The War on Terror Is Still Alive and Well

Joe Biden was attacked for the chaotic US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan unrepentant: “I didn’t want to prolong this eternal war.” And he promised: “This decision on Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of great military operations to recreate other countries. ”

The American people agreed; despite the endless barrage of elite criticism, a Majority goes on Support troop withdrawal. As the 20-year calamity ended, Americans staggered before a growing new threat as fires spread across California, storms ravaged New Orleans, and floods claimed lives in New Jersey and New York and elsewhere. Could Biden’s remarks suggest that the United States will finally turn its attention and resources to what he correctly called the “existential threat” of climate change?

Would it be true. Indeed, the war on terror – of which Afghanistan was only one scene – is alive and well on the 20th anniversary of September 11th.

Although Biden rightly defended the withdrawal, he redoubled his commitment to the Global War on Terror and promised a “tough, unforgiving, targeted and precise strategy to pursue terror where it is today.” Today he stated that “the terrorist threat has spread across the world” by identifying threats in Somalia, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula and “establishing ISIS members across Africa and Asia”. For those who “wish harm” to America or its allies, Biden vowed the US will “hunt you to the end of the world.” As an exclamation point, Biden approved two attacks against ISIS in Afghanistan, one of which allegedly killed Afghan civilians and children.

The administration is continuing the strategy developed under Obama, as in the words by Hal Brands and Michael O’Hanlon, chair strategists at Johns Hopkins and Brookings, the United States “has failed the path to success in counterterrorism.” In what they call the “medium footprint strategy”, large-scale deployments of American troops and nation building are envisaged. Drone bombing and agile US special forces are in. Obama expanded the war on terror dramatically but quietly. He stood by the side and invented legal reasons and procedures that were a fig leaf for preemptive strikes. His intelligence chiefs like John Brennan spread the lie that drone strikes were remarkably precise. The president even checked murder targets every week. Obama ended up dropping ten times as many drone bombs as Bush. “It turned out that I’m really good at killing people” he quipped “Didn’t know that would be one of my strengths.”


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