When will War on Terror end?

When will the War on Terror be over?
All previous U.S. wars have been against a definable foe. At least in theory, they have been capable of resolution. Whether through victory or treaty or surrender, Americans knew that the sacrifices of war were of a finite duration.
We knew, in past wars, that the financial costs, and the costs in terms of individual liberty, would eventually come to an end. Whether the foe was Germany or Vietnam or the Soviet Union, we understood that we were enduring specific sacrifices in the pursuit of a definable goal.
The amorphous War on Terror had a starting point — the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 — but has no ending point. It is a war not against a political entity or a spot on a map, but against conduct and motives that are shared by any number of misfits both outside of and within the United States.
This war is the justification for huge expenditures of taxpayer money and even more troubling invasions of privacy.
Last week, the Director of National Intelligence solicited proposals for a digital tool to scan the entire universe of social media to identify emerging threats. Federal agencies are seeking to buy more
drones, some of which are used within our borders.
Through the Patriot Act and numerous other laws and regulations, we have allowed our federal government to vastly expand its ability to track our speech and our activities. Billions of our tax dollars go toward increasingly sophisticated intrusions of our privacy.
The positive result of these dramatic changes is that they increase our security. The disturbing negative is that they are eroding at the individual liberties that are central to our view of what it means to be an American.
Thomas Jefferson lived in an age when enemies had little ability to inflict mass and sudden casualties, but his advice still merits consideration: “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”


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Filed under Civil liberties, Military

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