Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald asks “whether [the United States’] endless war [on terror] is the intended result of U.S. actions or just an unwanted miscalculation.”
Greenwald is becoming increasingly convinced of the former. “The U.S. has long known, and its own studies have emphatically concluded,” he writes,” that ‘terrorism’ is motivated not by a ‘hatred of our freedoms’ but by U.S. policy and aggression in the Muslim world. This causal connection is not news to the U.S. government. Despite this—or, more accurately, because of it—they continue with these policies.”
Although it can be difficult to know with certainty what motivates individuals and governments—“collection[s] of individuals with different motives and interests”—it is possible to make informed statements about what individuals and governments may want, Greenwald says. And we have more than enough understanding to do that. For U.S. leaders, officials of the “National Security State,” or beneficiaries of the “private military and surveillance industries,” an end to war means an end to “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.