Settling in for the “Long War”

With public support for the “War on Terror” flagging, the White House and the Pentagon have a plan. Not to curtail the excesses of the “War on Terror” or to abandon the “benevolent hegemony” they’re buying with the lives of American soldiers, but something much better. They’re changing the name.

The ill-conceived state of perpetual war formerly known as the “War on Terror” will now be known as…wait for it…”The Long War.” That’s right, instead of backing away from the critics who have been making comparisons between the current regime and Big Brother from Orwell’s 1984, the Bush Administration is embracing it. The Pentagon is making 20-year strategic plans and Rumsfeld is publicly comparing the current effort with the Cold War (1946-1991). One of the core elements of the Pentagon strategy is perpetual war.

“Long duration, complex operations involving the US military, other government agencies and international partners will be waged simultaneously in multiple countries round the world, relying on a combination of direct (visible) and indirect (clandestine) approaches,” the report says. “Above all they will require persistent surveillance and vastly better intelligence to locate enemy capabilities and personnel. They will also require global mobility, rapid strike, sustained unconventional warfare, foreign internal defence, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities. Maintaining a long-term, low-visibility presence in many areas of the world where US forces do not traditionally operate will be required.”

Since the Bush Administration sees virtually no limits on what it can do under the auspices of the Commander-in-Chief power, staying in a state of perpetual war will ensure that they are not called to account for the arguably illegal actions committed (and to be committed). Expect the phrase, “But we’re at war,” to be used early and often over the next few decades.

Let’s just get the whole thing over with and burn the “goddamned piece of paper” right now.

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Nicholas Sarwark

Mr. Sarwark lives in Colorado and keeps poor people out of cages for a living. His views are his own, not his employer's, his wife's, or his dog's. They are also awesome and always right.

  1. With this title, they’re obviously trying to conflate this war with “The Good War” (WWII) – associate it in people’s minds, get them confused.

    In addition, when people start to complain about how long it is, they can say “Hey, what did you expect? It’s called “The Long War!”” Cheney has already said the “Long War” might last decades.

    About the perpetual war – it’s a common observation that the Busheviks enjoy using the comeback “But we’re at war!” What no one seems to realize (but Orwell foresaw back then) is that people would actually START wars and use them as justifications to do what they want, when they want.

    Good post, NICHOLAS SARWARK.

  2. The DoD says the war will take decades as I said a few weeks ago. (BTW, I also have linkage to the actual documents, in case you want to pick them apart further.)

    After decades, we can just start another one if need be.

  3. Are they really going to start calling it the “Long War” in public? That sounds silly. I don’t think it’s as dramatic as “War on Terror”. Seems like a PR mistake on the govt’s part.

  4. Ian, what do you mean by “going to start”? They already have started calling it exactly that!

  5. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.

    The “long war” theme also figures prominently in DoD’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report.

    Some quick reporting:

    “This generation of servicemembers will be in what we’re calling the Long War,” Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Jan. 23. “Our estimate is that for at least the next 20 years, part of our focus will be on how do we deal with the extremist networks that will continue to threaten the United States and its allies.”

    The “long war” is the latest DoD buzzword for the so-called global war on terrorism. It represents DoD’s assessment that we’ll be at this for a while.

  6. The strategic point here is to normalize war and make it perpetual. War is the health of The State. Remember?

    If you can manage to get people to accept perpetual war, then you can perpetually use powers that would not normally be tolerated… The State has a ruse and a reason.

    None of this comes as a surprise of course. Best of all, this war will expanded and transmogrify and mutate into much greater, more intense conflicts. Conflict and chaos are to The State’s great advantage. It’s funny when people give the conditioned response to anarchism, insisting that it is “chaos”. Nonsense. They already have chaos and it’s called The State.

    Fortunately, there is a chance that the current distortions that perpetuate empire will return to the mean soon. Soon as on an historical basis. Then we MIGHT get a chance, but everyone here refuses me on that issue. Nonetheless in any case, The State will not go gentle in to that good night, but rather rage against the dying of the light.

  7. Personally, I think the name is stupid. In the midst of public fatigue about the unclear objectives and indeterminate duration of the current war effort, changing the name to something even more unclear and indeterminate seems like the Administration is so eager to have their own “Cold War” that they can’t hear the public sentiment.

    OTOH, this is an Administration that can’t figure out why anyone would be upset about port operations being bought out by Dubai, so their capacity for tin-eared decisions is pretty high.