Friday, May 05, 2006

Symbolism Rather Than Substance in the "War on Terror"

We are five years now into this "war on terror" and as has been shown earlier, there were far more terrorist attacks in 2005 than there ever were in any previous year, i.e. we have not slowed down terror, but rather let it increase. This should be a strong sign that the policies the Bush administration has taken are failures of such a magnitude that these people must be held accountable not only for failing, but for being very negligent about it. Their policies regarding torture have alienated friends we need, their wars have turned the hearts and minds we were supposed to convert to our way of thinking against us. In another example, the trial of Moussaoui shows how the government went for symbolism rather than substance in this fight. Thinking that making an "example" out of Moussaoui would somehow deter others (the problem with thinking the death penalty is a deterence---especially in people who welcome death!), the government failed to make its case because it would have had to open its secrets and reveal how it tortured some of its prisoners. I quote the following:

The Moussaoui case is emblematic of the administration's approach to fighting terrorism. It has repeatedly overreached and sought symbolic victories, adopting tactics that have undermined its ability to achieve real security while disregarding less flashy but more effective means of protecting us. In the early days after Sept. 11, Attorney General John Ashcroft sought to reassure us with repeated announcements of the detention of large numbers of "terror suspects" -- ultimately the government admitted to detaining 5,000 foreign nationals in the first two years after Sept. 11. Yet to this day not one of them stands convicted of a terrorist offense. Similarly, the administration launched a nationwide ethnic profiling campaign, calling in 8,000 young men for FBI interviews and 80,000 more for registration, fingerprinting and photographing by immigration authorities, simply because they came from Arab and Muslim countries. Not one of those 88,000 has been convicted of terrorism.
Mr. Cole point on How Not To Fight Terrorism should be pretty clear that not only has this administration failed, but they've been negligent and even criminal in the way they've executed their policies. This must come to an end, and they must be held accountable.


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