In October the “War on Terror” will have been going on for 16 years. It is now a bi-partisan war in that it has been fought by both Republican and Democratic administrations. "The world is a battlefield and we are at war; therefore the military can go wherever they please and do whatever it is that they want to do, in order to achieve the national security objectives of whichever administration happens to be in power." That's the logic which reportedly drives the Joint Special Operation Command known for directing SEAL Team Six among other special operations forces.
“The world is a battlefield” isn't just a vaguely aggressive point of view; it's the legal underpinning of the use of military force in today's War on Terror. This legal definition comes from the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which Congress passed on Sept. 14, 2001 which gave the President of the
States broad power to fight terrorism around
Al-Qaeda is now a shadow of its former self but other groups have taken up the call so terrorists still strike anywhere in the world including here. The
States continues to send troops, drop bombs,
and fire missiles in more than a dozen countries today. ISIS is now the focus
of much of our attention and while it has inspired many terror attacks
including the recent
slaughter it is not sending out directing or coordinating large scale attacks
like September 11, 2001. Manchester,
Terror is not an ideology regardless of Trump’s recent assertion on Twitter. Terror is a tactic and you can’t fight a war against a tactic. The followers of ISIS and other similar groups aren’t fighting because they believe in terror they’re fighting because they believe that their people are oppressed. They attack us and European countries because we prop up and in the case of the Shah of Iran install and support their oppressors. Regardless of that they have committed many more attacks on their own people and killed many more of them.
Some of the
are religiously motivated and some aren’t. While the leadership may claim
religious they’re creating a religious state as called for in their view of their
religious text it’s clear to most people of the world, including those of the
same faith, that ISIS and groups like it aren’t inspired by their holy book so
much as they use selected passages from it to defend their baser instincts.
The War on Terror isn’t winnable in the sense that there is capital or leader to capture, no one to accept peace terms, no country to conquer and rule. All we can accomplish by continuing to spend blood and treasure is insure that there will be other mothers losing their sons and more young people angry over lost family members killed by American bombs.
We would do well to reconsider who our friends are around the world. Instead of supporting oppressive regimes just because they allow American companies to plunder their natural resources as we have done in Central America, Africa and the Middle East perhaps we should show support for governments that are truly democratic regardless of whether they are capitalist or socialist or somewhere in between. After all many of the European nations we’re allied with are social welfare states to one degree or another. Standing up for human rights would put us on the moral high ground. Of course that might mean rescinding the $110 billion arms deal Trump just approved with one of the most oppressive governments in the
Published in the Seguin Gazette, June 2, 2017