Monday, August 30, 2004

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! (say it again)

President Bush declared war on terrorism after the U.S. was attacked on 9/11/01. Today he announced that this war is unwinnable. I have two thougts about this. (I actually have more than two, but the rest are unprintable.)

First, what military or political theory would justify the continued pursuit of a war that can't be won? We cannot afford the continued expenses to wage war in perpetuity. These expenses include financial costs, soldiers' lives, and the erosion of civil liberties. While reasonable people are willing to make sacrifices to achieve greater goods, they are not willing to make continuous sacrifices with no achievement in sight.

Second, the current administration has used the phrase "war on terror" to justify crackdowns on civil liberties and sweeping new powers for the president: Because "we are fighting a war right now," we should detain people without trials. Because of the war we should not question the president or change to a different leader. This war has been used to excuse the outing of CIA agents, the squashing of the press and protestors, and the denial of legal rights to both foreigns and U.S. citizens. If this war will never be over, then the Republicans are really shooting for a permanent state of martial law.

Forever wars are the stuff of Orwell and Haldeman, scifi visions of bleak dystopias. The permanent war is not the basis for a free and democratic society.

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