Nick Turse is the author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, just now out in paperback.
Tom: These days, when I check out the latest news on Washington’s global war-making, I regularly find at least one story that fits a new category in my mind that I call: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
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You would think that someone in the nation’s capital might have drawn a lesson or two from such a record, something simple like: Don’t do it! But — here’s where the Onion should be able to run riot — there clearly is no learning curve in Washington. Tactics change, but the ill-conceived, ill-begotten, ill-fated Global War on Terror (GWOT), which long ago outran its own overblown name, continues without end, and without either successes of any lasting sort or serious reconsideration. In this period, al-Qaeda, a small-scale organization capable of immodest terror acts every couple of years and, despite the fantasies of Homeland and Fox News, without a sleeper cell in the United States, managed, with Washington’s help, to turn itself into a global franchise. The more the Bush and Obama administrations went after it, the more al-Qaeda wannabe organizations sprang up across the Greater Middle East and north Africa like mushrooms after a soaking rain.
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And the lessons drawn? As TomDispatch regular Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (just out in paperback), suggests in today’s post, the Obama administration has overseen the reorganization of the Global War on Terror as a vast secret operation of unrivaled proportions. It now oversees a planetary surveillance network of staggering size and reach (itself leading to historic blowback) and the spread of a secret military spawned inside the U.S. military and now undergoing typically mindless expansion on a gargantuan scale. What could possibly go wrong? Tom