Originally Posted by TonyR
When the al-Qaida attacks on 9/11 were followed by a debate about whether the campaign to defeat Osama bin Laden and his network should be thought of as police work or war, I was surprised. The idea of a "war on terror" seemed obviously inappropriate, even as a metaphor. In its structure and modus operandi, al-Qaida and other terrorist networks were and are more like international criminal organizations -- drug smuggling or prostitution cartels, for example -- than like states. The U.S. military might supplement law enforcement efforts, if countries protected bin Laden, as the Taliban regime did in Afghanistan before it was deposed and as it now appears elements of the Pakistani government must have done for many years. But apart from raids like the one in which bin Laden was killed, the chief responsibility for identifying jihadist networks and disrupting planned acts of terrorism would lie with intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials.
It soon became clear that I did not understand my own country. In a remarkably short period of time, the right managed to persuade the American people to think of jihadist terrorism as war, not crime. Al-Qaida's transnational network of militants, and the imitators it inspired, was treated as though they were the equivalents of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Instead of being treated as the equivalent of the terrorist Carlos the Jackal, bin Laden was promoted to the status of Hitler or Stalin.
The campaign to defend America and its allies against al-Qaida was a war. A Long War. A Global War on Terror.
Read the rest here: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/w..._iv/index.html
The Cold War was long over and the US needed an enemy to justify the vast military spending. We have a war based economy. We don't produce consumer goods any more.
We are also in a parallel situation to the British empire -- at the start of the 20th century. Like us, the Brits pursued free trade with a vengeance after 1845 -- with the result that by the 1860s-70s the British economy resembled ours. As investment capital went abroad -- so did jobs. Without reinvestment at home the British economy suffered through a great depression -- with falling wages. Many British industrial towns resembled our rust belt.
The only people who flourished were the London financiers and merchant banks, which were closely allied with the crown. Sound familiar?
Meanwhile, Germany was coming on strong -- like China, India and Brazil today. The Germans had a different (better) economic model, characterized as labor friendly and committed to reinvestment at home, high wages, near full employment -- and social stability -- no class warfare.
The British responded to the German "threat" by invading South Africa to get control over the region's vast mineral wealth -- including the world's most profitable gold mines. The Brits fought and won the bloody Boer War -- and gained a vast infusion of wealth that bought time for the British empire. Sound familiar?
Later, the Brits staged WW I to pre-empt the German threat.
The parallels with our time are striking. Expect the US to stage continuing wars -- just like the Brits did -- wars that will exhaust the US just like WW I and II exhausted the British empire. The added problem, of course, is that this strategy for world domination will probably lead to use of nukes, at some point.
That is -- unless the American people now take back our country.