The Terrorism Conundrum

In the wake of 9/11, almost anything the US government did was accepted uncritically by the public. The Patriot Act was quickly passed, abridging the freedoms that Americans had enjoyed for more than two hundred years with barely a whimper from Congress and the media. George W. Bush declared war on the world, defining his security doctrine as the right of the United States to act preemptively anywhere and at any time against any nation that the White House perceived to be a threat. Bush also declared his global war on terror, committing his administration to intervene using military and intelligence resources wherever his definition of terrorists was to be found. It was a devil’s bargain, reassuring the American people that the government was doing something to make them more secure while at the same time stripping them of many fundamental rights and turning topsy-turvy the international order where acts of war had hitherto been condemned as the gravest of crimes.

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