« Two Months Before the New York MarathonMeet Me Far Away From Here (And We'll Write a Mission Statement) »

We're Not At War

Let's be clear about it. The Canadian threat is under control. Mexico is still licking its wounds from the last time they got in our way. European armies, no matter how irked, will have a hard time managing the Atlantic crossing. The imminent threat from Iraq has been neutralized, in the nick of time. The War on Terror, just like the War on Drugs, is a rhetorical device. Terrorism is never going to sit down at a conference table and capitulate. Neither will Terror, that even more abstract bit of shorthand. The War on Terror is conveniently perpetual, lasting for as long as there are enemies we care to describe as terrorists. It has not been declared by Congress, despite the clear Constitutional requirement. It covers any eventuality, becomes the all-purpose excuse for any policy, however trivial:

We regret we are unable to process and provide certificates of congratulations to the fine young Americans who have become Eagle Scouts. We have curtailed some activities in order for us to concentrate on the War on Terrorism.
Right now, our War on Terror is varnish over a global power grab, an opportunistic invasion of Iraq, and a troubling reduction of civil liberties. Osama Bin Laden is alive and well, his videotape a slap in the face of the 9/11 victims, but no one seems to be trying too hard to catch him. After all, he's just a foot soldier in the wider war. Real wars are fought against armies, not abstractions. Real wars are not perpetual. Real wars do not morph and stretch to fit changing political needs. You can hate terrorists as much as any hawk without accepting that rhetorical voodoo.

« Two Months Before the New York MarathonMeet Me Far Away From Here (And We'll Write a Mission Statement) »

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

2020 Mar Apr Jun Aug Sep Oct
2019 May Jun Jul Aug Dec
2018 Oct Nov Dec
2017 Feb Sep
2016 May Oct
2015 May Jul Nov
2014 Jul Aug
2013 Feb Dec
2012 Feb Sep Nov Dec
2011 Aug
2010 Mar May Jun Jul
2009 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
2008 Jan Apr May Aug Nov
2007 Jan Mar Apr May Jul Dec
2006 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
2005 Jan Feb Mar Apr Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2004 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Oct Nov Dec
2003 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2002 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Your Host

Maciej Cegłowski


Please ask permission before reprinting full-text posts or I will crush you.