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Fighting the long war

beyond the $513bn annual price tag for US taxpayers, there are questionable assumptions and dangers in this review. America's enemies may be ruthless, but are they really trying to destroy its way of life? Are Osama bin Laden and co. truly on the same level as Hitler or Stalin? Elevating terrorism to the level of an ideology risks exaggerating the importance of a modus operandi - though the fear of an al-Qaida-type nuclear, chemical or biological attack cannot be avoided - and underplaying the need to tackle motivation. Above all is the danger that the concept of endless war will be self-perpetuating, a permanent recruiting sergeant for the jihadist cause. Root causes, it goes without saying, matter more than their symptoms, however menacing.

Mr Rumsfeld's bleak view of the future begs the question of whether even the longest war against terrorism is winnable in any real sense - and whether our world can really look forward to the day when this 21st century "ism" becomes just another "wasm".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1709791,00.html
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