One of the biggest questions about the “war on terror” is whether real vigilance and necessary action will become an excuse for government intrusion into our lives, the erosion of our civil liberties and the maiming of our sons and daughters.
There is a real risk that the conflict will essentially become the Orwellian war without end.
That’s not just my opinion. It is also the view of Jeh Johnson, the general counsel for the Department of Defense, who gave an eloquent speech at Oxford University on Friday that concluded with a powerful statement on that very issue.
“’War’ must be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of af
fairs,” Mr. Johnson said. “War permits one man – if he is a ‘privileged belligerent,’ consistent with the laws of war – to kill another. War violates the natural order of things, in which children bury their parents; in war parents bury their children.”