As they say September 11th, 2001 is a kind of milestone, a separation between two different way of feeling. With the terrorist attacks on american soil the message was quite clear: no place is safe, for nobody.
That was a hard lesson, the same already learned by other countries in the past. When war became asymmetric, then there are no limits about where the battlefield is, there are no rules at all and the only victory available is the annihilation of the enemy, no less.
After 12 years we can say that a new kind of symmetry has been found for this kind of conflicts. What happened in Iraq and in Afghanistan were the last traditional operations in the old line of warfare, with an invading army that became an easy target shortly after the “success” of the invasion. For any insurgent group having so many target is one hell of invitation to a bloodfest.
So, the new symmetry has been found. UCAV to strike almost everywhere with no warning to balance IED and car bombs, Special Forces strikes to balance the attacks against civilians. Then you have to add the extraordinary renditions performed by CIA and/or Special Forces all around the world. It’s nothing new, Israeli forces did the same for decades.
To tell the truth, it’s nothing new for a lot of countries. Ask to the French about overseas operations made from the ‘60s to the present days (Chad, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia), think about what UK forces did worldwide from the ’50 (they set up the rules of the modern black ops). Russia, China, Australia, India, South Africa… almost every country crossed the legal line.
Yes, there WAS a line to be crossed. Given by the respect of International treaties, from the basic idea of national authority and so on. The real difference between now and then is in the media coverage. Today we are told about what has been done, more or less. Yesterday it was a matter of unconfirmed news, media noise covered by official denial notes and bags of lies.
What we still do not see is not the blood of the victims, there’s a plenty of it. We do not see what’s the price to pay for this kind of safety. The only law is in the military or economic power, no matter the level of legal violations. The message we get is elementary: there’s no such thing as a common law both for terrorist and for nations. Such a situation is the same that “authorize” big companies to enforce their rule with PMC when needed (i.e. Nigeria).
What we have now is a bunch of dirty little wars with the only real difference between them is about how much they look good on TV. Ratings, anyone? You see, it’s for our sponsors.