Now, let me preface everything else I'm going to say with a simple proposition. I firmly believe we are in a “state of war” with al Qaeda and similar al Qaeda-like groups. The Global War on Terrorism is not a metaphor like the “war on drugs” or the “war on poverty.” Indeed, if we are not in a "state of war," then the government is clearly engaging in a wide variety of illegal activities to include the detention process at Guantanamo. If we are at war, then these things are not unprecedented at all.This is where many of us disagree, "the war on terror" is indeed a metaphor just like "the war on drugs". We are dealing with outlaws who are not really tied to any nation state. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure in spite of the occasional hype about a big bust. For every dealer that is killed or captured there are always more to replace him. Billions have been spent with few positive results. The people growing the opium and coca continue to do so because they have few if any alternatives to make a living and feed their families.
In a sense the war on terror is a greater failure. When an entire town or village is destroyed to kill a few terrorists the entire community can often be recruited by the terrorists. Since the US invaded Iraq terrorism world wide has increased.
Yes it is a metaphor but would be tyrants benefit. From Andrew Sullivan yesterday:
...this war has no clearly defined enemy and no clearly defined end-point. So the presidential over-reach was particularly grave because it threatened a permanent expansion of law-free executive power (which is another word for an elected tyranny). As Orwell understood, a permanent war is integral to the maintenance of tyranny...Just what those like Cheney who want an imperial presidency desire, a permanent war.
Losing Another Metaphorical War