A New ‘War on Terror’ on Americans

February 4, 2021 Updated: February 9, 2021

Commentary

The campaign to define supporters of opposition leader Donald Trump as “domestic terrorists” took a new turn this week when a center-right publication argued that American citizens should be treated like the Islamic extremists responsible for the 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

“We defeated al Qaeda and can do the same to the fascist thugs who attacked our democracy last month,” former CIA officer Kevin Carroll wrote in the Washington Examiner. “But only if we take similar hard measures against the enemy within.”

The Jan. 6 protest, which saw sporadic violence, has been used by left-wing media organizations, segments of the national security establishment, and other Democratic Party institutions as a pretext to send federal law enforcement after the more than 74 million Americans who didn’t vote for Joe Biden. The ghoulish campaign is nakedly partisan, or the same institutions would have pushed to define as domestic terror groups the Black Lives Matter and Antifa networks responsible for the spring and summer’s nationwide George Floyd riots that led to hundreds of felonies, including arson, theft, assault, and murder. But those two organizations are aligned with parts of the Democratic Party. BLM, according to its own website, is a Democratic Party fundraising mechanism.

That’s where the Washington Examiner comes in: By reinforcing from the right the false narrative about the events of Jan. 6, the conservative publication legitimized the Democratic Party’s campaign to use law enforcement to target the right.

Carroll is a former CIA officer and affiliated with the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump organization whose co-founder reportedly attempted to groom underage boys for sex. Among other methods that might be used to break Americans, Carroll recommends bringing “the heaviest felony charges possible on as many participants” in the Jan. 6 protests; using internet chatrooms to entrap American citizens; and compelling fire and police departments to require loyalty oaths of their employees.

“We ruthlessly hunted down foreign terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks,” Carroll wrote, “and must do the same to their domestic equivalents.”

Emails to the Examiner’s top editors and spokesman requesting comment regarding the ethics and probity of publishing an article arguing that Americans should be treated like foreign terrorists responsible for nearly 3,000 deaths in one day went unanswered. Requests for comment from the Examiner’s owner Phillip Anschutz also weren’t answered by press time.

It should come as little surprise that the U.S. national security establishment wants to refit the counterterrorism industry to go after Americans. With the war on terror and the sweeping illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens both rationalized in the aftermath of 9/11, the two strands were destined to become entwined at some point. The U.S. opposition’s ongoing challenge to the legitimacy of America’s corporate and political elite hastened the inevitable.

Over the past two decades, the war on terror has become one of Washington’s most lucrative job programs, feeding not only the Pentagon and the defense industry but also the State Department and the many nongovernmental organizations employed to build local and state institutions on behalf of those who use American force to destroy their enemies. Since the departments of Defense and State represent important Beltway constituencies, the war on terror was designed to last indefinitely. And so nearly 20 years after 9/11, U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan and Iraq, and continue to conduct operations throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

Few if any of these missions now help protect Americans at home. Preventing prospective terrorists from entering the United States best ensures our security against terrorists. But recall how Trump’s Cabinet pushed back when he wanted to impose a ban on foreigners from countries incapable of providing reliable information about those traveling under their passports.

Top Pentagon officials complained that keeping Iraqi nationals from obtaining visas angered the Iraqi leadership from whom they needed permission to conduct counterterrorism operations. That is, the senior officials responsible for U.S. national security preferred to let potential terrorists enter the United States rather than risk the Pentagon’s freedom to kill those the Iraqi government designated as terrorists.

The targets are almost exclusively Sunni. Since the Baghdad government and its security and military apparatus are controlled by Shiite-ruled Iran, U.S. troops are directed against ISIS or al-Qaeda or any Sunni that the Iraqi government says is a terrorist. Iraq’s murderous Shiite militias allied with Iran are off-limits. Because the arrangement that U.S. officials made is corrupt at its core—in order to keep money pouring into Washington, they agreed to use American power to settle scores on behalf of one Muslim faction against the other—it was a foregone conclusion that the corruption would poison America at home.

Implementing the Iraqi model requires reframing facts. American citizens who broke the law on Jan. 6 should be charged with the misdemeanors or felonies they are alleged to have committed. Redefining the protest as an insurrection and the protestors as domestic terrorists rationalizes the use of the unconstitutional means recommended by elements of the national security establishment whose apparent aim is to split the country. For them, it seems that America’s ultimate counterterrorism mission is to go after the supporters of one American political party for the sake of the other.

Lee Smith is the author of the recently published book “The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.