The nature of the new war

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at mindspring.com
Sat Sep 29 15:20:25 MDT 2001


The geo-political ecnomy of the world changed fundamentally on 9:11
2001.  Central Asia, a region dormant all through the Cold War emerged
as a tinder box as complex and dangerous as the Mid East and the
Balkans  Now the world has three flash points: the Balkans, the Middle
East and Central Asia.  The notion of the US as a safe haven is gone
overnight and the complacency that the US enjoys the security benefits
attendant to the status of the sole remaining superpower is subject to
reinterpretation.  The Cold War force structure of the US military now
must be remodeled to deal with new threats on US national security, not
merely to project power to protect US interests abroad, but to fight a
war suddenly brought home by new rules of engagement.  The threat of
"old" warfare: frontal clash between superpowers, US involvement in
regional wars in distant locations to contain communism, to protect US
access to vital resources, to quell ethnic disputes and other
destabilizing developments against the Pax Americana,
pale in comparison to direct attacks on US assets and lives at home.
American institutions have seldom been tested to survive instability at
home.

The most fundamental new development is the inclusion of US soil as the
battlefield of the new war.  Over the past six decades, the undeniable
impact of terrorism has been that governments whose home fronts were
subjected to attacks soon abandoned or modified policies that cultivated
the terrorist attacks.  Examples ranged from Zionist actions against the
British Mandate, Alegierian attacks aginst France, IRA attacks against
Britian.

There is no doubt that terrorism attacks freedom.  But it is misleading
to conclude that terrorism attacks the "freedom" that government
policies (including US policies) promote in distant lands. As a
strategy, terrorism  attacks the freedom enjoyed on the home front of
the target governments.  The US is now voluntarily launching a reactive
attack on civil liberty at home in the name of defending freedom
worldwide.  In this respect, terrrorism is succeeding in inflicting
structural damage on its target, with the unwitting help of the target
government.

Since this new war is now fought also on US soil, the neat separation of
juridiction (foreign and dmoestic) between the CIA and the FBI, and
between the Armed Forces and the National Guard, has become
inoperative.  The new cabinet post of Domestic Security Advisor overlaps
with the post of National Security Advisor.   The Department of Defense
is now really the Department of War again.  Military conflict and
financial war have merged.  This war is acknowledged by all to be
protracted, lasting deacdes.  Will America be recognizable after decades
of marshal law?

It is a matter of time before decision makers in the US will be forced
to recognize that the cost of the war on terrorism exceeds the benefits
of US policies that terrorists aim at changing.  That is if the US wants

to remain a democracy and keep its ways of life intact.

The current camapign to transform patriotism into a return to normalcy
is insane.  Normalcy would only result in more attacks. Whistling in the
dark will not save us. There are only two options: either change
policies or pay the price.  The sooner the American public is made to
understand this reality, the sooner the real war on terrorism can take
effect.

Henry C.K. Liu



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