From the Cold War to the Long War – only the name has been changed to protect the guilty By William Bowles

15 April 2006

“The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century and finds the great powers all on the same side – opposing the terrorists.” – George Bush

This past 10 April the Guardian published an extremely misleading article that is worth addressing for everything that it doesn’t say concerning US plans for the future and its so-called ‘long war’ against ‘international terrorism’ and it sums up the corporate media’s treatment of the continuation of the Cold War by another name.

Titled ‘The trailer park HQ where the ‘long war’ is being waged’ and bylined to Suzanne Goldenberg, it purports to be an examination of the fight against ‘al-Qu’eda’ which is we told, what the ‘long war’ is all about. Based, she tells us in a trailer park in Fort McDill, Florida, the story creates the entirely false impression that the ‘long war’ is some crack-brained scheme dreamt up by a bunch of army guys hanging out in some caravans:

It may look like one of the multitude of retirement communities that dot the shores of the sunshine state. But this set of trailers in Fort MacDill, near Tampa, and the military officers who emerge from their tin doors in various configurations of camouflage, are engaged in a far more serious enterprise. They are planning for a global conflict that, Washington believes, will dominate the next 20 years. The Pentagon calls it the “long war”: an integrated military, financial and diplomatic campaign against al-Qaida and its affiliates that will eventually span the globe, shaping the lives of the coming generation much as the cold war defined the baby boomers. –

Yet aside from revealing that the 63 countries that are allegedly a part of an ‘alliance’ have no common agenda about the ‘long war’, the article says absolutely nothing about the real strategic objectives that the ‘long war’ obscures, namely as the Project for a New American Century says, it is really all about “protecting US interests” (see ‘PNAC: Rebuilding America’s Defenses – A Biopsy on Imperialism; Part II: “Special Interests” – The Persian Gulf’ By Sarah Meyer for the details of US ‘interests’.

What is most revealing about this alleged piece of news is the total lack of context for the ‘long war’ which even the most perfunctory research reveals about the real objectives of the entirely misnamed ‘long war’ and especially the specious objectives that Goldenberg regurgitates without question, namely the war against the illusory ‘al-Qu’eda’.

Spelt out in Rumsfeld’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), published earlier this year, the ‘Long War’s’ objectives are as follows:

[To] “swiftly defeat” two adversaries in overlapping military campaigns, with the option of overthrowing a hostile government in one. In the new strategy, one of those two campaigns can be a large-scale, prolonged “irregular” conflict [and] to “operate around the globe, and not only in and from the four regions [Europe, the Middle East, the “Asian littoral” and Northeast Asia].” – ‘Ability to Wage ‘Long War’ Is Key To Pentagon Plan’, By Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post, Saturday, February 4, 2006; Page A01

Revealingly, the ‘Long War’ bears more than a little resemblance to Reagan’s ‘Low Intensity Conflict’ of the 1980s with the QDR’s objective of a 15 percent increase in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), with 52,000 personnel, including secret Delta Force operatives skilled in counterterrorism. The QDR defines a new:

20-year defense strategy that envisions U.S. troops deployed, often clandestinely, in dozens of countries at once to fight terrorism and other nontraditional threats. [ibid]

Publicly, the focus is on ‘Islamic extremism’ but most notable is the fact that rather than focus on the non-existent ‘al-Qu-eda’, the QDR singles out China as having:

“the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States,” – ‘Ability to Wage ‘Long War’ Is Key To Pentagon Plan’ [ibid]

Thus the QDR calls for a build-up of a new Air Force long-range strike force, as well as developing undersea warfare capabilities, not exactly the environment that terrorists operate in.

The QDR goes on to tell us that the ‘Long War’ will be of:

“Long duration, [with] complex operations involving the US military, other government agencies and international partners will be waged simultaneously in multiple countries round the world, relying on a combination of direct (visible) and indirect (clandestine) approaches … Above all they will require persistent surveillance and vastly better intelligence to locate enemy capabilities and personnel. They will also require global mobility, rapid strike, sustained unconventional warfare, foreign internal defence, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities. Maintaining a long-term, low-visibility presence in many areas of the world where US forces do not traditionally operate will be required.

