The long war ahead…

In a recent speech, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said “the United States is engaged in what could be a generational conflict akin to the Cold War, the kind of struggle that might last decades as allies work to root out terrorists across the globe and battle extremists who want to rule the world.”.

I am so surprised that after the coalition launched its attack on Iraq, the predictions of a quick victory and no plans for an occupation have faltered. The implications of Rumsfeld’s speech are profound because it seems odd that Presidents get credit for starting wars and once that machine is in motion, it takes monumental circumstances for the political elite to actually end the war. But at least the characters are set up with Rumsfeld comparing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. Which makes me wonder why we would want to catch Osama when it is his being elusive that provided much of the impetus for invading Iraq? Just imagine how future historians will look back on this war; Bush vs. Bin Laden. It is so simplistic it is nauseating.

And with the Bush administration doggedly resisting all forms of a timetable, they are just waiting to pass on the real mess of this war to future Presidents. This will in turn allow Bush Jr. to enjoy fishing with his father saying “Dad, I really wanted to finish that war but those dang old term limits nipped me in the bud.” But on a more serious note, Rumsfeld and others have noted the war on terrorism could take years. Do you really think the neo-conservatives thought the US would invade Iraq and bring the troops home? Just think about the timing of the US media sudden infatuation with Iran and how it coincided with the ‘major’ elections in Iraq. The boys are already overseas, so we might as well keep them busy right?

All of this war-mongering is set against the backdrop of the Pentagon’s report stating the US Army is “in a race against time to adjust to the demands of war ‘or risk ‘breaking’ the force in the form of a catastrophic decline’ in recruitment and re-enlistment.” But who needs to really worry about troops when our troop levels revolve around our Star-Wars type weapons systems as confirmed by the “relatively minor adjustments in key weapons systems, with the biggest programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the Army’s Future Combat Systems escaping virtually unscathed.”

No matter how much we spend on our military, the million dollar question is how are we defining success, because surely you can’t end terrorism right? And in the words of my good friend Garlin, “when the “clear plan” is made “clear” by not “clearly” defining success, then is it really that “clear?”

It will be interesting to see how future historians analyze this war. That is if they ever get a chance to study the war that never ends.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

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