An Informed Commentary on the War on Terror

Barnett R. Rubin writes from Istanbul to provide insight to the bin Laden problem. Informed opinions like this one are in very short supply in general and all but completely missing if you get your information from the television.

What is it that bin Laden actually wants? What pissed him off in the first place? How has the Bush Administration screwed up? Are we missing the point by conducting a “War on Terror?” Read Mr. Rubin’s piece and become a little informed.

But in response to the challenge of Bin Laden, rather than building its army, the US has mobilized thousands of private contractors and exhausted its army in the fatal venture of Iraq. Rather than calling our people to fight and sacrifice, our government cut the taxes of those most able to afford to pay and financed its military ventures with subsidies, not from an imperial hegemon, but from financial markets that are far more arbitrary than Lord Curzon. To retain its monopoly on power in the face of failure, the [Bush Administration] has undermined the system of justice. We could have responded more wisely to Bin Laden’s challenge, but we have drawn this circle of injustice around ourselves.

It seems that ignorance on the part of both the people of the Middle East and the United States is the thing we most have to fear.


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