The Pentagon Admits: The "War On Terror" Will Never End

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.


- Glenn Greenwald from his recent article:  Washington Gets Explicit: Its “War on Terror” is Permanent

So last Thursday at a hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee, we found out what many of us already knew.  That the “war on terror” is never going to end.  Indeed, it was never supposed to end.  This never-ending “war” on a fantastical enemy provides the American oligarch class with too much money and too much power to ever make it worthwhile for the establishment to shut down.  It matters not to them that this civil liberties destroying fraud has been going on for my entire post-college life and, if they have their way, for the remainder of it.  It matters not to them that the “war on terror” itself has done more to destroy the Constitution and vital essence of this nation than any terrorist act ever could.  No, it matters very little indeed.  What matters to them is money and power, and the “war on terror” provides them with boatloads of both.

My favorite excerpts from Glenn’s article are below:

On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether the statutory basis for this “war” – the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) – should be revised (meaning: expanded). This is how Wired’s Spencer Ackerman (soon to be the Guardian US’s national security editor) described the most significant exchange:

“Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, ’At least 10 to 20 years.’ . . . A spokeswoman, Army Col. Anne Edgecomb, clarified that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today – atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted. Welcome to America’s Thirty Years War.”

That the Obama administration is now repeatedly declaring that the “war on terror” will last at least another decade (or two) is vastly more significant than all three of this week’s big media controversies (Benghazi, IRS, and AP/DOJ) combined. The military historian Andrew Bacevich has spent years warning that US policy planners have adopted an explicit doctrine of “endless war”. Obama officials, despite repeatedly boasting that they have delivered permanently crippling blows to al-Qaida, are now, as clearly as the English language permits, openly declaring this to be so.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.

In response, I wrote that the “war on terror” cannot and will not end on its own for two reasons: (1) it is designed by its very terms to be permanent, incapable of ending, since the war itself ironically ensures that there will never come a time when people stop wanting to bring violence back to the US (the operational definition of “terrorism”), and (2) the nation’s most powerful political and economic factions reap a bonanza of benefits from its continuation. Whatever else is true, it is now beyond doubt that ending this war is the last thing on the mind of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner and those who work at the highest levels of his administration. Is there any way they can make that clearer beyond declaring that it will continue for “at least” another 10-20 years?


And then there’s the most intangible yet most significant cost: each year of endless war that passes further normalizes the endless rights erosions justified in its name. The second term of the Bush administration and first five years of the Obama presidency have been devoted to codifying and institutionalizing the vast and unchecked powers that are typically vested in leaders in the name of war. Those powers of secrecy, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and due-process-free assassination are not going anywhere. They are now permanent fixtures not only in the US political system but, worse, in American political culture.

Each year that passes, millions of young Americans come of age having spent their entire lives, literally, with these powers and this climate fixed in place: to them, there is nothing radical or aberrational about any of it. The post-9/11 era is all they have been trained to know. That is how a state of permanent war not only devastates its foreign targets but also degrades the population of the nation that prosecutes it.

This war will end only once Americans realize the vast and multi-faceted costs they are bearing so that the nation’s political elites can be empowered and its oligarchs can further prosper. But Washington clearly has no fear that such realizations are imminent. They are moving in the other direction: aggressively planning how to further entrench and expand this war.

Newly elected independent Sen. Angus King of Maine said after listening to how the Obama administration interprets its war powers under the AUMF:

This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution today.” 

Former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith, who testified at the hearing,summarized what was said after it was over: Obama officials argued that “they had domestic authority to use force in Mali, Syria, Libya, and Congo, against Islamist terrorist threats there”; that “they were actively considering emerging threats and stated that it was possible they would need to return to Congress for new authorities against those threats but did not at present need new authorities”; that “the conflict authorized by the AUMF was not nearly over”; and that “several members of the Committee were surprised by the breadth of DOD’s interpretation of the AUMF.” Conveying the dark irony of America’s war machine, seemingly lifted right out of the Cold War era film Dr. Strangelove, Goldsmith added:

Amazingly, there is a very large question even in the Armed Services Committee about who the United States is at war against and where, and how those determinations are made.”

Nobody really even knows with whom the US is at war, or where. Everyone just knows that it is vital that it continue in unlimited form indefinitely.

1984 really was an instruction manual for the people in power.  Terrifying.

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Rick Blaine's picture

Thanks for the hot tip.

HeavyShadow's picture

Not sure 1984 is the guide book, or the message that it keeps happening again and again until it's balanced back.

ACP's picture

I respectfully disagree with ZH placing a photo from 1984 in the synopsis.

I think a photo from the movie "Brazil" seems a more likely candidate.


Buttle, Tuttle, what's the difference? Just bag 'im!

HeavyShadow's picture

Yeah, the copious amounts of paperwork. You are probably right.

john39's picture

All this, and still people can't see that 911 was an inside job.

HeavyShadow's picture

Until everyone has there own free, uninterruped energy supply, enough for life support, then there will be war...and the suppression of such knowledge.

Skateboarder's picture

War on Language. War on Ideas. War on Instinct.

flacon's picture

Did you know Nancy Pelosi made a cameo in the movie Brazil? Here's photo proof:

espirit's picture

I'm still confused as to who the "terrorists" are.

knukles's picture

What did you say?
Come with me.
We're going to Room 101

James_Cole's picture

Actually the 1984 image is very appropriate as the war on terror officially started in 1984. 

In 1984, the Reagan Administration used the term "war against terrorism" as part of an effort to pass legislation that was designed to freeze assets of terrorist groups and marshal the forces of government against them. Author Shane Harris asserts this was a reaction to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing.[

The war against hidden enemies has been a mainstay of the USA for a lot longer than 1984 though, the labels just change. 

DFCtomm's picture

The enemy isn't hidden. The enemy is in the open, but you aren't allowed to name it.

General Decline's picture

One used to be able to name the enemy on the pages of ZH.... Ah, the good ole' days.

PT's picture

I'm not supposed to agree with you two.  But I cannot say you are wrong.  And I like to learn and I don't like ignoring my eyes and ears.  Still, I still think that if we just went after the enemies that are out in the open, and the accessories that support them - judicial, media etc, then it wouldn't matter if you or me are right or wrong, the real enemy would be there for everyone to see.

Edit:  Punish the guilty.  And punish those who refused to punish the guilty when that was their job.  And punish those who try to hide the guilty from justice.  At this point, any debate over who "the enemy" is, is redundant. 

SamAdams's picture

Yes, Jews are at the "visible" seats of corruption in Finance, Media and are active in undermining the Bill of Rights in Congress.  They are also assisting Janet at DHS, which is a police state power.  These for a lack of a better term, are Bolshevik style, Communistic Jews.  This does not make all Jews bad, but obviously some are a real problem.  At the same time, there are plenty of self proclaimed Christians assisting them to the conscious or unconscious goal.  Personally, I think that Judaism and Christianity have very little to do with the direction of these selfish men and women.  These are facts, not bigotry.  BTW, Zerohedge is part ABC media these days...

PT's picture

So make a hit list and publicize it.  Names, addresses, alleged crimes.  When the world falls over, the little people will fight each other while the instigators party thousands of miles away.  This is the bigger crime that needs to be nipped in the bud.

I'm quite sure that Hitler hit the wrong 6 million "joos".  Perhaps if he had have gone after the 6 million richest bankers instead, he may have got better results.  ( My history knowledge is crap, feel free to enlighten. )

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

war on terror, much better..seems all the heads of state like others to die for them..clinton, bush, the modern nobility of the EU, (ex english crown prince), in the end the rulers figured out to send their proxy out to fight and die while the elite live on playing the game..once in the USA the congress declared war, today any wall street puppet ruler does it and even keeps it going D dor R ..some in the populace will not support these unlawful wars we have woken up. where is the left denoucement the protests in the streets, the black man saying ain't gonna fight your honkey wars..none to be seen, hypocrits seem to come in jumbo size when on the left.

mickeyman's picture

Confess quickly. It will go easier on your credit rating.

TheObsoleteMan's picture

I'm not confused about who they are, and neither is Julian Assage.

tony wilson's picture

you and you and you 2

you and you also

in fact all of you are guilty

of thought crime evil deed.


knukles's picture

There are no Conspiracy Theories for they all become Conspiracy Fact

I've been laughed at and derided for decades for not just that reasoning, but exact phrase....

They trynna catch me ridin dirty's picture

The only difference between LIBOR and the hidden hand/TPTB is that LIBOR was just a bunch of frat boy punks with no real power.

When you can shut a popular presidential candidate out of an election so as to make him effectively nonexistent, as the mass media did to Ron Paul, and still have the idiot masses defend the establishment and repeat your talking points--now that is real power.

Anusocracy's picture

War by the animal world on the civilized world.

knukles's picture

Ah but the veneer of civilization proves ever so thin

Anusocracy's picture

Granted. Civilization is built on a foundation consisting of millions of years of savagery

Drachma's picture

"The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact."

