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.
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