Observations on the world today.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US 

Just finished watching the Condi Files. We need a new word in the English language. War has been corrupted too much.

Actual war is an engagement between two geographically defined groups. The republicans changed the definition somewhat back in the eighties with the war on drugs. Although - to be fair - the democrats may have started that with the war on poverty. But the fact is that these were meant as abstractions. So this war on terror is neither a war in the traditional sense (since terrorists are not geographically defined) nor in the abstract sense since we have a military engagement under way.

Now Condi says that we were not at war on terror prior to 9/11. But, Condi, there had been military engagements. And many had called for military action in retaliation for the Cole, but you were too tired of swatting flies to oblige. It took 9/11 to convince your people to re-start the war.

Also, another aspect of war is the covert activity. And prior to 9/11, our efforts to thwart terrorism were pretty opaque compared to now. So I suppose that the argument could be made that it was the passage of the Patriot Act and the classification of every single aspect of our efforts to see justice victory over the criminals enemy. In this sense, the war really did not begin until after 9/11. But because of these efforts to make the "war" less opaque, the tactics of the war are completely out of the hands of the American people.

Frankly, I don't even know who is fighting the war. The military is engaged in occupation in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but they are not part of the "war on terror" in this new abstract/covert sense. So who is fighting it? Anyone? The CIA? The administration? And since we as a geographic and national body still exist as a specific target while our enemy is still only a movement interspersed throughout the inhabitable world, declaring a war and championing it as a new approach seems pretty meaningless to me.
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