December 10th, 2012
01:10 PM ET

Zakaria: Why it’s time to end the ‘war on terror’

By Fareed Zakaria

As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here’s something President Obama could probably do by himself that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the war on terror.

For the first time since 9/11, an administration official has raised this prospect. Jeh Johnson, the outgoing general counsel for the Pentagon, said in a speech to the Oxford Union, that as the battle against al Qaeda continues, “there will come a tipping point…at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured such that al Qaeda as we know it…has been effectively destroyed…At that point…our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict.”

If you want to know why we’re in such a deep budgetary hole, keep in mind that we have spent around $2 trillion on foreign wars in the past decade. In addition, we have had the largest expansion of the federal government since World War II.  Dana Priest and William Arkin have described how the U.S. government has built 33 new complexes for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet, the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols, or three Pentagons.

Watch the video for the full Take.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Terrorism

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. deniz boro

    Simply because it is the end of the Mayan Calender? ;)

    December 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  2. Joseph McCarthy

    Ending this so-called "war on terrorism" would be the same as ending the war for Americam expansionism into both the Middle East and Central Asia. Unfortunately, this won't happen any time soon!

    December 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  3. 100 % ETHIO

    Well, few examples could challenged, why the war on terror can never end soon.
    Remember, WWI followed by WWII. Those Countries were remained vigiliante. And prepared more for defence and defeat, until they reached into WWII era.

    Since then, the armed races are going-on, now and for future to come.

    Sadly, more Industrialized Countries are keep stock-piling, WMD to destroy the environments, living beings and Countries.

    As I witnessed, currently, those who do have easy accesses of CHEMICAL-VIRUSES and Chemically produced/engineered no-name Agents, are being used against specific ethnic groups and individuals in Schools, Public transportations, Apartment buildings and restaurants.

    The Jewish and Muslims are more active participants and trouble makers for the rest of US.
    WATCH-THEM, THEY ARE KEEP TRACKING US, PERSONALLY AND BY INVADING OUR PRIVACIES IN GOVERNMENT HELD OFFICES.

    December 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • crAzy

      ur crazy

      December 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      One way or another...It all adds up to the same result. I recently chose to call all these deals as "Weather baloon" OBJECTS. WBO'd in short. So were the recent weather effects and were the crop yield. It was just a crop circle. Take any crop you like.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Indeed, this "war on terror" reminds the world of Israel's operation "Wrath of God", which started shortly after the Sommer Olympic Games in Munich 1972, during which 11 Israeli participants were slain by Palestinian terrorists. The Mossad agents travelled all over Europe and the Middle East and eliminated those responsible for the massacre. The targeted killings terminated in 1988.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  5. Phil

    The War on Terror would be over in February had you idiot Americans put Ron Paul on a ticket.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  6. panorain

    GB2 abolished the first Iraq post-Saddam Congress. Too many Ba-ath. Disbanded the army too. Again too many Ba-ath. Thereby guaranteeing the war. " Bring it on." Problem with Pakistan though is nukes. Realistically we could put a clampdown on the general international freedom of any questionable Pakistanis. Since their nukes are so insecure. But that would be racist. So instead our second best bet is to keep their militant supply on their toes.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  7. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Our "DIE-HARD" ALL THING ISLAMIC supporter, "RABID" Israel-US-India (rather all things UN-ISLAMIC) hater, Plagiarist Mr. Zakaria is at again.

    Remember he called AMERICA AS THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE WORLD and NOT (Yes, NOT) AL-QAEDA!!!!!!
    Ref: Reflections on 9/11 and its Aftermath” CNN-GPS Sept 9th, 2011.

    He said an attack on Iran will be seen as an extension of America's war on the Islamic world (even though the Saudis and other Arab regions in the region themselves have called for "CUTTING THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE”.

    He found a READY REASON for the MUMBAI ATTACKS in what he calls SYSTEMATIC ALIENATION of Indian Muslims (of whom he is one, as also his POLYGAMIST late ISLAMIC SCHOLAR father, and another India BAITER Mr. Rafiq Zakaria).

    Likewise he blamed the barbaric Chechyan attack at the Moscow airport killing scores on the Russian people.

    Days after the dastardly attack on a Church in Alexandria, Egypt killing scores of Coptic Christians he traveled to Egypt and praises Sky high the Egyptian revolution and calls it ISLAMIC DEMOCRACY.

    He has been portraying the Arab Spring as the greatest thing that ever happened NOT just to the ME, but to all of mankind!!!

    He has been the focal point for winning support for all the radicals out there, by sugarcoating everything the Islamists say, for the consumption of gullible Americans.

    I have written extensively in these columns to expose Mr.Zakaria, who is surely no friend of two of the GREATEST NATIONS ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH – USA (Mr.Zakaria's current home) or INDIA (his former homeland)!

    Mr. Zakaria owes his allegiance to just one thing.........the MUSLIM UMMAH, and to that end he will support every Muslim cause anywhere in the world.......irrespective of merits!

    And, please don't be fooled by his Taqiyya....his Jewish connection (his troubled marriage to a Jewish women), or his proclaimed non-religious outlook......none of that matter.

