How much longer, this Forever War?

Putin traveled to Syria the other day, and announced the beginning of withdraw of Russian forces after just two years.
Just days before, the Pentagon announced no withdraw from Syria, eventhough we aren't welcome and it's an illegal war.

Pahon says US troops are going to stay to “support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” both goals which, one must note, are absolutely open-ended, and unlikely to ever be declared “accomplished.”
Though the Pentagon had long been very public about the fact that their deployment to Iraq was a permanent one, the war in Syria is different, in no small part because the Syrian government never authorized US troops to deploy there, and isn’t supporting the idea of them staying.

That got me thinking about Joe Haldeman's novel The Forever War, and how long our war will be.

“You couldn’t blame it all on the military, though. The evidence they presented for the Taurans’ having been responsible for the earlier casualties was laughably thin. The few people who pointed this out were ignored. The fact was, Earth’s economy needed a war, and this one was ideal. It gave a nice hole to throw buckets of money into, but would unify humanity rather than dividing it.”
― Joe Haldeman, The Forever War

We've essentially been at war in/with Iraq for 27 years now. People forget that we bombed Iraq on a weekly basis during the gap between 1991 and 2003.
U.S. soldiers currently serving in Iraq weren't even born when our longest current war started. There is no end in sight for this war.

“The most important fact about the war to most people was that if it ended suddenly, Earth’s economy would collapse.”
― Joe Haldeman, The Forever War

We've been at war in/with Afghanistan for 16 years, and this war is looking even more bleak.

After 16 years of U.S. presence in Kabul, it is an acknowledgment that even the city’s central districts have become too difficult to defend from Taliban bombings.
The capital project is also clearly taking place to protect another long-term U.S. investment: Along with an increase in troops to a reported 15,000, from around 11,000 at the moment, the Trump administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan is likely to keep the military in place well into the 2020s, even by the most conservative estimates.

Unless someone in Washington is capable of admitting defeat, or if a peace movement can spring out of nothing, another decade of war in Afghanistan is certain. Especially since we are training our future enemies.
Our current Afghani soldiers were in diapers on 9/11.

And then there is the wars that we don't even acknowledge, like the one in Somalia.

In a sign that the Defense Department does not envision a quick end to the deepening war in Somalia against the Shabab and the Islamic State, the proposed plan is said to include an exemption to a rule in Mr. Trump’s guidelines requiring annual vetting by staff from other agencies — including diplomats and intelligence officials — of operational plans for certain countries.
Instead, the Pentagon wants to wait 24 months before reviewing how the Somalia plan is working, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

So while Russia declares war, fights the war, and wins the war, inside of two years, the Pentagon will take two years to just decide whether we are winning or losing in an undeclared war.

“Reality becomes illusory and observer-oriented when you study general relativity. Or Buddhism. Or get drafted.”
― Joe Haldeman, The Forever War

We spend $250 million a day for the last 16 years to fight this pointless war.
It appears that it will only end when we are broke.

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33 users have voted.

Comments

Bollox Ref's picture

had several breaks of years when nothing much happened.

This one just seems continuously awful. Perhaps we need the rising power of the Commons to question the whole thing/spending.

Oh, wait...

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12 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Bollox Ref You mean like this?

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7 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Bollox Ref's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

To the House of Commons in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives in the 21st C. appears to not give a shit, despite continual death, monies wasted.

Welcome to the 13th C.

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9 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Bollox Ref Oh, the House of Commons. Not the, well, actual commons, but those who claim to be representing it.

Sorry, we don't have that in stock anymore.

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5 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Bollox Ref I feel that rather than questioning why people don't take it to the streets more often, we should ask ourselves what plan we have for the time when the establishment responds in the way they always do. Without such a plan, we are merely hoping they won't be such shits this time.

Although I think we get a lot more out of movements like that than we do out of the duopoly parties, obviously, the truth is that both strategies have a similar problem. Every time we're hoping they won't be such shits this time.

We need more than that, or few will ever come out--unless it's for an astroturf pussy hat march.

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9 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Bollox Ref's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

to a medieval institution that resented taxation for a seemingly pointless, dynastic war. Under Henry IV and Henry V, especially, the government had to negotiate/compromise regularly with Parliament for extra income.

Seemingly, the modern day House of Representatives just rolls over for a tummy scratching.

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12 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Bollox Ref @Bollox Ref Yep, got it now.

It's funny that it didn't even cross my mind to associate the word "commons" with any legislative institution, even though I know the British lower house is called the House of Commons. Sign of the times, I guess--an American who no longer believes in any relationship between politicians and the commons in any sense.

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I admit there were people who decided peace didn't actually matter that much to them when it was Barack Obama prosecuting the wars, and it became less acceptable to support or promote peace at that point, because you were liable to be accused of racism if you did, but that doesn't mean there haven't been large and strong peace movements against this particular war cluster. The one in 2002-3 being the largest.

