No Accountability for War on Terror Atrocities

Journalists Rozina Ali and Murtaza Hussain discuss the domestic and foreign policy legacy of the last 20 years.

Photo illustration: Elise Swain/The Intercept; Photos: Getty Images

The war on terror has killed nearly 1 million people and cost more than $8 trillion, according to a report by Brown University’s Costs of War Project. This week on Intercepted: Journalists Murtaza Hussain and Rozina Ali break down how the 9/11 attacks reshaped U.S. foreign and domestic policies. In the last two decades, the U.S. launched two wars, leading to millions dead and wounded. There was also a rise in unmanned drones killing innocent civilians, the use of widespread domestic and international surveillance, innocent people imprisoned, and perpetual human rights abuses and war crimes. And recently, there was a turning point in the war in Afghanistan, with the Taliban retaking the country. Hussain and Ali walk through the systematic failures across institutions — whether it be the government, military leadership, or the press — and the lack of accountability.

[Introduction theme music.]

Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted.

Murtaza Hussein: I’m Murtaza Hussain, reporter with The Intercept.

Back in 2015, along with a colleague, Razan Ghalayini, I began investigating the story of the Fort Dix Five.

Tucker Carlson: Federal authorities arrested six men on Monday night for allegedly conspiring to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey in order to kill as many U.S. soldiers as possible.

Gov. Chris Christie: The philosophy that supports and encourages jihad around the world, against Americans, came to live here in New Jersey and threaten the lives of our citizens through these defendants. Fortunately, law enforcement in Jersey was here to stop them.

MH: Back in 2007, the FBI and New Jersey police arrested a group of men alleging they were planning to attack the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey.

Three of the men were brothers in their 20s, who had spent years in the U.S.

J.P. Weiss: These home-grown terrorists can prove to be as dangerous as any known group, if not moreso. They operate under the radar. They have no specific command and control. They strike whenever they feel is right, whenever that might be.

MH: But these brothers had no connection to any terror group. And we later reported that paid FBI informants concocted the supposed terror plot in the first place. The plot that eventually landed the brothers in prison — for life.

This case is just one example of how the U.S. government began carrying out the War on Terror within its own borders. Instead of hardened terrorists, the government often went after people who posed no real threat to the United States.

It’s been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks. Twenty years since the beginning of the War on Terror. Twenty years since the U.S. launched two wars, leading to millions dead and wounded.

We also saw unmanned drones killing innocent civilians, widespread surveillance, innocent people imprisoned, and perpetual human rights abuses and war crimes; trillions of dollars, squandered. And we’re now seeing a turning point in the War in Afghanistan, with the Taliban retaking the country.

Throughout these 20 years, we’ve seen terrible systematic failures across institutions — whether it be the government, military leadership, and even the press.

And for the elite responsible for this mess?

Rozina Ali: There hasn’t been any accountability.

That’s Rozina Ali. She’s a journalist and contributing writer with New York Times Magazine, and a fellow at Type Media Center. She’s also writing a book about Islamophobia.

RA: The people who actually led us into these wars are still there, and they still have platforms. The journalists who helped sell these wars still have platforms. The generals, and the military people, and the experts who helped justify and propagate the atrocities that took place, they still have platforms, and they have money, and they have lucrative careers.

MH: Rozina has reported extensively on the War on Terror — including on the domestic front — and how the United States government carried out horrific policies within its own borders. She joins me now to discuss the legacy of the War on Terror, and the end of the War in Afghanistan:

RA: I think what’s really tragic about the pullout from Afghanistan 20 years later — I should say that I completely agree with the Biden’s decision to pull out — but what is tragic is that it’s not the trillions of dollars that we wasted; it’s not the millions of lives that have been lost; it’s not the atrocities that we’ve committed. Those were not the reasons for us leaving. I think it was a fatigue with forever wars. It was a fatigue with our ability to actually gain anything in Afghanistan that ultimately led to us pulling out and the fact that so many of the crimes have gone unreckoned with is really tragic.

MH: The War ended very abruptly, there was this terrible denouement in Kabul, where people were falling off planes and there was total chaos and the Taliban took over the country in the course of about 10 days. 