    Like Mr. Zakaria, on the other side of the world in radical Pakistan is Mr. Imran Khan, a Muslim who has been a playboy, a drinker, Convent educated, and ofcourse married to a British Jewish baronnes.......who is now batting for the Taliban and Islamic radicals (even though they detest him for being impure!) and campaigning against US drones.

    So when it comes to their religion nothing matters to these Islamic wolves in Sheep's clothing......they are in fact far more dangerous than their Koranic educated brethren fighting in the ravines of Af-Pak!!!!!

    This something Americans and Indians need to understand really, really well......if they need to stay safe !!!!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      As the FBI/MI-6, RAW & MOSSAD all know the greatest threat to free secular nations does not come from the Koranic educated islamic foot soldiers fighting occupation in the ravines of Af-Pak, but from the Muslim diaspora like Mr. Fareed Zakaria who lurk right amongst us, and are out to hoodwink magnanimous Americans in the GARB of religious freedoms etc..............something that Rep. Peter King has repeatedly said!

      So, it's NOT the time the end the war on Terror, rather it's time to enhance it by embarcing all likeminded truly secular freedom loving countries like the US, India, Europe, Israel, Australia & NZ.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
      • andy

        Your freedom of speech needs to be revoked. Unless I missed some breed of cyber-sarcasm...Jeezus...

        December 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  8. Rich

    We don't need a War on Terror. We need another Crusade.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • mrblonde

      Wow, while we are at it we may as well throw away our guns and get out our long swords for the defense of the holy land. TO JERUSALEM!

      December 11, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
      • Craig

        Merica!!!!

        December 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  9. chris

    I am about the most liberal guy I know. I have to tell you that ending the war on terror is just another way for us to inflict daeth and destruction on not only us, but the rest of the world. Fact..there will always be terrorists. Period. Are you willing to allow them to dictate how you live, without a fair and just assesment and democratic resolution?
    Mr Zakaria is so far off base it is appaling

    December 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • andy

      Where do you live, bro? Texas?

      December 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  10. GiJoe

    So I quess that the hundreds and I do mean hundreds of terroist that come across the Pakistain border ever night into Afghanistain are just visiting! Put that guy on the border for one night and he'll change his mind!

    December 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  11. Greg

    I agree that it's time the war on terror; at this time we would be better off creating better relationships and friendlier policies with possible terrorist countries. These better relations would also be an effective tool in stopping terrorism.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  12. Greg

    I agree that it's time to end the war on terror, that is.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  13. jamaslee3000

    The thought process Fareed displays here is truly inspiring. How he breaks down difficult problems think tanks have been working on for a decade stands without parallel. Let's just pack our bags and all terror, retaliation and future horrors will simply vanish. Powerful stuff.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  14. Chris

    Why should we end a war on terror? So we can let the muslim terrorists have their way and kill unopposed? This article was literally written by a muslim, go figure.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  15. The Doug

    The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Reply
    • so so so

      The only dumb Texan is a breathing texan

      December 11, 2012 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • shaq

      i c, so that means we should destroy the biggest terrorist on earth who has alerady used the atom bombs twice, killed millions of people in the name of liberty and democracy in the whole world since WWII ? and still killing innocent women men and children around the world, while we are chatting here, guess which country i could mean ? be smart....be fair...

      December 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  16. JiminCali

    I think we must end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, And the administration is in the process. But to simply sit back, and allow another attack on our homeland because we have "won" the war on terror would be assenine. There will continue to be terrorists and terror organization out there, and they must be found and destroyed. So no, the war on terror is not over.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Reply
  17. Hal Atosis

    And let your Musl1m pals win? It was that kind of thinking that Barry O used to deceive the American people about the Benghazi terrorist attacks. If you refuse to acknowledge them then obviously they can't exist can they?

    December 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  18. Glen

    Seriously, does anyone give a @#$% what this plagiarizer thinks?

    December 11, 2012 at 12:04 am | Reply
  19. Chris

    Liberals want to end the war on MUSLIM terrorists, and start a war on white people where they we call us terrorists. For the last 4 years, left wingers in the media and in the government have been absolutely desperate to label white Christians as terrorists but they have had such poor and so few examples, that it has driven them even crazier than they already are.
    Liberals, left wingers whatever, have no intention of any kind of "peace" what they want is to swap the enemy white Americans, particularly white christian men, where left wing outlets like CNN will gleefully overuse the word "terrorist" and any other type of dehumanizing derogatory terms. They already do it quite regularly, with the "terrorist" label off of Muslim terrorists gone, it goes into full effect.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
  20. bribarian

    A voice of reason finally emerges from CNN.

    December 11, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
  21. Alan

    Sure! Also draw down on Iran, N Korea.. We spend a lot of money in that pursuit too. Just let Islamists take control in Mali, let AlQaeda flourish and wipe out non Muslims. After all, you'd like an all Muslim world huh .. Fareed?

