Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Long War Doctrine

Officially, the Bush "Long War Doctrine" was put to sleep by the Obama Administration. Long War became authorized Pentagon policy with the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and quietly disappeared in Obama's 2010 version. Yet the Pentagon is ignoring the President and proceeding with a long war strategy.

Basically, the Long War Doctrine envisions an 80 year struggle on various fronts in the Middle East. The logic of Long War, from a neocon perspective, is that we are at war with a fifth of the population of the world (Islam) and it will take several decades to kill them all. From a Pentagon perspective the Long War returns the professional military to the job security of the Cold War era which ended abruptly after a profitable 50-year run.

Prior military doctrine held that you identify an enemy and engage in the quickest possible effort to ensure that enemy will never again bother you. Modern strategy is not interested in "winning" a war but in milking the war for as long as possible. Hence we see the US government helping to fund the Taliban and helping to arm them. If the Taliban disappeared tomorrow we would have to invent a replacement, the Pentagon Afghan War strategy requires it.

The goals for the Afghan War are vague to the point of be amorphous. Vice-President Biden says there are no plans for nation building. Yet Gen. Petraeus' counter insurgency strategy is all about building an Afghan governmental structure. Biden thinks the US will not be in Afghanistan for another 10 years. On the ground, Petraeus is stalling security handovers and talking about "process" not "exit." That's NewSpeak for "We're not going anywhere this side of 2050."

Things are no different in Iraq where the talk from the military is of a "long-term partnership" while the President wants a total withdrawal of troops by the end of 2011. The Pentagon is planning to stay in Iraq regardless of what the politicians want and we can expect something will happen in the summer of 2011 that will kill any withdrawal effort. Then there is always Iran, Yemen, Somalia. The possibilities for endless war are endless.

The generals love this Long War idea. It gives them huge budgets, fancy new weapons, and puppet master control over the politicians and diplomats.
To the Pentagon, the Thirty Years War was
woefully short.

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