Small Wars Journal

Understanding the Long War

Understanding the Long War - Tom Hayden, The Nation.

The concept of the "Long War" is attributed to former CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid, speaking in 2004. Leading counterinsurgency theorist John Nagl, an Iraq combat veteran and now the head of the Center for a New American Security, writes that "there is a growing realization that the most likely conflicts of the next fifty years will be irregular warfare in an 'Arc of Instability' that encompasses much of the greater Middle East and parts of Africa and Central and South Asia." The Pentagon's official Quadrennial Defense Review (2005) commits the United States to a greater emphasis on fighting terrorism and insurgencies in this "arc of instability." The Center for American Progress repeats the formulation in arguing for a troop escalation and ten-year commitment in Afghanistan, saying that the "infrastructure of jihad" must be destroyed in "the center of an 'arc of instability' through South and Central Asia and the greater Middle East."

The implications of this doctrine are staggering. The very notion of a fifty-year war assumes the consent of the American people, who have yet to hear of the plan, for the next six national elections. The weight of a fifty-year burden will surprise and dismay many in the antiwar movement. Most Americans living today will die before the fifty-year war ends, if it does. Youngsters born and raised today will reach middle age. Unborn generations will bear the tax burden or fight and die in this "irregular warfare."

There is a chance, of course, that the Long War can be prevented. It may be unsustainable, a product of imperial hubris. Public opinion may tire of the quagmires and costs--but only if there is a commitment to a fifty-year peace movement...

More at The Nation.


murphman (not verified)

Tue, 09/15/2009 - 1:31am

Tom Hayden seems to feel that we can just

wake up and decide to end this War.

No matter what Al Queida wants, it is all the

Fault of the Military and the CIA.

Lets be honest the Guys Dispises the Military.

What did you call them back in the 60's Tom?

Baby Killer's yes now we remember Tom.

unless i am mistaken Tom openly admired the

Communists in the North and Cambodia.

Tom Hayden. I remember him, from the 60's and 70's. I remember the style too. He must be a very happy man. He gets to use words like "quagmire" and "Kit Carson scouts" again. Not many of us get to relive our youth.

I also remember the side he worked hard for won and brought about the outcome he wanted. Millions of people who didn't deserve to suffered and died. Hopefully Mr. Hayden won't get to see all of his youthful glories come again.

Sorry, Dave and Bill, old Tom just brings out the bad in me.