On May 16th, during a Senate hearing revisiting the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Michael Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, predicted that the war against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates could last up to 20 more years.
In April, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the current US commander in occupied Afghanistan, had already told the Senate Armed Services Committee that US troops should remain in Afghanistan after 2014. Dunford said he had not made any assessments on the US troop level beyond 2014. In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon plans to leave roughly 3,000, 6,000, or 9,000 US troops in after the 2014 deadline for NATO operations in the country.It’s been over 11 years since 9/11 and the unilateral and criminal declaration of “War on Terror” by President George Bush three days later, but the “War on Terror” was planned even before 9/11 – and planned to be an endless occupation in the Middle East.
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), created in 1997 during the Clinton administration, was an important part of Bush agenda during his presidential campaign in 2000. This passage written in September of 2000, commissioned by then Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney, guided the Bush administration:
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“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor. (…) While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
Chapter V of PNAC, named Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century Rebuilding America’s Defenses, clearly notes, too, that US matter in Iraq was not Al-Qaeda, nor weapons of mass destruction – which were never found.Over a decade later, the US military has been brutally wounded––more than 17,000 deaths in Afghanistan alone. The US government is unable to support veterans returning home from the battlefields, and of those who do return, often come back suffering severe health issues, many of them losing their medical care as reported by Democracy Now!
Additionally, one million Afghans and Iraqis have been killed (most of them, innocent civilians); those countries are under wreckage; Afghanistan continues to lead the world opium production, its economy and political system at a catastrophic level of corruption; the country lives under social chaos and Iraq is much more divided and dangerous than it was under Mr. Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.It was long ago clear that American taxpayers still have a long way ahead as the US faces an unbeatable war, while the US government and the intelligence community are, year by year, failing to provide “security,” to prevent “terrorist attacks,” even as they tighten policy and remove civil liberties. All this for the biggest lie in history, at the expense of American taxpayers—until now, such a big lie has cost more than one trillion dollars. (Since 2002, the US has increased the military budget as never before in history, Cold War included, by more than six trillion dollars leading up to 2012.)
Last April, The Constitution Project, a Washington, DC think tank, released a 600-page report by its “Task Force on Detainee Treatment” documenting decades of war crimes committed by US imperialism and its military and intelligence agencies. It says:
The events examined in this report are unprecedented in US history. In the course of the nation’s many previous conflicts, there is little doubt that some US personnel committed brutal acts against captives, as have armies and governments throughout history. But there is no evidence there had ever before been the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after September 11, directly involving a president and his top advisors on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain on some detainees in our custody. Despite this extraordinary aspect, the Obama administration declined, as a matter of policy, to undertake or commission an official study of what happened, saying it was ‘unproductive’ to ‘look backwards’ rather than forward.
Mr. Obama refuses to “look backwards” and his policy of war abroad, and a police state in the country, is a perfect continuation of Mr. Bush policies. So “looking backwards” really means looking at the present.
We have seen terrible war crimes against humanity in the Middle East – not to mention in Guantánamo. And an inert, totally neglectful President Obama. The “War on Terror” isn’t ending any time soon. No matter what the government would like you to believe. After all, President Obama believes it’s unproductive to reflect on how we got ourselves to this point today, insisting instead on barreling forward at the monetary cost to the American citizens, and the cost of lives in the continuing battle on “terror.”