The United States has been in a state of war since 2001 (actually it was in a state of war before that but the war on terror is the war I’m primarily addressing here). In those 14 wars the United States has dropped bombs on a large number of Middle Eastern countries, held prisoners in secret prisons without trial, and expanded a pervasive surveillance apparatus that spies on foreigners and domestic people. Fortunately Obama declared an end to the war effort in Afghanistan. But that was then. This is now. As it turns out the United States isn’t actually planning to leave Afghanistan:
WASHINGTON — The United States will halt its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of his term in 2017, President Obama announced on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years.
This should come as no surprise. Obama has continued to drop bombs on the two countries he’s claimed to have ended wars in. But everybody needs to recognize the new definition of war. War no longer carries the implication of two militaries fighting one another in an attempt to achieve some mutually exclusive goal. Today war implies an expansion of empire through military occupation. The United States is playing the same game Britain did at the height of its empire without the honesty of just calling itself an empire. Instead the United States “brings democracy” and “liberates” the citizens of foreign countries from “brutal regimes” and “terrorists.”
Since there is no defined goal an occupation, unlike a war, has no winning condition and therefore is perpetual in nature. This war will not end until the United States can no longer afford to wage it.