“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Tom Engelhart considers the costs of circling the wagons by the overreactionaries:
In the meantime, he (Osama bin Laden–ed.)- and 9/11 as it entered the American psyche – helped facilitate the locking down of this society in ways that should unnerve us all. The resulting United States of Fear has since engaged in two disastrous more-than-trillion dollar wars and a “Global War on Terror” that shows no sign of ending in our lifetime. (See Yemen, Pakistan, and Mali.) It has also funded the supersized growth of a labyrinthine intelligence bureaucracy; that post-9/11 creation, the Department of Homeland Security, and, of course, the Pentagon and the US military, including the special operations forces, an ever-expanding secret military elite cocooned within it.
Given the enemy at hand – not a giant empire, but scattered jihadis and minority insurgencies in distant lands – all of these institutions, which make up the post-9/11 National Security Complex, expanded in ways that would have boggled the minds of previous generations (as would that most un-American of all words, “homeland”). All of this, in turn, happened in a poisonously paranoid atmosphere in Washington, and much of the rest of the country.
Read the whole thing.