Monday, February 13, 2006

"The Universal Adversary"

William Pfaff: A 'long war' designed to perpetuate itself

The U.S. Defense Department and the White House have decided that the United States is now conducting "the Long War" rather than what previously was known as the War against Terror, then as the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism, and briefly - as one revealing Pentagon study described it - a war against "the Universal Adversary."

President George W. Bush said in his State of the Union address last month that the aim of his administration is to defeat radical Islam. This was a preposterous statement. [...] What originally was to be a matter of quick and exemplary revenge, with lightning attacks and acclaimed victories, has now become, we are told, the long war whose end cannot be foreseen. The citizen is implicitly told to expect the current suspension of constitutional norms, disregard for justice, and defiance of presidential power limits as traditionally construed, to continue indefinitely. We are in a new age, America's leaders say. The Democratic opposition seems to agree. What started as the war against terror, proclaimed by the president to Congress in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks, has undergone a metamorphosis...

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