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9 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Well, unless you count Occupy, which was a protest against many things--but war was not always the focus, and when it was, it was not exclusively the focus.

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

divineorder's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I would say that war is inseparable from economics, therefore #OccupyWallStreet wuz what it wuz. Smile

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

going on?

/The peace movement never really died after Vietnam just it just shriveled, waxed and waned.

Here’s the latest idea, a place to start...

..

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9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

long-running wars. We need to start some entirely fresh wars before people figure out the current ones are strangling the safety net, maintenance and development at home, encouraging racism and fascism at home and making politicians rich. Not that there seems to be any danger of Democratic voters noticing any of that but still better to have fresher wars. Contingency planning.

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9 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@jim p We are in a post-policy age. Democratic politicians need not do anything except have nicer manners than their opponents.

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8 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

respectable corners of the internet that Mr. Netanyahoo says or thinks or brags that he can activate enough bribed or intimidated or deluded or blackmailed members of Congress to declare war on Iran. Whether their constituents like it or not.

So, maybe, it this rumor should prove to be true, God help us, maybe all the alternative parties should get together and put out a petition to be printed in newspapers all across the country, from Pravda on the Hudson on down to the Shady Grove weekly shopping guide that the undersigned commit to circulating recall petitions for each member who votes for such an atrocity. No wait till the next election, Retribution Now!

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13 users have voted.

Nastarana

mimi's picture

in Syria and therefore can go home. Russians on the street said Putin made Russia great again and seem content. That's the Russians' way of 'playing Trump'. Apparently Russians are more successful in this "making things great again" competition.

Oh, the wars will go on for ever, sometimes they take a nap, then someone says something and it all bubbles up again.

Divesting and boycotting the war machine is needed. It looks that nobody really wants to do that, the money to make with weapons and wars is just too seductive.

Nice article. Thanks.

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12 users have voted.

@mimi let us dig our own hole for a while? Am I not rational being worried a bit Russia is pulling out troops when "we" are not?

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8 users have voted.

@lizzyh7 More of a general question?

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lizzyh7
I repeated basically what the ARD German TV correspondent in Moscow was saying in our evening news. I happen to know him and trust his reports. Of course he wasn't that sarcastic as I intended my comment to sound (making Russia "great again" like Trump was meant as snark). I think the war in Syria is too expensive for Russia. I have no idea if Putin gets a kick out of watching the US digging themselves in a hole in Syria. It's not Putin's fault that the US is not withdrawing their troops. Their own fault. And btw I have no clue. The experts are here, it's better you ask them.

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5 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mimi Russia is better at it--and Putin is better at it--because they still have an actual nation-state, and at least some of the Russian elites want to keep it that way.

The United States is not a nation, but a collection of multinational economic interests with an army. I don't exactly know how to place the secret police in this formulation--they are part of, but not identical with, the military. Kind of like a triangle, with big money, traditional military, and secret police as the three points. Think of us as the place where more than half the global elites keep their guns.

It's difficult to "Make the Arsenal Great Again." Unless you're talking about this:

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9 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

SnappleBC's picture

The United States military... the largest and most well-funded military in the world... by far... has been fighting unsuccessfully for 27 years against Iraq.

That's what I'm supposed to believe?

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11 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

Bisbonian's picture

@SnappleBC , but not so good at stopping.

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9 users have voted.

"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

snoopydawg's picture

Pahon says US troops are going to stay to “support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,

Didn't we make sure that they had all the support that they needed when we used them to help us overthrow Assad? And where will the 3,500 ISIS troops that we allowed to leave Syria be to sent next?

$250 million per day x 365 days x 16 years = How Much? No wonder we're too broke to fund CHIP.

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11 users have voted.

The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance

Bisbonian's picture

We've essentially been at war in/with Iraq for 27 years now. People forget that we bombed Iraq on a weekly basis during the gap between 1991 and 2003.

But then, I was there in '91 (and '90, and '92).

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11 users have voted.

"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

because even though Assad is a right bastard, I'd really prefer he stay in power rather than create another power vacuum like the one in Iraq--a howling vortex of anti-civilization, a generator of ever-more venomous bastards.

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8 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Lookout's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

...Obomber's and the $hill's mess. I hope the empire collapses before we start a war with Iran...which is obviously T-rump's (and Nitwityahoo's) goal.

Before you laugh...if China and Russia united on a gold based currency, the US would fall without a shot as our currency became as worthless as it really is.

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6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout It wasn't Trump's goal originally. You can't want to be best business buddies with Russian oil men and simultaneously want to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.

Now it's his goal because nobody in a highly visible position in the U.S. is allowed to dissent for long, unless it's controlled opposition.

It's really the PNAC crazies' goal, always has been.

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti