�The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war.� �2006
Quadrennial Defense Review
�Long wars are usually strategic disasters . . ." �The Long War, William Sturgiss Lind
The Department of Defense�s recently updated Quadrennial
Defense Review (QDR) -- adapted from a neoconservative fairy tail --
illustrates the treacherously defective reasoning of an empire in denial. Using
the threat of terrorism as a pretext for imperial mobilization, the 113-page
20-year defense strategy is designed to fail.
The preface of the document opens with the following:
The United States
is a nation engaged in what will be a long war.
Since the attacks
of September 11, 2001, our Nation has fought a global war against violent
extremists . . . who seek to destroy our free way of life.
Incredibly, the DoD is still asserting that
terrorists hate our freedom -- a blatantly false premise propagated in order to
the true cause of terrorism: our foreign policy, which the QDR goes on to
struggle is centered in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we will need to be prepared
and arranged to successfully defend our Nation and its interests around the
globe for years to come.
In the language of publicly-released foreign policy, �defending our
interests around the globe� -- a phrase repeated in several ways throughout the
QDR -- usually translates to: securing
America�s global dominance by force.
Similar language, although sometimes far more straightforward, has often
been used by members of the Bush administration as well as influential policy
groups and think tanks, such as the Project for the New American Century
(PNAC). The infamous PNAC document, Rebuilding
America�s Defenses, for instance, states:
The Defense Policy
Guidance (DPG) drafted in the early months of 1992 provided a blueprint for
maintaining U.S. preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and
shaping the international security order in line with American principles and
Written by Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby for then Defense Secretary
Richard Cheney, the Defense
Policy Guidance (DPG) mentioned above clearly states:
Various types of
U.S. interests may be involved in such instances: access to vital raw
materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil . . .
In the Middle East
and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside
power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region�s oil.
According to the Project for the New American Century, this provided
them with a �blueprint� for Rebuilding
America�s Defenses -- a venture they began in the spring of 1998 in order to �examine the
country�s defense plans and resource requirements.� PNAC completed the document
in 2000, just prior to transferring over a dozen of its members to the incoming
Bush administration. At the time, they wrote that �the unresolved conflict with
Iraq provides the immediate justification� for establishing a �permanent� and
�substantial American force presence in the Gulf,� which they even admitted,
�transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.� They went on say:
Over the long
term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as
Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining
forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S.
security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region.
The QDR uses more
discreet and familiar rhetoric:
The pursuit of
weapons of mass destruction by Iran is a destabilizing factor in the region.
Terrorist networks remain active in many states and could threaten regional
energy supplies in an attempt to cripple the global economy.
As shown above, the
�global war on terror� is really a global war for resources and territory --
and consequently -- a war to remain the world�s one and only superpower.
Washington Post columnist William
M. Arkin writes,
�buried in the [QDR�s] hard-to-penetrate bureaucratize is a clear message: The
United States will seek to ensure that 'no foreign power' will develop 'regional
hegemony' or 'disruptive' capabilities -- and China is the only nation with the
capacity to do both.� 
As the principal
author of Rebuilding America�s Defenses openly explains:
In a nutshell, the practical application of the
Bush Doctrine amounts to "rolling back" radical Islamism while
"containing" the People's Republic of China, that is, hedging against
its rise to great-power status. . .
The pre-9/11 international status quo is not a
realistic option in Beijing any more than in Baghdad. The Chinese Communist
Party prides itself on its patience and its long view of history, but a five-thousand-year
past may prove to be just excessive baggage as the world realigns itself.
The DoD and Bush administration publicly justify this strategy by
perpetuating the myth that terrorism is inspired by an absence of democracy --
a problem they insist can be solved by using force, such as they �accomplished�
Most experts agree, however, that it is this very foreign policy that
inspires terrorism, not some oxymoronic feeling of freedom-hating election-envy
as the DoD would have us believe. Yet, despite a wide-ranging consensus on this
issue, the myth is allowed to continue.
Last summer, for example, the following story was widely reported:
by the Saudi Arabian government and an Israeli think tank -- both of which
painstakingly analyzed the backgrounds and motivations of hundreds of
foreigners entering Iraq to fight the United States -- have found that the vast
majority of these foreign fighters are not former terrorists and became
radicalized by the war itself. . .
. . . interrogations of nearly 300 Saudis
captured while trying to sneak into Iraq and case studies of more than three
dozen others who blew themselves up in suicide attacks show that most were
heeding the calls from clerics and activists to drive infidels out of Arab land
. . .
A separate Israeli
analysis of 154 foreign fighters compiled by a leading terrorism researcher
found that despite the presence of some senior Al Qaeda operatives who are
organizing the volunteers, ''the vast majority of [non-Iraqi] Arabs killed in
Iraq have never taken part in any terrorist activity prior to their arrival in
The CIA�s National
Intelligence Council (NIC) has similarly stated that �Foreign jihadists ---
individuals ready to fight anywhere they believe Muslim lands are under attack
by what they see as �infidel invaders� -- enjoy a growing sense of support from
Muslims who are not necessarily supporters of terrorism.� Last year they
Iraq and other
possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds,
technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are
�professionalized� and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself.
The NIC has concluded that al-Qaeda will �be replaced in part by the
dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq.�
According to official US government statistics,
in 2003 the number of "significant" international terrorist attacks
hit a 20-year high of 175. That number more than tripled in 2004 to 655, with
terrorist attacks doubling in Afghanistan, and rising to nine times the
previous year's total in Iraq. The figures from 2005, which have yet to be
released, are expected to be worse.
A �war on terror� that creates terrorism is by definition: an infinite
But none of this slows Rumsfeld and his boys down a bit. As mentioned
earlier, the DoD has recently released a 20-year strategy filled with fantasies
about sedating terrorist activity by spreading US
forces around the world. 
It appears our leaders are willing to use any excuse to justify
continued military expansion, regardless of the hazardous consequences.
1. The principal author of Rebuilding America�s
Defenses, Thomas Donnelly, has said
�the fact of American empire is hardly debated these days,� but regrettably, �it is still inflammatory to speak openly of empire -- hence the
prevalence of euphemisms such as hegemony, preeminence, primacy, sole
superpower, or, a la the French, hyperpuissance.�
2. The QDR states that although �China has the greatest potential to
compete militarily with the United States,� the US �will work to ensure that
all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and
stakeholders into the international system.� This, of course, is the DoD�s
candy-coated way of saying force won�t be necessary because:
It is . . . reasonable to believe that the United States and its allies can
�contain� China's ambitions, helping it make the transition from communism to
democracy, from international outsider to a state satisfied by living within a
liberal international order.
Ironically, the DoD has also established a new initiative that, according to The
New York Times, will attempt to �determine whether more terrorists are
being captured, killed or persuaded to give up their violent struggle than are
being created,� -- a question that, as previously illustrated, has already been
answered in spades. The results of this program should still be interesting
considering the DoD�s entire policy is at odds with their stated objectives.