“Let us say, hypothetically, that American forces kill or capture Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, enabling President Obama to declare victory and bring our troops home. Would he? Not according to the Pentagon’s plan for a fifty-year “Long War” of counterinsurgency spanning Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines and beyond.
Military intellectuals envision a prolonged cold war against Al Qaeda, with hot wars along the way. It happens that the Long War is over Muslim lands rich with oil, natural gas and planned pipelines. The Pentagon identifies them as hostile terrain where Al Qaeda and its affiliates are hidden.
Among the top experts responsible for this fifty-year war plan, concocted in 2005 in windowless offices in the Pentagon, is Dr. David Kilcullen, a former Australian soldier, an anthropologist, former top adviser to Gen. David Petraeus and current aide to Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Kilcullen is a media favorite, the subject of a long New Yorker profile by George Packer, glowing columns by David Ignatius in the Washington Post and weighty late-night conversations with Charlie Rose.”
Kilcullen’s recent book, The Accidental Guerrilla, presents the case for a Long War of fifty or even 100 years’ duration, with chapters on Iraq (a mistake he believes was salvaged by the military surge he promoted in 2007-08), Afghanistan (where he recommends at least a five-to-ten-year campaign), Pakistan (whose tribal areas he sees as the center of the terrorist threat) and even Europe (where, he says, human rights laws create legislative “safe havens” for urban Muslim undergrounds). More