Top Secret America: The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. [more inside]
Systemic problems lead to catastrophic failures. More money for the "war on terror" or more government power from the Patriot Act cannot make up for incompetence, poor policy directives and bungling. How many more of these must we see before everyone agrees that a thorough investigation leading to proper reforms is the only remedy?
Not to complain about the ever-expanding war on terror, but... Afganistan just might become a little stickier than our leaders had hoped. A recent raid on regrouping troops went not too well, with a combined force of Afgan and U.S. troops beating a quick retreat. Is the U.S. miring itself in not one but several Vietnam's?
On September 30th, there was a peace protest in Washington D.C. I'm surprised no one else linked to this -- about 50 students from my college attended and joined the crowd of a few thousand. I would have gone, but I'm dubious about the efficacy of public protest despite the fact that I'm an affirmed pacifist. What do you folks think? Will a totally non-military action be an appropriate response? (And is there any possiblity of the US acting in such a way?) Is the loss of a single additional human life in this new war justifiable?
Realism Urgently Needed - Or Not? David Ignatius's column today in The Washington Post addresses the question of effectiveness in the war against terrorism. He tells the sobering story of the CIA's collaboration with the terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh. The downside: "The most obvious (lesson) is that collecting intelligence about terrorists is a truly dirty business. This world cannot be penetrated without help from members or friends of the terrorist network". The upside: "Paradoxically, these tragic days have probably been an ideal time for the CIA to be recruiting new sources of intelligence about terrorism. The barbaric attacks Tuesday aroused disgust around the world --- not least among civilized Muslims. Some of these disgusted Muslims will surely want to help the United States and its allies put the terrorists out of business." The crucial moral question: It's really a classic means/ends debate. Is it right - or just acceptably expedient - to collaborate with known terrorists in order to strike out at those we don't yet(or otherwise will never) know about?