“This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. . . . ”
— Barack Obama, May 23
Nice thought. But much as Obama would like to close his eyes, click his heels three times, and declare the War on Terror over, war is a two-way street.
That’’s what history advises: Two sides to fight it, two to end it. By surrender (World War II), by armistice (Korea and Vietnam), or when the enemy simply disappears from the field (the Cold War).
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, twelve 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.
John F. Kennedy summoned the nation to the burdens of the long twilight struggle. Obama, agonizing publicly about the awful burdens of command (which he twice sought in election), wants out. For him and for us.
He doesn’t just want to revise and update the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which many conservatives have called for. He wants to repeal it.