Politics

Is President Obama Planning an Endless War on Terror?

| by Michael Allen
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In 2009, President Obama won the Nobel Peace prize. Unfortunately, only four years later his administration is giving strong signs that the U.S. intends to be engaged in a "War on Terror" that could last ten or twenty years. Heck, as noted The Guardian, it could last forever.

In 2012, officials from the Obama administration debuted their new plans for hunting terrorists, which included the "Disposition Matrix."

This complex computerized system will determine how terrorists and terrorist suspects will be found and dealt with (via indefinite detention, criminal prosecution in court, or drone assassination).

According to the Washington Post, Obama administration officials said the Disposition Matrix would be needed because "there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaida continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight."

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The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing in January 2013 on whether the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, which allowed President Bush to invade Iraq, should actually be expanded beyond the Iraq War.

Wired reported that the Obama administration upped the "War on Terror" to possibly 20 or 30 more years: "Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least 10 to 20 years.' . . . A spokeswoman, Army Col. Anne Edgecomb, clarified that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today - atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted. Welcome to America's Thirty Years War."

In December 2012, former Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson warned against accepting the Orwellian concept of a war without 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," said Johnson, reported the New York Times.

In response, Glenn Greenwald, an attorney who writes for the The Guardian, explained why the "War on Terror" will likely not end because it actually incites more conflict in a self-perputuationg cycle:

The "war on terror" cannot and will not end on its own for two reasons: (1) it is designed by its very terms to be permanent, incapable of ending, since the war itself ironically ensures that there will never come a time when people stop wanting to bring violence back to the US (the operational definition of "terrorism"), and (2) the nation's most powerful political and economic factions reap a bonanza of benefits from its continuation.

The genius of America's endless war machine is that, learning from the unplesantness of the Vietnam war protests, it has rendered the costs of war largely invisible. That is accomplished by heaping all of the fighting burden on a tiny and mostly economically marginalized faction of the population, by using sterile, mechanized instruments to deliver the violence, and by suppressing any real discussion in establishment media circles of America's innocent victims and the worldwide anti-American rage that generates.

Sources: The Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, Wired