Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Long War

The Bush administration has decided to rename the "war on terror." It is now to be called "The Long War."

This name change seems to have two major advantages. First, it supplies a pretty, shiny patina to a war that is likely to go on for decades, if not longer. Apparently our leaders think Americans will be more willing to accept possibly 20 or 30 or 40 more years of their friends and loved ones being killed and disabled if they think of it as a "generational conflict" similar to the Cold War or World War II, and not as the consequence of Pres. Bush's catastrophic decision to take the United States into a preemptive, unilateral war of aggression against a country that was not a threat to us.

Which leads into the second advantage: Deflecting the public's attention away from the lies Bush told to get us into this war, the lack of planning, the arrogant failure to consider that there might be any resistance in Iraq to the U.S. invasion. By asserting that America is in a "Long War" against global terrorism, the Bush administration cleverly paints over the truth -- that global terrorism got its mega-boost from the insurgency created by the invasion of Iraq and by all the disastrous decisions made after Saddam Hussein's government was overthrown.

Having manufactured the false reality that, through no action of our own, we find ourselves in a long war likely to span many generations, the Bushies are wasting no time in drawing up elaborate plans for what this new war will look like. Of course these plans involve billions and billions of dollars.

The Pentagon, readying for what it calls a "long war," yesterday laid out 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.

Major initiatives include a 15 percent boost in the number of elite U.S. troops known as Special Operations Forces, a near-doubling of the capacity of unmanned aerial drones to gather intelligence, a $1.5 billion investment to counter a biological attack, and the creation of special teams to find, track and defuse nuclear bombs and other catastrophic weapons.
The new strategy marks a clear shift away from the Pentagon's long-standing emphasis on conventional wars of tanks, fighter jets and destroyers against nation-states. Instead, it concentrates on four new goals: defeating terrorist networks; countering nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; dissuading major powers such as China, India and Russia from becoming adversaries; and creating a more robust homeland defense.

Central to the first two goals is a substantial 15 percent increase in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), now with 52,000 personnel, including secret Delta Force operatives skilled in counterterrorism.

The review calls for a one-third increase in Army Special Forces battalions, whose troops are trained in languages and to work with indigenous fighters; an increase in Navy SEAL teams; and the creation of a new SOF squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles to "locate and target enemy capabilities" in countries where access is difficult.

In addition, civil affairs and psychological operations units will gain 3,500 personnel, a 33 percent increase, while the Marine Corps will establish a 2,600-strong Special Operations force for training foreign militaries, conducting reconnaissance and carrying out strikes.

"SOF will increase their capacity to perform more demanding and specialized tasks, especially long-duration, indirect and clandestine operations in politically sensitive environments and denied areas," the report says. By 2007, SOF will have newly modified Navy submarines, each armed with 150 Tomahawk missiles, for reaching "denied areas" and striking individuals or other targets.

"SOF will have the capacity to operate in dozens of countries simultaneously" and will deploy for longer periods to build relationships with "foreign military and security forces," it says.

To conduct strikes against terrorists and other enemies -- work typically assigned to Delta Force members and SEAL teams -- these forces will gain "an expanded organic ability to locate, tag and track dangerous individuals and other high-value targets globally," the report says.

The growth will also allow for the creation of small teams of operatives assigned to "detect, locate, and render safe" nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- as well as to prevent their transfer from states such as North Korea to terrorist groups.

To strengthen homeland defense, the report calls for improving communications and command systems so that military efforts can be better coordinated with state and local governments.

Here is the definition of Special Operations/Delta Force, from their official website:

The U.S. Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1stSFOD-D) plans and conducts a broad range of special operations across the operational continuum. [In this case, the world.] Delta is organized for the conduct of missions requiring rapid response with surgical applications of a wide variety of unique skills,while maintaining the lowest possible profile of U.S. involvement.

In other words, a global extranational paramilitary force. Theme song: "What the World Needs Now," and it's not something there's just too little of.

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