“The US will work to ensure that all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders into the international system. It will also seek to ensure that no foreign power can dictate the terms of regional or global security.

“It will attempt to dissuade any military competitor from developing disruptive capabilities that could enable regional hegemony or hostile action against the US and friendly countries.” – ‘America’s Long War’, The Guardian,

But as with the Cold War, the propaganda aspect ignores the underlying reality and deals almost exclusively with the ‘terrorist threat’ and the ‘clash of civilisations’ especially the idea of a ‘Caliphate’ whose centre we are told is now in Iraq.

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno told his audience that:

The American people must remind themselves every day that the United States is at war

Newsspeak for the fact that the US government must remind the public that it is at ‘war’ and keep on doing it relentlessly. Odierno went on to tell his audience:

“The propaganda on the Internet is clear, they want to re-establish the caliphate … The center of the caliphate was initially going to be Afghanistan and was supported by the Taliban. Once the Taliban was defeated and overthrown, they shifted. And now in all their writings they say the center of the caliphate will be in the ‘Land of Two Rivers’ — Iraq.” – ‘Americans Must Understand U.S. Is at War, General Says’, Jim Garamone, American Defense Review.

And just in case the audience didn’t get the message clearly Odierno went on:

Americans need to talk about these terror goals … Americans need to understand the way the terrorists think and understand the threat they pose, because this may help Americans foster the will to combat these groups. – [ibid]

Once again emphasising the fact that whatever the real objectives of the ‘Long War’ are, as far as the public is concerned, the focus must be on the ‘terrorists’ as:

“violent, elusive, global in nature and loosely connected … The only tie is the tie of ideology, and that ideology is to make a “caliphate” — a land in which political, social and religious aspects of life are solidified and led by a single supreme ruler. [ibid]

There could be no clearer examples of the role of propaganda in creating a climate of fear within which the real objectives of the ‘Long War’ are buried which is what makes articles such as the one cited in the Guardian so dangerous and misleading. Such uncritical journalism is dangerous and inflammatory contributing as it does to the creation of an environment that justifies the US spending $513 billion on ‘defence’ by 2007 and furthermore, it justifies the US objective of involving its ‘allies’, especially through NATO in waging a war that the US admits it can’t win unless there is a:

… much higher level of cooperation and integration with Britain and other Nato allies, and the increased recruitment of regional governments through the use of economic, political, military and security means. [The report calls on it allies] … to share the risks and responsibilities of today’s complex challenges”.

The Pentagon must become adept at working with interior ministries as well as defence ministries, the report says. It describes this as “a substantial shift in emphasis that demands broader and more flexible legal authorities and cooperative mechanisms … Bringing all the elements of US power to bear to win the long war requires overhauling traditional foreign assistance and export control activities and laws.” – America’s Long War’

The ‘Long War’ is truly the continuation of the Cold War differing only in that the:

“The Long War will require different military capabilities and require U.S. leaders to develop a holistic concept of how to defeat these networks. Odierno said this entails being able to coordinate the military aspect of the fight with the efforts of diplomats, financial experts, police officials and others. It also will entail countering propaganda and misinformation extremists release. – ‘Military Culture Must Change to Fight ‘Long War’’, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the American Forces Press Service.

And, just as with the Cold War, the ‘enemy’ is an invention to justify US economic domination of the world which, when all is said is done, what it’s all about regardless of the kind of society the US claims it is opposed to, one that its support of repressive dictatorships down the years surely illustrates. For make no mistake, the ‘Long War’ is entirely about not only protecting US economic interests, its primary objective is to make damn sure that the US will continue to be the ‘top dog’ regardless of the consequences for the rest of us.

For fifty years we were terrorised into supporting the doctrine of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) only to find it replaced by USWOP (US War On the Planet), are we so dumb to be conned again for another fifty years?

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