And, this is a worse ending to a war in many ways than the end of the Vietnam War, because the regime the U.S. propped up there, lasted quite a bit longer. There was a spectacle on Saigon when they left. But in many ways this is worse. And yet it doesn’t seem like, as far as I’ve seen, there’s been no expression of serious contrition from the Biden administration. No one has resigned, none of the people who were involved in propagating the war, at a high level, have put themselves up as to blame for this. How can it be that all these terrible things have happened, and no one is to blame? And what does it say about our political system and the future of the system if we have a system where elites are totally unaccountable? 

Look, what has happened to the people who helped propagate this big failure in Afghanistan? And what ideally should happen to them?

RA: Yeah, I think one of the reasons that there hasn’t been accountability, and I have to say, when I watched the first Biden White House press conference — 

President Joseph R. Biden: It was time to be honest with the American people again. We no longer had a clear purpose, and an open-ended mission in Afghanistan. After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, I refused to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago.

RA: I was pretty angry. Because as smart as it was, politically, he in no way acknowledged the 20 years of atrocities by Americans on Afghans. And in no way did he acknowledge any of the failures, or try to explain why and how the Taliban took over so quickly. 

I don’t think we’re going to see that coming. I think one reason is, is because even though we’ve pulled out of Afghanistan, the War on Terror still continues. And I think it’s just an awkward position for the elites to take if they say the War on Terror was wrong in the first place. I don’t think that we have political elites that are willing to do that just yet. 

I think that actually has really chilling consequences. I mean, it really erodes trust in government; it erodes trust in our justice system. I mean, I think because we’ve been talking about Afghanistan, we forget that, in 2003, we had the biggest anti-war protests in history.

ABC Newscaster: [Chants in the background of, “No war on Iraq! No war on Iraq!”] Millions of people from New York, to London, to Rome, and in scores of other cities, took to the streets to protest against any U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Sarah Friedman: The people of this country have come together to say: We stop this war before it starts. 

RA: There were people coming to the streets to protest against the invasion of Iraq, and it still happened. And it wasn’t just the atrocities, but the invasions done in our name. That is something that we have to live with, and the fact that no one has been held accountable — and, in fact, Gina Haspel, who helped torture people, she was made at the head of the CIA — I think that just speaks to the fact that we don’t actually want to recognize the ills and the crimes we’ve committed in the War on Terror.

MH: Yeah, absolutely. The ending of the this war was so spectacularly ugly, in the sense that there was these scenes at the airport, there was an ISIS-K attack at the same airport, there was a drone strike against a family in Kabul, and there were all these people left behind by the sudden collapse of the government and the apparent catastrophic intelligence failures, which failed to predict that. What would accountability look like for these things? And why is it that the people in power, like the Biden administration, and the generals, and so forth, are so unwilling to even admit the slightest error? Because I think me and you discussed this drone strike, to give one illustrative example, it seems to be very clearly something terrible happened, and yet nobody is actually coming forward and saying: This is wrong. And: We did something wrong in clear, light view. Is there something about the elite class in the U.S. military, political, that forecloses them from expressing actual guilt for clear mistakes? And is it because they’re afraid if they do that they will be subject to accountability?

RA: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I mean, before we get into that, just to comment on the failure of the pullout from Afghanistan, I actually think it was the best of the worst case scenario. 

What I had thought was going to happen was that the government would fall, that the Taliban would take over, but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, and I did think that the U.S. would continue providing resources, and money, and potentially air power to the government. I thought it was going to descend into a civil war. And the fact that there is relative peace, at least right now, in Afghanistan, that was actually shocking. And it was in some ways better than I expected it to be. 

As for the question about accountability, I think a part of it is that it’s not in anyone’s interest. [Laughs.] Obviously, it’s not in anyone’s interest. But the War on Terror has gotten bipartisan support for so long. And it’s largely been driven by an elite consensus. 

MH: Yeah, everyone’s implicated in this. So everyone’s interested in continuing the conspiracy of silence — it seems that way, of not having accountability. There’s that famous quote from Obama, at the start the Obama administration, after the end of the Bush administration, when these terrible crimes had clearly been committed, public anger was so high and there was a moment where it seemed like there could have been political legitimacy to have accountability for some of the terrible things, like the non-existent WMD precipitating a major war, torture, all of these other violations of rule of law. And Obama said that the consistent theme was: Look forward, not backward.

President Barack H. Obama: We’re still evaluating how we are going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously, we’re going to be looking at past practices. And I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. 

On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward, as opposed to looking backwards.

