Sunday, May 19, 2013

Letter to the editor

Here's a letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

During recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Department officials were asked to define the duration and breadth of the "war on terror," as part of the committee's hearing on the need for revision of the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Force (AUMF), under which the U.S. carried out military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The answers were shocking (though largely unreported in the major media): Michael Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense, testified that the "war" would likely last "at least ten or twenty years" after the expiration of President Obama's second term, while Defense Department counsel Robert S. Taylor stated that the authorization to attack wasn't limited in geographical scope – as evidenced by strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – and that the definition of groups that are within the scope of U.S. attack is "a bit murky." As to how and when the war might be determined to end, Taylor stated that it was "unclear."

A more textbook example of George Orwell's 1984 vision of endless war cannot be imagined. And so this is the legacy of our generation: a war with undefined enemies, undefined territory and undefined end. Good luck, my children and their children. Have a nice life.