We have come a long way even from the mistaken actions of yesteryear. On September 1, 1950 Truman said “We do not believe in aggressive or preventive war. Such war is the weapon of dictators, not of free democratic countries like the United States.”
Bush overturned that completely. The Bush Doctrine makes preemptive war a pillar of American policy. Preemptive wars are not the weapon solely of dictators. They are also the weapon of free and democratic countries. The question of launching such wars is not one, as Truman supposed, of differences in the commonly observed political structures on the planet. The question of who launches such wars and who does not has to do with other factors, such as the moral stance a people and/or its government takes with respect to aggression. How far is a government willing to go to reduce the pretext for a war or to manufacture excuses for it or to cause pretexts itself? The U.S. government and the American people in this respect have gone downhill morally. The use of torture was another signal of this decline.
Bush used terrorism as a pretext for making war overseas: preventive war or aggressive war. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with terrorism in America. Neither did Gaddafi in Libya, the Taliban in Afghanistan or Assad in Syria. They all became targets with one excuse or another, under the shadow accusation of terrorism or terrorist sympathy or of not being “with us”.
But terror and terrorists cannot possibly justify such wars, and preventive wars at that. Terrorists are a problem that is unsettling, but it also has limited and sporadic sources, even if they can inflict great damage at times. The problem requires identification and location of terrorists. How can war, which is such a blunt instrument, an instrument of mass destruction, be justified against such a threat? How can the U.S. possibly use terrorist threats to justify the unseating and destroying of entire governments, the destroying of whole infrastructures, the throwing of countries and societies into massive turmoil, and the killing and wounding of innocent civilians in large numbers? How can the U.S. justify exacerbating religious and ethnic differences, ruining landmarks and turning countries into armed camps engaged in internecine warfare? There is absolutely no excuse for this. Terror, terrorism, terrorists and terror events provide absolutely no excuse for such huge human rights violations. 9/11 doesn’t justify this. Nothing can be brought forward that justifies it. There is zero moral justification for what America has done in the name of fighting terror.
Here at home, the federal government has militarized every force within all of its many agencies that do any kind of policing. Not only have local police forces become militarized, but so have every possible arm of the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security is but one umbrella for these many forces. By one count there are now more than 70 such militarized federal agencies.
The government has used terror and terrorism as an excuse or pretext for militarizing itself and arming itself to the teeth. These forces stand ready to dominate Americans at every turn and create a nightmare police state in this country. Any excuse from a bomb threat to a hurricane can be used to mobilize one or more of these forces. One vindictive word or one phone call can unleash a number of SWAT teams against some innocent person or get them detained or get their names placed on a no-fly list or some other list.
Terror has been an all-purpose excuse, abroad and here at home. This is a terrible situation. Dealing with terror threats and events never required such measures. One can, in fact, presume that the coordination problems of intelligence are severe across these federal agency groups. Their responsibilities are so divided and bureaucratic that one can presume that their actual efficiency against terrorism is exceedingly low. I am certain that individuals employed by these agencies could tell us many a story of their inefficiency if they had a mind to.3:16 pm on November 21, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff