Naomi Klein

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September 11’s Legacy: War as Franchise

The Marriot Hotel in Jakarta was still burning when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political and security affairs, explained the implications of the day’s attack.

“Those who criticize about human rights being breached must understand that all the bombing victims are more important than any human rights issue.”

In a sentence, we got the best summary yet of the philosophy underlying Bush’s so-called “war on terror.” Terrorism doesn’t just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism, real and exaggerated, has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses.

Many have argued that the war on terror is the United States government’s thinly veiled excuse for constructing a classic Empire, in the model of Rome or Britain. Two years into the crusade, it’s clear that this is a mistake: the Bush gang doesn’t have the stick-to-it-ness to successfully occupy one country, let alone a dozen.

Manila’s Rebel Soldiers

What does it take to become a major news story in the summer of Arnold and Kobe, Ben and Jen?

A lot, as a group of young Philippine soldiers discovered recently. On July 27, 300 soldiers rigged a giant Manila shopping mall with C-4 explosives, accused one of Washington's closest allies of blowing up its own buildings to attract US military dollars — and still barely managed to make the international news.

That's our loss, because in the wake of the Marriott bombing in Jakarta and newly leaked intelligence reports claiming that the September 11 attacks were hatched in Manila, it looks like Southeast Asia is about to become the next major front in Washington's War on Terror.™

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