MH: And it seems like “look forward, not backward” is the motto of the elite. Because it means: I cover your back, you cover my back. And, we all make sure that we can meet up at the Yale alumni party or whatever, in a couple of years and have a drink and it’s fine. 

RA: [Laughs.]

MH: There’s a quote, I remember, during the 2008 financial crisis in Wall Street, and I thought this was so haunting, and also so relevant to how seemingly everything operates today at the elite level. At the time, when we were unpacking the collapse of these big financial institutions, and the institutional failure led to that, there was a quote with a Wall Street executive, and he was off the record, or it was anonymous, but he said that: Inside the organization, we had a motto, or we had a saying, which is like, Look, we’re developing all these products, we don’t really know what’s happening here, in a way, we’re losing control of them, or losing control of the long-term consequences of them, and they’re very risky. But hey, look: IBG, YBG. So: I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone. 

So people stay in the job for two years, three years at most maybe, and then move on, and then whatever happens the next time is like the next person’s problem. So you know, they had that attitude, and then it kind of helped everyone evade responsibility for that. So who’s held accountable for the 2008 financial crisis? Nobody really. 

And it seems like the government is the same. Because as you said, Biden ended the Afghanistan war. The war started 20 years ago, three presidents ago. And even Obama could say: Well, my predecessor started it. And then the buck seemingly can always be pushed back to somebody else. And, as a result, the people who are responsible at the time are not directly in positions of power necessarily. But they still do seem to be floating around like, as you mentioned earlier, they are in business, they’re in media, they’re appearing on television, all these things. It seems like there is a return address when it comes to accountability, but as you said, I think quite eloquently, they’re all in it together in a way. 

And it sounds simple, and it sounds conspiratorial, but they represent sort of the same class, and it’s in their interest not to hold people accountable for what happened, because then someone else would hold them accountable for their own crimes in the future. If nobody’s held accountable in the long term, we’re gonna have a very hard time having effective government.

RA: Yeah, I agree. And I think also a part of it is that the economics of this, of the entire War on Terror, has actually incentivized no accountability. 

After 9/11 there was so much money poured into the Pentagon into creating so many agencies, into think tanks, and universities, and there were scores of private contractors doing really disgusting work of fighting and killing people abroad. And then here, we had private institutions being experts in counterterrorism, and there’s been a revolving door between law enforcement, and military, and government officials going through these industries and war has been financially lucrative, whether it’s here in the U.S. in its counterterrorism measures, or if it’s abroad in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, anywhere.

One of the things, speaking of accountability that I still sometimes just kind of feel a little hopeless about is the fact that when we do try to hold people to account — it’s usually not people in charge, but low-level people — not only is there no accountability, but there is such little reckoning of it from former officials. I don’t think it’s all that surprising when a lot of people don’t want to really hear what Bush or Obama have to say.

MH: So, Rozina, I want to pivot a bit because a lot of your writing, in addition to foreign policy and the foreign effects of the War on Terror, touches on the other major front of the War on Terror, which is domestic. 

Abroad, we had wars, we had extrajudicial assassinations, we had the drone program, we had the rendition program, but in the domestic War on Terror, it really targeted American citizens, and immigrants, and permanent residents and so forth. Can you tell us a bit about that? What exactly happened in the U.S.? What process began in the U.S. after 9/11? And how to target specifically people from Muslim-majority countries living here, or people whose ethnic background, religious background tied into the world?

RA: Yeah, I mean, the immediate thing that happened was that there were mass detentions. And it was the most immediate policy after the attacks, where law enforcement, FBI, local police departments, they were arresting people off the streets, from their homes, from their workplaces; detaining them, even though they had no link to terrorism; and in some cases, kept them in prison for almost two years without any charges. That was completely acceptable in the U.S. [laughs]. 

And, after that, policies started popping up, and they were justified, and they were allowed with a legal cloak and with congressional oversight. We had the Patriot Act, of course, that allowed mass surveillance; we had a registry started by the Bush administration, in 2003, called NSEERS, that required Muslim boys and men from 25 Muslim-majority countries to register, and about 80,000 men registered. There were no links to terrorism, but thousands of them were deported. And what’s astonishing is that even though the Bush administration kept this registry going active for maybe one or two years, it was still technically on the books until organizers and activists came to Obama before he left office to tell him to dismantle it. And the reason they did so is because they knew very well that it could be revived under the Trump administration or any other executive.

