How Wars End Today

Posted May 29, 2014 at 4:06am

“In a sun-splashed Rose Garden, warmer and more humid than that sun-splashed September morning of horror in September 2001, President Obama declared an end to the war in Afghanistan provoked by al-Qaida’s atrocities. It had about as much fanfare as the science fair Obama celebrated hours earlier,” Major Garrett observes.  

In fact, most wars involving the United States since World War II have ended vaguely, ingloriously, or semi-ceremonially. In the first instance, think Korea—it’s technically still a war because there was no peace treaty, only an armistice. In the second instance, think of the frantic U.S. pullout from Saigon. In the third, the end of the first Gulf War carried a surrender, but with it came flinching (in the eyes of neoconservative hawks), unfinished business defined by no-fly zones and a trade embargo.”  

“It’s not that the Afghanistan war is ending differently. It’s that it’s ending the same way other recent wars have, with one big difference. This time the United States was attacked, the casualties were civilians, and the yearning for decisive victory was as clear as it’s been since Pearl Harbor. And yet there’s damn little that’s decisive in Afghanistan after all we’ve deployed, spent, and lost.”