U.S. defense policy has led to autocrats using the war on terror to justify human rights abuses.
Instead of playing down the issue, the Department of Defense should end U.S. military operations in the Middle East and the Biden administration should simultaneously put an end to the war on terror. Errors of judgment and overhasty missile launches are not the only things to blame for the deaths of thousands of civilians. Other examples of misguided actions include cases of imprisonment without trial, targeted killings and unfounded surveillance. And that is not to mention the people who remain detained in Guantanamo Bay.
All these factors have not only heightened feelings of resentment toward the U.S. in many countries but have also given rise to imitations. Many autocrats justify the persecution of political opponents and the abuse of human rights with reference to counterterrorism measures.
However, with the global war on terror continuing on, it is becoming ever more difficult to put a stop to these controversial actions. Critics have rightly pointed out again and again that this war is legally and institutionally rooted in U.S. politics.
Consequently, there is only a faint hope that the latest report will stimulate debate in the U.S., which, if it were to happen, would at least represent a first step toward condemning such excesses.