Friday, October 23, 2009

Kilcullen's Long War

Tom Hayden
From the Resource Center

Dear Tim,

It appears that President Obama will miss his last chance to stop the Afghan train to quagmire wreckage. He could seize the opportunity presented by the exposure of Karzai as an emperor with no clothes. Instead he seems to be choosing a blatant makeover of Karzai so the troops can be sent. For a devastating NY Times description of Karzai by Elizabeth Rubin on August 9, follow this link. For deeper background on the revival of the Vietnam Phoenix Program in Afghanistan today, see this piece in the current Nation magazine. The following are excerpts.

"These projections reveal a staggering audacity--not Obama's audacity of hope but an audacity of martial commitment. A fifty- to 100-year military campaign--the subtitle of Kilcullen's book is Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One--will span thirteen presidential terms and twenty-five Congressional sessions, casting a long shadow over generations of politicians not yet running for office. The Long War assumes either perpetual democratic approval by many voters not yet alive or that democracy will simply be circumvented by the national security state. Bin Laden will be dead of natural causes or otherwise long before it's over.
There has been little public discussion of the Long War. The term is attributed to Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command from 2003 to 2007; it is endorsed by counterinsurgency theorist John Nagl, who heads the Center for a New American Security; and it has been critically reviewed only in a collection, The Long War, edited by Andrew Bacevich."

Tom Hayden