To dismantle war on terror
Whether or not Bush gets elected, the effort to dismantle war on terror must continue. You might recognize war on terror as a system, a myth, an economic stimulus package, or all of these, and being able to define what it means is certainly important. War on terror began with apparently limited objectives; these objectives mushroomed within in a year to sweeping adjustments of U.S. domestic law enforcement, and foreign policy. Now, three years after the start, war on terror has become something wholly intangible and pliable, and there is a thick veil of mystery about what it actually is. This mystery is what makes the world tremble now.
For so many people now, there is a sense of dread, a sense that somehow war on terror is coming home. That somehow "drug war" will be incorporated, (literally) into war on terror, and that this will begin a regression into a domestic front for war on terror. For minorities and poor folks, this is not something to look forward to. Any kind of modifications of domestic law enforcement, including the collaboration of CIA, military, and domestic intel or law enforcement, could never be something that minorities and us poor folks would look forward to. Nobody should be looking forward to this. It is not something that should be accepted in this society.
The attacks of 9/11 made quite an impact, but even the president's men were willing to look the other way, and pursue other objectives. So every American must be willing to look the other way when war on terror reaches their doorstep. That is, when the agents of this system come knocking, looking for acceptance. This is a wholly unacceptable system, and should be treated as such.
The crucial link between war on terror and the economy is becoming clearer now. John Ashcroft recently told a gathering of attorneys that the DoJ response to intellectual property theft "must be as forceful and aggressive and successful as our response to terrorism and violent crime and drugs and corruption has been." There you have it. War on terror=war on drugs=copyright violations=anything that has to do with the economy.
It's funny, because conversely it seems that Osama has always been pursued as if he were in violation of copyright laws. That is, not too much effort went into it. In fact, killing Osama would be a form of economic sabotage, leaving mass media outlets with a giant gap in revenue generation. No more underground videos or taped messages to add to the steaming heap of other "news." Also, as with Saddam, the information Osama has might be embarassing to certain governments, so it wouldn't be a good idea to take him alive either. It's not that I want a "get tough on Osama" policy. I mean, the time for glory in that regard has really passed. It's kind of like capturing Augusto Pinochet now.
I read an Edward Said essay recently in which he made a point that I've been trying to make for a couple years. When we think of al-Qaeda, whatever image comes to mind, we must also think of the Branch Davidians, the Jones cult in Guyana, and Aum Shinrikyo in Japan. These are the most apt comparisons to what al-Qaeda was, is, or ever will be: a cult. Maybe a little bigger, and for various reasons more influential than the others, but still a cult.
Another busted myth--bombing villages in Afghanistan or pulling down Saddam's statue is not the same thing as storming the beaches of Normandy. I know this upsets a lot of people. Yes, 9/11 was a huge event, and that's why we must never forget it. We must also try very hard to undo the damage that was done in the name of avenging 9/11, and keep our noses to the grindstone to try and figure out what exactly happened, why, and how.
War on terror will likely keep rolling on, and the American Taliban segment of society will keep rolling with it. The question is, will the sound and fury be turned inwards? We all need to make our plans for this unfortunate possiblity. One thing's for sure: they will never be accepted.
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