The War on Terror Won’t Be The Cold War With That Attitude

by evanmcmurry

Fans of perpetual war are reacting to Obama’s attempt last week to shut down their favorite reality show in the same way Bieberites react when he loses an award: a wee bit of a tantrum. Lead wail: the idea that Obama is prematurely ending the War on Terror after twelve years because the Cold War lasted forty-five. Chris Wallace said that to Dick Durbin on Fox News last Sunday, and enemy-of-gravity Charles Krauthammer lobbed the same ball today:

Obama says enough is enough. He doesn’t want us on “a perpetual wartime footing.” Well, the Cold War lasted 45 years. The war on terror, 12 so far. By Obama’s calculus, we should have declared the Cold War over in 1958 and left Western Europe, our Pacific allies, the entire free world to fend for itself – and consigned Eastern Europe to endless darkness.

You could devote an entire Tumblr to what’s wrong with the above. Are the Cold War and the War on Terror analogical situations? How? Isn’t the problem with the War on Terror, we keep being told, that it’s so unlike other wars? And doesn’t this assume that there’s a predetermined “proper” length of war? Wasn’t the Cold War considered abnormally, even obscenely long, and wasn’t that one the main arguments against it? By this logic, shouldn’t we have stayed in Vietnam another three-or-so decades? And so on, and on.

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