'War on Terror' Poses Insoluble Dilemmas
No one can deny that our country and our civilization are engaged in an epic battle, the "War on Terror." The murky nature of this new kind of war is not only challenging our financial and military resources, but also confusing our legal system, traditional values and ways of life as well.
This war on terror has blurred the rules of so-called "civilized warfare" -- in particular, the protections of the Geneva Convention.
The enemies we now confront have no allegiance to a "Protecting Power," its soldiers wear no uniforms, they hide their faces and their weapons, they have no names or ranks or serial numbers, and they maneuver among innocent civilians, who often suffer the worst consequences of their combat.
But neither has our Congress officially passed a declaration of war, despite the fact that our Armed Forces have invaded two foreign countries. To complicate matters further, our forces are not always clearly recognizable.
The Secretary of Defense, at great expense to the American taxpayer, has permitted civilian contractors (among whom are former associates of the vice president), whose supervisors are not under military command, to maintain substantial numbers of highly paid mercenary operatives in the combat zones.
Meanwhile, President Bush, who is responsible for leading us into Iraq and Afghanistan under the aegis of fighting this (undeclared) war on terror and protecting our freedoms, continues to seek additional, unprecedented powers that undermine our very own Constitutional processes and legal rights.
It is wishful thinking to say that the world would be so much better off if we could start over again.
More like this story