    December 11, 2012 at 2:06 am | Reply
  22. Jeff

    Wow..just look at all of these Americans saying we should continue the war on terrorism in order to end terrorism. Where do you people think terrorists come from, for god's sake? The war on terrorism is a self fulfilling prophecy. We kill terrorists and their families become terrorists. The only way to end it is to stop the cycle while we still can. They certainly won't as long as we're still bombing the bejeezus out of them. As Americans, let's grow the heck up and get back to spreading democracy the old fashioned way, leading by way of example, not doing it by force at the end of a barrel.

    December 11, 2012 at 2:19 am | Reply
  23. Hate Wins

    Jeff:
    Who should stop this madness first?
    (1) Those that send children to blow themselves up to kill other children in the name of God?
    (2) The one who shoot little girls and throw acid in young girls faces for just wanting to learn in the name of God?
    (3) Those that destroy other religions icons in the name of God? As the Taliban did in Afghanistan with the Buddha statues and I feel that Islamic extremist will do in Egypt.
    (4) People who pay suicide bomber family each time their son or daughter blows themselves up?
    (5) Or as you indicate the men and women who are trying to stop this madness?

    December 11, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  24. USN Ret.

    PHIL:
    We idiot Americans did not put Ron Paul in the white house because he is a dreaming old fool.
    We idiot Americans are the ones who according to the international red cross a few years ago foot the bill for almost 75% of a food given to the hungry in this world. My Church alone donates almost $10,000 a year to support food banks in South America and the U.S. and we only have 100 members.
    We idiot Americans provide the military security that Europe enjoyed since WW2.
    We idiot Americans provided the technology for most of your little gadgets.
    We idiot Americans are willing to pay the price demanded to protect your freedoms.
    We idiot Americans make mistakes and errors but if someone ask for our help in a natural disaster can you tell me when we never showed up to help them?
    We Idiot Americans have spent blood and wealth to ensure the USSR did not over run Europe and Asia.
    Can any country other than WE IDIOT AMERICANS make this entire claim?

    December 12, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
    • shaq

      and you idiot americans kill millions of innocent people around the world in the name of liberty and democracy , sell drugs ifrom afganistan and south america in order to finance your illegal so called wars of CIA ( american terrorists ), loot resources from almost the whole world while terrorising countries and people around the world ??? am i right ?? or are pakistanis and tablibans , iraqis or even vietmanies coming to the USA and doing all this ? i suppose you forgot that to say.... dont worry, be smart... be fair...think twice b4 u say something...

      December 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  25. USN Ret.

    Mr. Zakaria
    War only ends when both sides agree to end any hostile action against each other.
    (1) Has any Islamic group proclaimed that they would stop hostile actions against the U.S. at ant time in the last 12 years?
    (2) Has any one of the terrorist groups who call the U.S. their enemy asked peace?
    (3) Has any of these groups declared that the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan or any where would be sufficient grounds not to kill Americans around the world?

    Can YOU pleas answer? This is the second article you have posted and neither one placed any responsibility on other combatants.

    December 12, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
  26. Matt

    it is simple 9/11 Afghanistan was an ambush and the only way to win is with a counter ambush, this is on a global scale, you have to shape the environment, drive them into a kill zone, the desert. Not urban warfare, not Afghanistan the ability to hide among the population, not fighting a proxy like the Pashtuns. The desert, nocturnal warfare, small cells of SF or shock troops, long range, hit an run. My water is air dropped and supply dumps, where are they getting their water from. You need some sand on the boots to evicted them from the population centers and an indigenous security force to keep them out in the wilderness, they want to comeback. And out there in sand, it is just us. Drones, air power in the day and no sleep at night. I don't need to move in daylight, I am not trying to govern. It is a problem for them restricted movement. People talk about negotiations, we have been through this, hand over the Pakistanis, Afghans, Arabs of al-Qaida, they won't as the Taliban would not.

    December 13, 2012 at 5:06 am | Reply
  27. Hate Wins

    Mr. Zakaria: Please read the definition of PEACE:
    War only ends when both sides agree to end any hostile action against each other.
    (1) Has any Islamic group proclaimed that they would stop hostile actions against the U.S. at any time in the last 12 years?
    (2) Has any one of the terrorist groups who call the U.S. their enemy asked for peace?
    (3) Have any of these groups declared that the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan or any where else in the Middle East would be sufficient grounds not to kill Americans around the world?
    (4) Can YOU pleas answer these questions?
    This is the second article you have posted and neither one placed any responsibility on other combatants to stop killing Americans.

    Questions:
    (1) NO
    (2) NO
    (3) NO
    (4) No response

    We had a similar problem at the end of Viet Nam. Ho Chi Min knew he had the U.S. News outlets and the peace movement on his side and refused to negotiate, they argued about the shape of the table until we increased our B52 strikes. What a surprise the shape of the table no longer mattered when he started to lose the support of his people. Of course there were other things being considered but that table was a MAJOR hang up.

    The killing needs to stop of course but with out some assurances from our enemies THERE WILL BE NO PEACE only a lull in the fighting until those groups recoup and rearm. Then the killing will start once more.

    Copied and updated from post by: USN Ret.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
  28. Hate Wins

    It Appears Mr. Zakaria throws out his VERY slanted opinion's and refuses to enter into a debate on their validity.

    December 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply

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