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WFKATGWOT
February 20, 2012 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Andrew Bacevich on the war: "So what tentative judgments can we offer regarding the ongoing [war formerly known as the global war on terrorism]? Operationally, a war launched by the conventionally minded has progressively fallen under the purview of those who inhabit what Dick Cheney once called “the dark side,” with implications that few seem willing to explore. Strategically, a war informed at the outset by utopian expectations continues today with no concretely stated expectations whatsoever, the forward momentum of events displacing serious consideration of purpose. 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."
posted by crayz (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The military industrial complex neither needs or sustains a solid reason for conflict...the bottom line knows no borders
posted by kitbuoy at 11:49 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your link is broken. Here's a working one.
posted by empath at 11:50 AM on February 20, 2012


Strategically, a war informed at the outset by utopian expectations continues today with no concretely stated expectations whatsoever, the forward momentum of events displacing serious consideration of purpose.

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.


Realistically, the American people: IMMA WATCH TEEVEE!
posted by delfin at 11:51 AM on February 20, 2012


Politically, a war that once occupied center stage in national politics has now slipped to the periphery,

Follow the Republican motto - if you can't pay for it don't do it.

Make paying for the kinetic conflicts in the NOW they way its done. Such an action would 'move the conversation forward'.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:52 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


empath - Thanks, that's much better. I've asked the mods to swap the links
posted by crayz at 11:55 AM on February 20, 2012


When there is no state agent behind terrorism, the military is tasked with an ever longer and increasingly vague mission. This is great for defense contractors, but no so great for people who serve.

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.

It's an election year and candidates probably don't want to touch the issue of war too much, but the public is already busy with subsidizing the NFL:

“Everybody recognizes that the Giants deserve a parade,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. But, he added, “If a football team gets a parade, shouldn’t our veterans?”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has long expressed his regret that the United States did not do a better job honoring veterans of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, has cited advice from the Pentagon in deciding it was not appropriate to hold a parade while American soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan.


It's a complex time, priorities are weird. Please pass the remote.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:18 PM on February 20, 2012


Yet even as the troops continue marching hither and yon, the conflict's narrative has become increasingly difficult to discern.

Difficult to discern? America and her erstwhile ally are primed to blow Iran to hell and the run-up to this war seems even less controversial than the run-up to Iraq. The press is full of happy, happy talk about destroying Iran and both American presidential parties offer their enthusiastic support. There is not even a blush of the pale opposition that arose in the run-up to the war on Iraq.

If one considers - as I do - that the GWOT was just part of the post 1979 stategy to destroy Iran, I'd say things are going better for the planners of the GWOT than they could possibly have been imagined. It was always intended as Iraq moved into the periphery that Iran would be moved into the cross-hairs and here we are.

The only thing left is to dress some commandos in Polish uniforms, have them fire a missile at an American ship, and the counter-attack can begin.
posted by three blind mice at 12:19 PM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


we have always been at war with terra.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:20 PM on February 20, 2012


the conflict's narrative has become increasingly difficult to discern.

By design. As long as the citizenry remains confused they can't call for specific action. It's an intentional neutering of democratic forces, since I can't think of a way that military strategists would devise a plan like, "heck, let's just roam around for a couple of decades...or more!" all on their own.
posted by rhizome at 12:26 PM on February 20, 2012


War! Uh! What is it good for? Absolute power!
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 12:28 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If one considers - as I do - that the GWOT was just part of the post 1979 stategy to destroy Iran

Which is why the first thing we did was destroy the Pakistan-backed Taliban while arming the Iranian-backed Northern Alliance, and then invaded their only regional rival and put in place an Iran-friendly Shi'ite government.
posted by empath at 12:34 PM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


America and her erstwhile ally are primed to blow Iran to hell and the run-up to this war seems even less controversial than the run-up to Iraq.

I don't think US and Israeli interests align perfectly, re: Iraq and Iran. Israel wasn't particularly gung-ho about an Iraq invasion, and the US doesn't seem to be particularly gung-ho about an Iran attack, and I get the feeling that the only reason we're pushing so heavy on sanctions right now is to stop Israel from doing something crazy (though they seem intent on doing it regardless).
posted by empath at 12:38 PM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Listen, don't mention the war.
I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right. It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it....
So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Cheney, an Abu Ghraib, and four Gitmo salads.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:41 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

I'm not completely averse to utilitarian ethics, but I am averse to it when paired with a permanent culture of secrecy because then there is nothing to hold such tactics to the service of American ideals or even American interests.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:05 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the normalization of indefinite detention continues apace.
posted by mek at 2:22 PM on February 20, 2012


...a war informed at the outset by utopian expectations ...

I do not think the people pushing the war were so informed. They told a bunch of transparent lies to the effect that they expected utopian results, but only fools believed those lies. Now we've moved on, as our president likes to say, and are engaged in programs of indefinite imprisonment with no semblance of due process and of remote-control killing. Hooray for the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. I wish I lived there.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:14 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


the first thing we did was destroy the Pakistan-backed Taliban while arming the Iranian-backed Northern Alliance

Also in Iraq where we replaced Saddam's kinda-Sunni rule with elected Shiites which are getting more closely aligned with Iran. It's getting harder to find any consistency in American war policy, unless, if we assume W. Bush's motivation was to avenge what he considered the humiliation of his father by Saddam (by not going away after his defeat in Kuwait), then maybe Obama is working on payback for what Iran did to President Carter in '79-'80.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure, I don't doubt that there's some inside-baseball schoolyard bullshit going on.
posted by rhizome at 4:00 PM on February 20, 2012


My theory about US foreign policy in the Gulf is that it's primarily about keeping the Saudis happy. I confidently assert that every US action since WW2 makes sense when seen through this lens: the US supported the Shah because it's Saudi policy to support other monarchs; the US supported Saddam because Saudi Arabia wanted the regional powers to be busy fighting each other; the US then attacked Saddam because he invaded Saudi Arabia's neighbour, but left him in power because it's bad policy to get rid of dictators (who are like monarchs); the US finally got rid of Saddam when Saudi Arabia saw that he was rearming and going to pose a threat once again. This also explains the USA's weak response to Mubarak and Gaddafi: Saudi Arabia likes dictators.

Israel, you will note, isn't relevant to this analysis. This is because Saudi Arabia doesn't care about Israel or the Palestinians. This is why the only large-scale US intervention involving Israel was the Camp David accords, in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula if Egypt would demilitarise it. Why did the USA care about getting Israel to withdraw? Because by doing so they opened the Suez Canal to traffic, thereby boosting the wealth of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:27 PM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


the run-up to this war seems even less controversial than the run-up to Iraq

All depends on where ya go. Here on the Blue - because the guy in charge has a D - not so much.

A few of the sites and voices who brought up issues with Iraq are bringing up issues with Iran.

Issues like the IAEA leader today has said he would support a position of Iran has a weapons program (the past chief did not share that belief as far as I remember. He's now running for President of Egypt - perhaps he's made a statement there)

And the run-up this time has been a run-up how many other times? More than 3? It seems 'look for an October strike' is a common theme.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:35 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


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