Lending support to my previous post, I stumbled upon two weblogs by William Arkin in which he discusses the Pentagon's new name for the war on terror (the long war) and the Pentagon's stand alone plan for US military aggression.
In the article, "Goodbye War on Terrorism, Hello Long War", Arkin explains that, like the Cold War, the long war will evolve semantically to become a part of the English lexicon so that one day in the not too distant future it will be written with capital letters. The Pentagon projects a 20-year period for this constant state of tension and transformation.
In the article "Rumsfeld's new war plan," one learns that this OPLAN 71 "constitutes the first stand-alone U.S. military offensive plan to fight the global war on terrorism."
My response is: if we plan for war, war will be our reality. If we plan for peace, peace may be a possibility.
Just as institutions and individuals establish strategic plans that will shape their future, so is the United States formulating a road map for its citizens to travel for the next two decades.
But who bears the brunt of the load down that road?
Is it the military tacticians who are creating the plan? I think not. My guess is that most of the men and women who are responsible for putting the plan in place will retire within the next 20 years and probably sooner.
No, isn't it their sons and daughters and the sons and daughters of their fellow citizens who will be the pawns for this policy?
Is it really a legacy of peace that they leave behind, as if somehow after a hard-won fight of roughly 20 years, the world will be better because the United States will have defeated all of its foes?
Is the price of that victory worth the lost lives -- both American and foreign -- as the military budget balloons, precipitating painful cuts in other important programs, and all done in order to achieve a pax Americana?
The answers to these questions are difficult to discern, but my mind would be eased a bit if I knew that the State Department had an equally ambitious strategic plan to build up our global neighbors, perhaps most especially in those places where pronounced poverty and illness destabilize already perilous circumstances.
Would it not be more responsbile foreign policy to stand two bold plans side by side -- one that seeks to assist with the contruction of better lives in addition to this OPLAN that seeks the destruction of all those people who are now (or who eventually will be) opposed to our interests?
Yes, nation-building is a long and risky process, but it sounds like the Pentagon is strapping itself in for a long journey with war as the norm. Which route to peace would we rather take?