Socialist Worker

The war on terror left a lasting sinister legacy

Issue No. 2478

US prison camp Guantanamo

US prison camp Guantanamo (Pic: Flickr/The U.S. Army)


The “war on terror” was always a lie. The West had to find an enemy to help it win support for its imperialist project.

Western rulers used the 9/11 attacks to create a neverending war, which unleashed ever greater terror across the globe.

The release of Shaker Aamer after almost 14 years of imprisonment shines a spotlight on one product of this war— the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay.

It is also a reminder of what the US and its Western allies felt able to do in the name of the war on terror.

They could kidnap people at will, brutally torture them in secret prisons that they denied existed and fly them anonymously through multiple airports across the world. No questions asked.

The US ran Guantanamo in Cuba and Bagram prison in Afghanistan.

But the British state was also culpable. And the crimes continue today.

The drone strikes and assassinations of “known Isis terrorists” are still carried out in the name of a “just” war.

The casualties of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq number in the millions.

The tragedy is that civilians are still dying in these countries under Western airstrikes, years after the wars were declared over.

All of this has left a lasting legacy in Britain.

Defendants 

A mass of laws have been driven through that have led to trials where defendants can’t hear the evidence against them.

From dispersal orders to stop and search, the police have ever greater powers.

Now home secretary Theresa May, not content with an unprecedented level of state surveillance is on a mission to push through even more.

Her latest legislation would enable many sections of the state to snoop on people’s web searches and online activity.

It is so draconian that even some Tories are bristling at the potential impact on civil liberties.

But even if May drops some aspects of what she is proposing, it still represents a sinister and aggressive assault by the ruling class on people’s basic rights.

Those who have been and still are most affected by the legacy of the war on terror are Muslims.

The level of Islamophobia in Britain and the rest of the West today is rooted in the ideological battle to demonise Muslims as a terror threat.

This has become so entrenched that today even Muslim toddlers are officially scrutinised for signs of “extremism”.

In fact, those working with the children are now legally required to show that they are scrutinising them.

Politicians are once again fighting over plans to join yet another war—this time in Syria.

We have to be organised to oppose bombing and the racist war at home that comes with it.


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