Our 20-year Reign of Terror, full circle | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Our 20-year Reign of Terror, full circle

The war on terror is still not over, and Spencer Ackerman’s new book Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump is essential reading for understanding why it persists.

Ackerman, one of the best national security reporters of the last twenty years, has traced the post-9/11 growth of the U.S. security state and the expansion of the war on terror that is as endless as it is toxic. He shines a light on the brutality and cruelty of American militarized counterterrorism since 2001, and he is unsparing in identifying the failures of each administration responsible for implementing and persisting in these policies.

Reading Reign of Terror is an infuriating but edifying experience as Ackerman reminds us of the countless outrages of the last twenty years from the invasion of Iraq to the attack on the Capitol. Many of the stories he includes are familiar, but Ackerman’s account helps to tie everything together. While he pays close attention to the death and destruction that the United States has inflicted on numerous countries over the last two decades, he also documents how the war warped our system of government, poisoned our political culture, and both fed off of and reinforced the worst elements of our society. The lesson of the last twenty years is that the war on terror cannot be tamed or civilized. It must be shut down once and for all. Until it is, we will be living under a reign of terror.