According to one Penn professor, the American government - not extremist groups like al-Qaeda - is to blame for the war on terror.
Professor Ian Lustick asks whether the U.S.'s current conflict is necessary in his new book, Trapped in the War on Terror, which was presented to an audience of about 30 at the Penn Bookstore yesterday.
Lustick said that the Bush administration has created America's greatest enemy and that the administration exploits the war for political gains.
He added that he believes a confrontation with Iran is part of this plan.
"The war on terror needs enemies, so [the administration] will generate enemies by invading Iran," he said.
Lustick questioned the validity of the information about the war released by the government.
"There is such a gap between what is real and what is not that it's hard not to think of 1984," Lustick said, referring to George Orwell's novel about a repressive government.
Lustick said he believes that the "Republican supremacists" Dick Cheney and Karl Rove sought to start a neo-imperialist war with Iraq before 9/11.
He said that in order for the Iraq war to be possible, these "supremacists" needed the Sept. 11 attacks so that the more moderate members of the administration like Condoleezza Rice and President Bush could be swayed.
He drew on his own experience working with government agencies to support his theory that the government is feeding misinformation to the public.
"You have to go to the very top [of the agencies] to find anybody that believes anything said publicly," Lustick said.
He added that he believes the Iraq war has created terrorism and forced the U.S. to fight a war by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's rules. He said that the war is creating more terrorists than it is killing and that the terrorists are not the real enemy.
"There is no winning this war, because the war on terror is the enemy," Lustick said.
Throughout the lecture, Lustick read passages from his book and answered questions from the audience.
The overall response to the views he expressed in the lectured was positive.
"He said something that needed to be said," College senior Martyn Griffen said. "I look forward to reading his book."
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