The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewTom Engelhardt Archive
Nick Turse: Victory in Our Time
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

In 2010, H.R. McMaster wasn’t the former national security advisor to you-know-who but a brigadier general and senior adviser to General David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. At that time, he came up with a striking name for America’s twenty-first-century wars in the Greater Middle East, then a mere nine years old. In a report titled, “Operating Concept, 2016-2028,” looking into the Army’s future, he dubbed them our “wars of exhaustion.” No general has been quite so grimly honest again, though three years later, in May 2013, Charlie Savage and Peter Baker of the New York Times reported that, when it came to the war on terror, “a Pentagon official suggested last week that the current conflict could continue for 10 to 20 years,” which at least sounded exhausting.

Three years later, in June 2016, Army General Joseph Votel, then head of the U.S. military’s Central Command overseeing those conflicts, spoke of Washington’s war on terror as a “protracted, protracted fight,” adding, in response to a question, “I don’t know if it’s a ‘forever war’; define forever.” The next year, the general whom McMaster had been advising back in 2010, now retired (having also pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified material), offered his own version of that phrase in reference to Afghanistan. He told the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff:

“This is a generational struggle. This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant a flag, go home to a victory parade. And we need to be there for the long haul, but in a way that is, again, sustainable.”

Exhausting, protracted, generational, maybe even forever-ish, and without a victory parade in sight. As it happened, in 2018, the Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe reported that another descriptive phrase had come into use at the Pentagon. “These days,” he wrote, “senior officers talk about ‘infinite war.’” As Air Force General Mike Holmes explained it, “It’s not losing. It’s staying in the game… and pursuing your objectives.”

I hope that, almost 17 years later, the staying-in-the-game nature of America’s twenty-first-century wars is clear to all of you. If not, let me call on TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, to consider just what to make of this country’s never-ending wars and the parade that General Petraeus couldn’t imagine but our president can.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Tom Engelhardt Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You
Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower