Monday, February 20, 2012

Bacevich on The War Formerly Known as the Global War on Terrorism

Andrew Bacevich,one of the most important and prolific critics of current American military policy, has a post today on the nature of the current war era at TomDispatch and HNN:
With the United States now well into the second decade of what the Pentagon has styled an “era of persistent conflict,” the war formerly known as the global war on terrorism (unofficial acronym WFKATGWOT) appears increasingly fragmented and diffuse. Without achieving victory, yet unwilling to acknowledge failure, the United States military has withdrawn from Iraq. It is trying to leave Afghanistan, where events seem equally unlikely to yield a happy outcome.

Elsewhere—in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, for example—U.S. forces are busily opening up new fronts. Published reports that the United States is establishing “a constellation of secret drone bases” in or near the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula suggest that the scope of operations will only widen further. In a front-page story, the New York Times described plans for “thickening” the global presence of U.S. special operations forces. Rushed Navy plans to convert an aging amphibious landing ship into an “afloat forward staging base”—a mobile launch platform for either commando raids or minesweeping operations in the Persian Gulf—only reinforces the point. Yet as some fronts close down and others open up, the war’s narrative has become increasingly difficult to discern. How much farther until we reach the WFKATGWOT’s equivalent of Berlin? What exactly is the WFKATGWOT’s equivalent of Berlin? In fact, is there a storyline here at all?
Continue reading here.  Bacevich's newest book is an edited collection The Short American Century: A Postmortem.  Cross-posted at Balkinization.

1 comment:

  1. Pondering Prof. Bacevich's closing lines:

    "Politically, a war that once occupied center stage in national politics has now slipped to the periphery, the American people moving on to other concerns and entertainments, with legal and moral questions raised by the war left dangling in midair."

    perhaps we are in a state of "creative destruction of war" as we have traditionally understood war.