Is the Military Undermining the Constitution?
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And then there’s this from the estimable General David Petraeus: "I don't think you win this war,” Woodward quotes the field commander as saying. “I think you keep fighting... This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives."
Here we confront a series of questions to which Woodward (not to mention the rest of Washington) remains steadfastly oblivious. Why fight a war that even the general in charge says can’t be won? What will the perpetuation of this conflict cost? Who will it benefit? Does the ostensibly most powerful nation in the world have no choice but to wage permanent war? Are there no alternatives? Can Obama shut down an unwinnable war now about to enter its tenth year? Or is he -- along with the rest of us -- a prisoner of war?
President Obama has repeatedly stated that in July 2011 a withdrawal of U. S. troops from Afghanistan will commence. No one quite knows exactly what that means. Will the withdrawal be symbolic? General Petraeus has already made it abundantly clear that he will entertain nothing more. Or will July signal that the Afghan War -- and by extension the Global War on Terror launched nine years ago -- is finally coming to an end?
Between now and next summer attentive Americans will learn much about how national security policy is actually formulated and who is really in charge. Just don’t expect Bob Woodward to offer any enlightenment on the subject.
Tom Engelhardt, editor of Tomdispatch.com, is co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's .
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