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Scarlett Nation » Terrorism, United States » A Decade On

A Decade On

Whilst abroad the War on Terror was wrathful and angry, at home it was fearful and scared. America had been attacked by people living within its own borders; its own infrastructure had been turned against itself. America could not understand the reasons for its attack so it could not distinguish between future attackers and true patriots. Everywhere it looked it saw more people plotting, more people waiting for an opportunity to strike. They may have been patriotic times but America could no longer trust itself and the War on Terror wanted to feed on this paranoia. Patriotic times would get their Patriot Act. Not a law, but an attack on its own people. Fear was encouraged, conversations were taped, neighbours referred neighbours to the FBI, and the War on Terror feasted on the rotting bonds of community that had once held a nation together. Suspicion breeds suspicion, paranoia breeds paranoia, new alarms were raised and dismissed, terror levels were heightened, and silence became foreboding. The lack of attacks became proof that it was working, not that it was unnecessary, and the feeding continued. The War on Terror was so hungry, it had fed on Afghanistan, it was feeding on America but now it needed to feed on people.

The War on Terror needed victims. Not just any people, the War on Terror needed victims on which it could enact its retribution, it needed to make people suffer, and it needed its enemies to be worth less than the American citizens that were killed. It needed victims it could humiliate, interrogate, rendition and torture. The combatants who were captured in this new kind of war were not to be termed soldiers and were not granted a soldier’s rights. Instead, a new definition was created, allowing the normal rules of war to be subverted and outright ignored. The War on Terror’s victims became trapped in a quantum superposition, inmates but not prisoners, combatants but not soldiers, held in a jail without a trial or a sentence, they were to be forgotten. Existing but not existing, in America but not in America, humans but without rights, they were Schrödinger’s prisoners trapped in a legalistic maze that had somehow robbed them of their self evident truths. Guantanamo Bay became America’s iron hand in its velvet glove, the images of wire fences, and orange boiler suits were the ever present threat to its enemies. Stories of waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation were the tacit warning to all that America had succumbed to its anger. With policies like these the war could not be about freedom and encouraging democracy anymore, the sheer level of force brought to bear against a country with no ability to retaliate meant it could not be viewed as a simple man hunt, rather this was the first skirmish of a new age of global war. The West bringing the full power of its military might to enforce their long held belief that democracy was the end stage of civilisation, the inevitable product of the evolution of the state. Where once this belief was held on paper and expected to take its course, now it would be forced by arms and conflict. The people would be made to be free, they would be bombed for peace, and democracy was to be enforced. The War on Terror’s latest victim was the humble oxymoron, an innocent victim abused beyond all recognition in the service of other goals.

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