Kathy Gilsinan, The Atlantic: ‘We Have No Idea What War Is’
Rosa Brooks discusses her tenure at the Pentagon, and the ever-expanding role of the American military.
Just days after I interviewed the legal scholar Rosa Brooks about her book on her time as a civilian advisor in President Barack Obama’s Pentagon, the United States bombed Libya again. This was the third such strike in the U.S. campaign against ISIS there, but this time, Reuters reported, U.S. officials said it “marked the start of a sustained air campaign.”
Still, it was hard to tell how much of a turning point it really was. Small numbers of American special-operations forces have been active in the country since late last year, ostensibly to support local partners against ISIS, though details are vague. By launching more airstrikes at the beginning of August, America was not so much opening up a new front in its war on the group as maintaining an existing one. And it wasn’t so much changing tactics as amplifying them. Did this mean that the United States somehow became more “at war” in Libya last week than it had been the week before? For that matter, as U.S. planes have accelerated their bombing campaign against militants in Afghanistan this summer, and President Obama has vowed to leave some 8,000 troops there through the end of his term, is the United States any less “at war” there than when U.S. combat operations in the country officially ended in December 2014? What about in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, where U.S. drones have killed thousands of people outside of what the government considers “areas of active hostilities”?
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WNU Editor: So this is how wars are being fought .... no wonder they are failing at it.