Reporter: Should there be a database system that tracks the Muslims in this country?

President Donald J. Trump: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases, we should have a lot of systems. And today you can do it. But right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall. And we cannot let what’s happening to this country happen — 

Reporter: But it’s something your White House would like to do?

DJT: Oh, I would certainly implement that.

RA: I think one of the more lasting effects of 9/11 and one of the more lasting legacies of 9/11 here is just this erosion of civil and constitutional rights, not only of Muslims, but of all Americans. And it’s not just because Muslims were surveilled. But because their speech was targeted, their political speech was used to arrest them. And their political speech was used then in the court of law to convict them and sometimes send them to jail for 10, 20, or 30 years. 

Obviously, The Intercept has this amazing database, and it clearly shows that most of the men who landed up in prison had not actually committed an actual act of violence, and yet they were in prison for terrorism-related charges. And this is the same counterterrorism industry that is actually being expanded — 20 years later — rather than being curtailed. And despite all the work that journalists have done, and activists have done to show how problematic these policies have been, this counterterrorism apparatus is actually being expanded to target domestic terrorism. 

We want to say that that’s perhaps good because of the rise of the far-right, but we’ve seen repeatedly in history, in American history, you don’t even have to go that far back, that such policies are used not against white people, but against minorities; they’re often used against immigrants, the black community, the brown community. And that’s kind of what’s already happening now.

MH: Rozina, I know you’ve written a lot about — and The Intercept’s written a lot about as well — these entrapment cases which became the bread and butter of the FBI’s domestic War on Terror at home. Several hundred people — in the high hundreds, perhaps more than that — have been arrested on terrorism charges across these two decades. And many of them have fit a particular profile. 

And you wrote about one case about this young man in New York City who was arrested and accused of plotting to bomb Herald Square. Can you tell us about who this man was, and what his characteristics were, and how in some way he was symbolic of the type of people who were arrested or targeted for these informant sting operations post-9/11?

RA: So this man, Shahawar Matin Siraj, and his family came to the U.S. in 1998. And I will admit that when I first heard about his case — back in 2006, after he was convicted — I thought he was a terrorist. I thought he was someone who was legitimately attempting to bomb Herald Square, which is what the NYPD claimed.

It wasn’t until after I started looking into this case that I started wondering, there’s something wrong here. And one of the things that drew me was the fact that his family is Ismaili, which is a small minority sect of Shia Islam. And my family is Ismaili. And you know, there’s this reputation of Ismaili’s modernizing and really assimilating in whichever cultures that they live in. And it’s very, very unusual to see or hear of an Ismaili who supposedly became radical. 

And so I started looking into this case, and I started speaking to his mother and his family. And really what happened here is: Here’s this kid, he came to the U.S. when he was 16, didn’t really have friends, wasn’t going to high school here. Instead, because his family was working class, because they were immigrants, a family of four that shared a one bedroom apartment in Jackson Heights, he just started working to help make ends meet.

In 2001, he started working at his uncle’s store; it’s an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn. And the commute is long. It’s an hour and a half, and it goes straight from Queens into Brooklyn via Herald Square. So he would have to transfer at Herald Square every single day. He was a bit slow. He actually has a low IQ. And one day, this man comes into the store and starts talking to him. And he’s a much older man. And he seems suave, and interesting, and he seems really interested in Matin, telling him he’s very smart, wanting to hear his opinions on foreign policy, on what’s going to happen. 

For Matin, who isn’t really taken seriously by anyone, this is exciting. And at the same time, you know, like much of the rest of America, he’s also become curious about Islam. He’s become curious about his own religion. Ismailism is very different from Sunni Islam. So he’s becoming curious about Islam; he’s deciding to go to the mosque. And this new friend he meets, Osama, he just becomes a father figure to Matin. 

They built a friendship for over a year and a half. And at some point in their conversations, Osama and Matin started talking about how the U.S. is doing such horrible things abroad that they should do something to target the U.S. economically. And Matin said this repeatedly: He did not want to hurt Americans; he wanted to hurt America economically. So they were trying to come up with ideas. And eventually they settled on the fact that they might place a bomb in Herald Square.