George Orwell, 1984

illyia's picture

Back to report from iron mountain, again...

Reptil's picture

yes; War on an abstract concept.

g speed's picture

skate boarder---war on life--there -fixed it

auntiesocial's picture

Osama Bin Laden, being bored and not having enough already to focus on right before 9/11, decides to call his good buddies and tip off the Israelis first so that they can fly to America and document the event and be in perfect position to film the towers coming down not worried that they may tattle tail on him. MAKES PERFECT SENSE. 

ALAN SABROSKY sums it up best, if one of the buildings were rigged, then they were all rigged. 

TraderTimm's picture


Don't forget having to pay for your own interrogation, at reasonable interest rates naturally.

(Usually is cut from the theatrical release, but the criterion edition has it in there...)

trembo slice's picture

If anyone has played Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Kojima tackles the issue of the US military machine and the war economy.  Every game deals with some ethical issue: eugenics, warrantless-surveillance, and the military-industrial complex.  

The War on Terror, like QE, are policies that will not be abandoned.  For when they are, the orb of power shifts from West-East.  The psychos trying to control the world, especially those here in the US, will be patching the hull while the ship is capsizing.  Things will change, but not because of the insightfulness or courage of any politician (save the lifetime of effort by RP).

max2205's picture

Mother fucker. Where are the anti war protesters?  Oh wait....they are all democrats. 


Guess we have to wait till we get a Republican president....oh wait....

HeavyShadow's picture

Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of the deeper historical theme of absolute power corrupting.

Though, rules were once written up to keep from assuming such power. Good book that one. Timeless piece. Pity it is eroding in Nevada somwhere.

wee-weed up's picture



max2205   "Mother fucker. Where are the anti war protesters?  Oh wait....they are all democrats."

Of course... 

Liberals & DemoCraps and their MSM, congresscritters, and office holders are not biased...

Not in any way! How could you even suggest such a thing!


knukles's picture

I have some uber-liberal buds who have heretofore proudly claimed to be pacifists under Bush, actively demeaning him for his wars, but now finding excuses to support the very same now they're no longer Bush's Fault but owned by O-bomb-bah.

wee-weed up's picture

Yep, typical Lib hypocrites!

James_Cole's picture

Yep, typical Lib hypocrites!

...written on a post aggregating two anti-war articles written by liberals. 

What should be obvious is there are very few liberals or conservatives out there, mostly there are people who will be whatever is most convenient to the tribe they find themselves within. 

Means 'conservatives' will heartily support non-conservative initiates by Republicans and 'liberals' will find lockstep support for non-liberal initiatives by Democrats. 

If the poltical system weren't a binary it might force people to actually think. Though, probably not. 

debtandtaxes's picture

Obama. The perfect Trojan Horse.

Looks like a good guy. Sneaks in the worst laws by edict. But believed to be capable of  only supporting policies good for minorities as he is a minority himself. And so is never questioned.

Obama is proof that class issues far surpass race issues.


tango's picture

The idea of screaming about Bush's wars and not opening your trap under Obama is a classic case of intellectual dishonesty practiced so widely amont the intelligensia.  Deficits of $200 billion were predicted to lead to ruin whereas yearly trillion+ deficits are just fine because we're "helping people".   Ideology trumps reason every time.  There are probably scores of ZH folks who once thought Apple simply a company that made cutting edge expensive products but now - because one of the Tylers has got a bee in his bonnet - suddenly act as if they were the anti-chirst.  Again, ideology trumps reason. 

Go Tribe's picture

And when they run out of enemies abroad to fight, they'll turn on their own.

Long 2 billion rounds, bitchez!

Saint Tibb's picture

The anti war protesters are all in the same place where the deficit hawks went during 2001-2007.

GaryNeville's picture

Of course the war on terror can end - all you have to do is kill everyone and hey presto - its over

otto skorzeny's picture

the US will go broke long before that happens.

F. Bastiat's picture

No question.  In the decade since 9/11, the USG has virtually bankrupted itself and the islamists have conquered almost all of North Africa.

It's pretty clear who's winning.

otto skorzeny's picture

virtually bankrupted itself?-that's like "kind-of" pregnant- you either is or you ain't

F. Bastiat's picture

The currency hasn't collapsed yet, I guess was my point. 

While the Pentagon was conquered by the forces of political correctness long ago, they apprently don't even yet seem to realize it.  (Reference General Casey's comments about diversity and enemy combatant Nadal Hassan).

These are ultimately religious wars and islam is a much stronger force than the quasi-marxist, pseudo-religious, materialist nonsense that Western civilization has degenerated into.