War on Iraq

Andrew Bacevich Asks Congress If We Can Afford the "Long War"

Why progressives should dump the "war on terror" in favor of another frame.

Last week Icovered the bold testimony of Ret. Cpl. Rick Reyes before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drawing the comparison between Reyes's anti-war testimony and a young John Kerry alerting the nation to the horrors of the Vietnam War 38 years ago. I certainly wasn't the only one to connect the dots between Vietnam and the current quagmire in Afghanistan, as you can see from this video with excerpts of Andrew Bacevich's testimony.

Bacevich, a retired Colonel who served in Vietnam and is now professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, has become one of the most vocal critics of the "Long War," as Defense Secretary Robert Gates dubbed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Paraphrasing General Bruce Palmer's account of the Vietnam War, Bacevich said that our country is once again "mired in a protracted war of an indeterminate nature, with no forseeable end to the US commitment."

The Long War, as Bacevich exclaimed, has become the second most expensive war in US history (second only to WWII). Now that we our facing trillions in debt, Bacevich urged Congress to question the reasons for escalation in Afghanistan. "We just urgently need to ask ourselves whether or not the purposes of the long war are achievable, necessary, and affordable," Bacevich claimed, "and Afghanistan is a subset of that longer set of questions." Congress needs to address questions of cost before they vote on President Obama's $83 billion war funding bill in the coming weeks. And the most direct way to follow Bacevich's lead and confront Congress is by calling your Representatives as soon as possible, urging them not to vote until we have more oversight hearings like these, and more questions answered.

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.