Osama was an informant with the FBI. And he was recording his conversations with Matin for about two months. In these two months, a lot of the conversations were about how they were going to pursue this plan. And the driving force was Osama’s eagerness. He really wanted Matin to place the bombs, he really wanted to pursue the plans, so he would keep telling Matin: Draw me a map, draw me a blueprint, here is the backpack that you would carry it in.

And in their final recorded conversation, Matin tells him: No, I don’t want to place a bomb. And he actually tells him this 18 times in a conversation — 18 times.

Four days later, Matin is arrested by the NYPD. And I think a lot of people at the time — his lawyer, Matin, his family — they all thought: This is going to blow over, this is ridiculous, Matin hasn’t done anything. Matin is arrested and locked up in solitary confinement for a year and a half — almost two years — before his trial. So already, he is in a bad state of mind. He doesn’t recall memories; he’s been in solitary confinement, which will screw with anyone’s brain. 

When the trial happens, he is forced to testify and remember conversations that he’s had 2, 3, 4 years ago, because the only thing that the prosecution has against him is really what he’s said, or what books he might have shared with people. That’s it. He doesn’t have a history of violence. 

This trial went on for four weeks. He was convicted of foreign terrorism and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Martin R. Stolar: The sentence that was just imposed of 30 years is completely outrageous. It makes him a symbol of the War on Terror, rather than sentencing an individual human being. It’s unfortunate that the New York City Police Department created a crime in order to solve it and claim a victory in the War on Terror. And the sentence of 30 years is draconian. Totally draconian.

RA: He has a low IQ. He never committed an actual act of violence. And, sadly, the driving force, the reason that the government was able to succeed in its case against him was because there was an informant. He was essentially entrapped. 

And even though entrapment has been used successfully as a defense in cases for drugs or other crimes, it has never been used successfully in a terrorism case. And part of the reason is because courts have been very deferential to the government on national security issues.

MH: So he got 30 years in jail. But if I recall correctly, there was no connection to any foreign terrorist group, or actual terrorists, anywhere in his case.

RA: No. None. He had no ties to an actual terrorist group. 

And this is something that comes up over and over again, so for among the hundreds of men that have been put away after 9/11 in prison, they actually don’t have ties to a terrorist group. The only reason that they’re in jail is because they’ve been entrapped, or because the U.S. uses murky laws, like material support. The fact that these people are then kept in high-security prisons and in solitary confinement, there’s little understanding of what the justification for that is, especially if they never had connections to a terrorist group in the first place.

MH: And no one was harmed either. There’s no victim in any of these crimes.

RA: No. Never. The crime never took place. There was never a Herald Square bombing.

MH: It’s unbelievable. It’s dystopian. 

Actually, I did a similar story, the Fort Dix Five story, a few years ago. And at trial, the judge said something which is unbelievable. He said: That there’s not more evidence of these defendants’ crimes does not concern the jury, and so does not concern me either; because of their beliefs, I cannot deter them.

RA: Wow. 

MH: Before sending them to life in prison in ADX, which is the most extreme prison in the United States. So there’s this very dystopian undercurrent to all this, people being put in jail for crimes that did not exist, or things that they said that they never did, or things that informants tried to get them to do, which they often never agreed to anyways. And they’re being punished worse than people who actually do commit murders or other egregious crimes. 

And, we were talking about accountability earlier in this conversation, like people who are responsible for the deaths of tens, or thousands, or millions of people, they fail upwards, and these people who didn’t do anything are going to jail for 30 years up to life? It’s a bit disillusioning, I would say, for people’s faith in the judicial system and political system.

RA: I mean, I’ve looked at so many of these cases, and really dug into the court files. And I’m always astonished by how many times a judge has kind of acknowledged the absurdity of the case. 

And I think this really gets to kind of the chilling aspect of what’s been happening after 2001 is that we tend to think that there is a separation of branches and that there is accountability and checks and balances. But there really wasn’t after 2001. I mean, the media, the executive, the courts, the law enforcement — they were all kind of working in tandem towards catching the terrorists and putting them away in jail, even if they could recognize just how absurd it was.

MH: So, you know, there were all these really egregious cases in the first 10 years after 9/11. And then there was another wave of similar cases related to the emergence of ISIS and the U.S. war against ISIS abroad and at home. And there was a bit of a difference that was observable in the cases: They were more focused on individuals, as opposed to uncovering, supposedly, multi-individual plots. They were people who were often homeless, or had extreme poverty, or drug abuse problems and so forth. 

