John Brennan picked a deeply symbolic day to end the “war on terrorism.”
On August 6, 2001, Brennan, then a senior CIA official and now President Obama’s assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, “read warnings that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike inside the U.S., but our government was unable to prevent the worst terrorist attack in American history,” he recalled to an audience Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. It was a reference to a CIA analysis, called a President’s Daily Brief, that the 9/11 Commission uncovered as a key warning that an attack by al-Qaeda was likely.
Eight years later, in his first speech since joining the Obama administration, Brennan annulled several key aspects of the so-called war on terrorism — starting with both the name and the idea that the United States was involved in any sort of “global war.” Brennan said Obama will subordinate counterterrorism to “its right and proper place” as a “vital part” of the administration’s national security and foreign policies, but not the lion’s share of them. Saying he was careful not to elevate al-Qaeda to a greater position of importance than it deserved, Brennan linked the rise in support for extremists to problems of global governance, economic crisis and social stratification and said the administration would make a concerted effort to address what he considers those extremist root causes.
To which I say, "Good." The war on terror was never anything but destructive for all sides. Now, can we do something about Afghanistan? Or turn counterterrorism back into police work, like it should be?