...much as Obama would like to close his eyes, click his heels three times, and declare the War on Terror over, war is a two-way street.But the President seems to have an even bigger challenge to deal with in ending this war: the military industrial complex. Less than a week after President Obama gave his speech at the National Defense University, Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps gave a speech at the Brookings Institute.
President Obama last week said the United States is ready to move beyond the war on terror. The nation's military, meanwhile, is preparing for a future of continuous combat.That kind of tension is exactly what was reported by Peter Baker in his inside look at the lead-up to the President's speech.
“I don’t see any indication that things are going to settle down or become peaceful,” said Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps.
Speaking at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., May 29, Amos said he is convinced that the U.S. military during the next two decades will be just as busy as it has been during the past 12 years of war. When asked to forecast the Marine Corps’ future missions, Amos said, “I see much of what we’re going through right now. I don’t see any of it waning away.
Under the stewardship of John O. Brennan, then the president’s counterterrorism adviser, officials spent months discussing how to be more transparent about a program that was still officially secret and how to define its limits. After last spring’s discussion with the president, Mr. Brennan began a more intensive, formalized interagency process to rewrite the rules...This all took place before the President replaced Petraeus at CIA with Brennan and Gates at Defense with Hagel. As the new heads of these departments are more in line with his plans, one begins to see why their appointments were so important.
In seemingly endless meetings, including a dozen or more with the president, Mr. Brennan and other administration officials grappled with the issue. Concluding that Al Qaeda’s core leadership had been decimated, some officials wanted tighter restrictions on the use of drone strikes, but the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon balked.
Some might suggest that since President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief, none of this tension should matter...he should just order them to do what he wants done. But that would be a massively naive thing to suggest. Many of the people involved are career public employees or military who preceded him in office and will be there long after he's gone. One of the many ways that could pose a problem is what we're seeing right now with respect to leaks of classified information to the press.
Due to all of this, I would expect that we'll continue to see the CIA conduct drone strikes in Pakistan over the next year while our military is still engaged in Afghanistan because that is where some attacks against our forces are being staged. The President alluded to this in his speech.
That suggests a process to end this perpetual war in 2014 - which is basically what the President promised a little over a year ago.
My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda...With opposition coming from the far left, the right and the MIC, I think it is critical that we have his back on this one. Along with all the other things he will have accomplished during his 2 terms, lets support him in his effort to end perpetual war.
This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.