Friday, May 17, 2013

The 30-Year War

Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).  Due to this week's scandal trifecta, the hearing received little coverage, so you might have missed the revelation that our two War Parties have delivered the United States' first 30-year war.  Wired's Spencer Ackerman described the relevant exchange here:
"Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least 10 to 20 years.' . . . A spokeswoman, Army Col. Anne Edgecomb, clarified that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today - atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted. Welcome to America's Thirty Years War."
You'll recall that the AUMF was passed in response to the 9/11 attack.  Although it did not contain the word "war," it came to serve as the legal basis for engaging in a global war on terror that has no termination point and no geographic boundary.  But despite the war fatigue of the U.S. electorate, there is no talk of repealing the AUMF, rather the committee only considered whether it needs to be broadened.  Does anyone know what victory will look like? 

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