Endless War

Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, quotes Gen. Petraeus as saying of the Afghan war:

“You have to recognize also that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting…. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”

So, here we have the U.S. commander in Afghanistan practically admitting that the war is unwinnable. Yet there are no howls of outrage from Congress, no demands that he be fired, no calls for him to resign. I think we can assume that what he said is perfectly fine with the Democrats and Republicans.

Endless war seems to be the U.S.’s destiny in the twenty-first century. And the generals are the ones who are pushing for it. It wasn’t always like this. During the Second World War, the U.S. generals worried that the war was going on too long. They were worried that the war would become unpopular. There seems to be no such concern today. Polls show that the majority of Americans want out of Afghanistan. Yet this doesn’t mean diddley-squat to either the politicians or the generals. I think this indicates two things: first, that neoconservative ideology has permeated our government, and second, that the anti-war movement is too weak.

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One Response to “Endless War”

  1. Red Mike Says:

    This isn’t really that new. Many big powers who have found themselves engaged in what we call “small wars” against Guerrilla’s and insurgence come to realise quite early on that they aren’t going to win it but due to fears of a loss of prestige and being seen as weak keep fighting sometimes for years even when public opinion is against them. The British had this problem when they fought the Boers which is why they turned to concentration camps in desperation. The US in Vietnam after little to show for the conflict began escalating it to include the rest of Indo-China in carpet bombing strategies out of desperation and The Soviets in Afghanistan got more ad more brutal as the years went on. It all about saving face, the US gov’t can’t be seen to bow to the Taliban as that would weaken its hold on the rest of world by encouraging more independence from Washington.

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