are protecting by fighting in a
war overseas, is the inner enemy, the 1%.
+1 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 12:43
Well, yes, the 1%, but even more importantly it is the same ideology that 1% harbors in our heads that encourages us to actually believe nonsense like voting for the lesser evil is wise.

For our lack of courage we get only to choose between those evils and their lesser imaginations? their lesser machinations? their lesser underlings and advisers and everything less than we should ever accept?
+4 # 12bbitchin 2013-01-06 10:03
Wake Up, War is Terror. Time to make the connection and refuse to serve and read more. The madness must end.
+2 # Edwina 2013-01-06 10:54
Our leaders have clearly abandoned any notion of Constitutionali ty; and it seems we cannot even count on the courts to defend our basic civil liberties. Individuals and groups are working hard to maintain a society governed by law, with "justice for all", but it seems there must be a second American Revolution to achieve the ideals of the first one.
+3 # 666 2013-01-06 14:07
join me in proclaiming the government is no longer legitimate...

oddly every since I first uttered those words on the rsn blog, I have indications that my phone and emails are being intercepted.... well, hell, they all are being intercepted what new? but now things have begun to change. messages arrive late, partially scrambled, out of order, things that never happened, literally, until hours after posting that statement for the first time a few weeks ago.
+4 # wrknight 2013-01-06 11:50
It's not just the war on terror, but all the wars we've created. The war on crime, the war on drugs, the war against communism, and on and on and on. Will it stop soon? Not unless "we the people" stop it. And the only way to do that is to wrest control from the corporations and the 1% who profit from war of any kind.

The collective power and wealth of corporations now control our government as evidenced by the latest "national security" legislation passed by our Congress and signed by our President. So long as the corporations continue to profit and can control our government, there will be no end.

For those of you who ever read George Orwell's novel "1984" (and for those of you who haven't read it - but should) there is a lesson to be learned. Instilling fear and waging war against an enemy, real or imagined, is one sure way of controlling the populace.
+2 # Johnny Genlock 2013-01-06 15:07
Have to give RSN thumbs up on an article with real meat to it for a change; something which transcends the normal bias right-left split misdirection/ob fuscation of issues.
+5 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 16:16
None of this is any accident. They're intentionally creating the enemies to keep the "War (OF!) Terrorism" going, just as in Orwell's "1984", including against the American people increasingly. They will not be satisfied until everyone in the U.S., and all over the world, is a slave and servant to a completely corporate-fasci st, totalitarian state, the global government state. And all those who do not completely, unreservedly bow down and sell their souls entirely to this evil, will be treated as "terrorists", to be dealt with however the state deems fit by "the Ministry of 'Love", including torture and execution. All of this is proven by the eradication of our civil liberties in the U.S., the state's violation of human rights both domestically and internationally , the passing of unconstitutiona l and otherwise illegal "laws" supposedly "legalizing" indefinite detention (including of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil) and assassination (including of U.S. citizens as well), going after dissent and dissenters (including journalists), and more and more torture of U.S. arrestees through tazering and lethal beatings which are increasing all across the U.S., etc.

- Continued -
+4 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-06 17:29
In addition, all of the major U.S. government agencies, including Social Security of all people, are purchasing huge amounts of ammunition. Even the Federal Reserve, which is NOT a U.S. government agency, but is instead a private international bank, has been authorized by Congress to setup its own police force within the borders of the U.S.; and they are buying up huge quantities of ammunition as well; along with Homeland Security, FEMA, etc. So, obviously, they are getting ready to carry out the "War (OF!) Terrorism" against the American people, too. In fact, it has already begun.
0 # Jack Gibson 2013-01-08 23:15
- Continued -

It's probably also a government tactic to intentionally make less ammunition available to the citizenry, as part of disarming them and making them defenseless, as well.
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-01-30 07:55
Otherness is form, not word, a more subtle context for music in conversation not part of civilized discourse in this paradigm shifting moment. "In the beginning, all was mush and without form." It is not religion, but religious feeling in the sense that life is attracted to it, formally, that is missing. Education has become status quo. Ecology, nonetheless, is not more than a participation in structure, in the dimensions we occupy as thought. Thought as ecology, however, moves away from the first premise of ecology, that is the highest concentration of information found in the smallest locations akin to embryonic for biological concerns, or DNA. Since the 'means' for thought is programmed in the DNA inclusive of all things that birthright entails, the use of it, thought, is measured in the reduction of content via the use of the subject/predica te relationship, particularly the latter if done well, but there is a distance removed from (get the non-linear reference?) the high concentration of 'zero-learning' to get to 'it' while leaving 'nothing' behind, a unity vis a vis the structure of participation.

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