by Carl Reynolds
From what we've seen so far, almost anything counts as success in the war against terrorism. The Afganistan campaign has been celebrated as a great success because the US high-altitude bombing was able to destroy the rag-tag Taliban military, never mind that we killed at least 4000 innocent Afgan civilians and created additional recruiting opportunities for al-Qaeda among outraged Muslims.
Never mind that Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Muhamed Omar have apparently escaped; the Bush war supporters are satisfied and, from what we hear on the news, are clamoring for more of the same. The question is who's next: Saddam? Somalia? Iran? North Korea? Columbia? One promising opportunity for expanding the war is the US military involvement in helping the Philipine government attack insurgents in that country. Nothing would strengthen the US war machine more than the re-establishment of the US Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Force Base. Of course, millions of angry Phillipinos succeeded in kicking us out of Subic and Clark only a few years ago, and any reoccupation will generate sympathy for terrorism among them.
On the home front, we have a closer but preliminary view of what combatting terrorism means. Heavy-handed government intrusions into citizens' privacy, severe curtailment of civil rights, crack-downs on legal immigrants, restrictions on freedom of movement, censorship of media, secret court trials, all fuel resentment and generate opposition - which in turn must be suppressed as subversive of the war effort. The spiral further and further into the police state produces growing resistance. The end result is a self-sustaining war on terrorism - which, just as President Bush has advertised, promises to last for decades. Are you ready for that?