And, at the same time, some of the crazy, insane things that were said and done in the first decade or so after 9/11, there seem to be more resistance to that. Do you think there’s been an improvement or at least a trajectory of improvement that could be built upon from the years after 9/11, within civil society or the press? Or are they sort of in the same stage of going through a cycle, and then we’re about to get back the same place we were before, potentially?

RA: Yes and no.

No, because a lot of the same policies are still in place. There have been lawsuits that have helped curtail the NYPD’s spying program, for example. But we still have very little transparency of how the FBI uses its informants and when. And just to say that the FBI’s stable of informants is 15,000 people now — just huge. We still don’t know why and when the government will use informants, what will actually be the reason that someone is arrested — courts and governments still use secret evidence against people against defendants, they still use the broad charges of material support, there’s still surveillance allowed on the books. So there hasn’t really been a curtailing of these policies, and instead an expansion of them. 

But what I do think is different is that there is a lot more organization. I think we have a lot more people in the media, among the Muslim community, activists that are speaking out. And this was not the case in 2001. I mean, it’s hard to overstate, but there was a legitimate level of fear among the Muslim community, among immigrant communities, who did not feel safe enough to stand up for others. 

So we were talking about the Matin case earlier, the case I covered, a lot of his community members didn’t show up to the courthouse because they were afraid; they didn’t testify on his behalf because they were afraid. A lot of people didn’t speak out. And I think that really is changing in transformative ways: the fact that there are more lawsuits, the fact that there are more journalists willing to question the government, I think, is key. 

We were talking about this earlier, even in the foreign policy aspect, but I think one of the biggest failures of media has been to be deferential to the government on national security matters. Even Rukmini Callimachi, when she did the Caliphate podcast, relied on intelligence officers, intelligence about this guy being on a no-fly list as an indication that he probably had terrorist ties. But a lot of people who have been covering this since 9/11 know that a no-fly list does not actually suggest terrorist ties. I mean, it has been used as a measure against Muslims in a discriminatory measure, but it’s been used problematically, and it’s been abused. And I think a lot of journalists now are pulling away from being so deferential and actually questioning government’s claims.

MH: The theme of this episode has been, in large part, about accountability. And we talked about the foreign policy aspect of the War on Terror, and also the domestic policy aspect. If there were to be accountability and an actual constructive solution moving forward, a constructive approach moving forward, what would accountability look like abroad, for U.S. foreign policy, and what would it look like at home?

RA: One of the things that really worries me is that because we have supposedly ended our engagement, our war in Iraq, for example, or ended our war in Afghanistan, it means we’ve ended our military operations there. And that’s not necessarily the case. We still have the legal justifications to use airstrikes and drone strikes against people in a lot of countries — and we already do that.

And it’s not just air power. The way that our war conduct has changed, is that we rely more on proxies on the ground as well. I mean, this was something that the Obama administration pushed, his buy-a-way-through policy, which was to use proxies on the ground to do America’s dirty work. And I worry that these wars, if continued this way, will recede from public attention. 

And I really think that accountability, at least from a foreign policy perspective, looks like questioning the government’s claim, every time there is a drone strike. I would like to see Congress actually having sessions about hospitals that are destroyed, and people who are disappeared because of the U.S., or because of the U.S.’s foreign fight. 

There really needs to be more holding power to account in Congress, in the courts, and in the media. And one of the things I would really, really love a White House reporter to do next time is to ask the Biden administration: “You’ve pulled out of Afghanistan, are you going to end the War on Terror?”

Because that really requires any administration to answer: What is this policy that we keep continuing? What is our end goal? 

The unfortunate thing is it is sustainable, but at what cost? It’s at the cost of our vision for a better world. And we are continuing to disappear and help kill civilians abroad for a policy that I don’t think any of us actually can define anymore.

MH: Rozina Ali, thanks for joining us on Intercepted. 

RA: Thanks so much for having me. 

[Credits theme.]

And that does it for this episode of Intercepted. Follow us on Twitter @Intercepted and on Instagram @InterceptedPodcast.

Intercepted is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept. José Olivares is our Lead Producer. Supervising Producer is Laura Flynn. Betsy Reed is editor in chief of The Intercept. And Rick Kwan mixed our show. Our theme music, as always, was composed by DJ Spooky.

Until next time, I’m Murtaza Hussain.

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