........the "war on terror" cannot and will not end on its own for two reasons: (1) it is designed by its very terms to be permanent, incapable of ending, since the war itself ironically ensures that there will never come a time when people stop wanting to bring violence back to the US (the operational definition of "terrorism"), and (2) the nation's most powerful political and economic factions reap a bonanza of benefits from its continuation. Whatever else is true, it is now beyond doubt that ending this war is the last thing on the mind of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner and those who work at the highest levels of his administration. Is there any way they can make that clearer beyond declaring that it will continue for "at least" another 10-20 years?A couple of quick thought.
The Bush administration's "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) was renamed simply the "War on Terrorism" by the Obama administration. However the United States has been actively seeking to degrade the ability of groups designated as "terrorist entities" since the 1970s. There was never anything new in the US trying to debilitate "terrorist" groups. What has determined the American policy response has been the:
- the international system
- the relative threat posed by so called terrorists
- the technological means available
Announcing a policy, giving it a headline name-preferably something pithy-- is part of a marketing strategy. It is designed to win public support, focus the bureaucracy, obtain funding; and any supporting legislative changes from congress. The character of US policy from 9/11 to now has been enabled by: America's dominant position in the international system; the absence of any competing near term threats and the emergence of technologies such as missile enable drones. Indeed had the Clinton administration been able to send armed drones into Afghanistan rather than ship based cruise missiles to kill Osama bin Laden it surely would have done so. The methods in place today will likely continue even after the branding of the current policy is forgotten and the talk of the day is of some new dangerous threat. As for the "powerful political and economic factions" that reap benefits from current policy, well yes, there are factions that reap benefits from all aspects of US foreign and domestic policy. Any policy should be evaluated according to the same criteria: does it succeed in achieving its aim; and is there a lower cost option available.