Rumsfeld's `Long War'
Is Imperial Fascism
by Carl Osgood
A new expression has emerged recently to describe the Bush Administration's commitment to the so-called war on terrorism. It is now called "the long war," an expression that the Washington Post credited to Gen. John Abizaid, the Chief of U.S. Central Command. But no matter where it came from, it is just another way of describing the perpetual war policy of the Cheneyacs in the Bush Administration. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking to reporters in the Pentagon briefing room on Feb. 1, put it this way: "The truth is, that just as the Cold War lasted a long time, this war is something that is not going to go away. It's not going to be settled with a signing ceremony on the USS Missouri."
Lyndon LaRouche denounced Rumsfeld's "long war" doctrine as a fraud. Commenting on the Washington Post report and on the Department of Defense's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) on Feb. 3, LaRouche said that the Post, as usual, was lying. General Abizaid may have some battlefield competence, and he may fancy getting a little praise, before retirement, from the synarchist Post, LaRouche said, but any competent historian knows that this is a fraud.
"Long war," LaRouche continued, is not any new theory; it's imperialism. It's perpetual war, as practiced by the Roman Empire, through the deployment of its legions, to destroy the ability of its subject populations to resist, even to resist chaos. It means the continual starting of wars, including by means of "Get him to fight him," by which the empire manages its subject populations with warfare.
This phrase "long war," is a deliberate evasion in the hands of Rumsfeld, LaRouche said: It's imperialism in the Roman tradition. And that Roman imperialism was the model for Hitler's fascism. What Abizaid and Rumsfeld are boasting as U.S. war strategy, is Roman imperialism. It was the method of Persia's continual warfare against Classical Greece before that. It was the method of starting and perpetuating the Peloponnesian War—"Get him to fight him." It was the Crusades, from 1000 A.D. into the 14th-Century Dark Age; the religious wars of 1508-1648, the Thirty Years' War.
This is no special theory of a new kind of war, or high-tech war, LaRouche continued. "That's horseshit; in an era when we don't even have horse cavalry any more, they're selling horseshit." This is old Roman imperial fascism; the war theory of Nazi fascism.
The 113-page Quadrennial Defense Review has three main elements: the definition of the "long war," a strategic conflict with China, and the military hardware and force structure changes that are called for to deal with the first two elements. It lays out a policy of massively expanding special warfare forces to fight asymmetrical warfare in numerous areas of the globe at the same time. While calling Iraq and Afghanistan "crucial battlegrounds," it says that "With its allies and partners, the United States must be prepared to wage this war in many locations simultaneously and for years to come."
However, all of this is a lie, intended to conceal the fact that the U.S. military cannot actually do any of this, nor does it acknowledge that U.S. policy, under the Bush Administration (and before), has actually created the problems that the QDR claims to deal with.
Since the QDR came out on Feb. 3, a number of commentators have complained that it does little to reorient the military to the war on terrorism. It does not call for scaling back planned production of the Air Force's F-22 fighter, for example, or the Navy's DD(X) destroyer. "With a few notable exceptions," wrote Fred Kaplan in the online magazine Slate, on Feb. 3, "You'd think that we were still fighting the Soviet Union and that the Cold War were still raging on."
The QDR nonetheless calls for a huge increase in the special forces, by about one-third over present manning, including expanding the number of psychological operations and civil affairs troops by 3,500, and establishing a Marine Corps Special Operations Command made up of 2,600 Marines. The document touts how the number of students going through the Army's Special Forces School has been increased from 282 in 2001 to 617 in 2005, with a goal of increasing that to 750 students per year.
What it doesn't say, however, is what the attrition rate for the special forces has been since 2001. Sources have told EIR that a report was recently handed to Rumsfeld detailing a decline in strength of the Army's Delta Force of 23%, caused by casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, there is pressure on the Delta Force training battalion to reduce the quality of training in order to keep up with this attrition rate. If the rest of the special forces have sustained losses comparable to the Delta Force, it will be very difficult indeed to maintain the current tempo of operations, much less an increase in manning, given that training for special forces takes two to three years.
Strategic Conflict With China
Perhaps the China bogeyman is the real reason for the QDR's failure to call for significant reduction in the size of the conventional military force structure. The QDR continues the policy of the September 2002 National Security Strategy, which declared, among other things, "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."
This, in effect, says that the United States will be the world's dominant power, and will act to prevent any other power from threatening that dominance, a notion which dates back to then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney's 1992 defense-planning guidance. That document spelled out a strategy of "Deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role," and taking pre-emptive action against states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.
The 2006 QDR itself is to a great extent a continuation of the implementation of the Bush Administration's strategic outlook dating from the 1992 defense planning guidance and first set into motion in the 2001 QDR, which, it is worth noting, was largely written before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, although it was released some weeks later. Even that document was based on an earlier classified review conducted by Andrew Marshall, the director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, and the inspiration for Rumsfeld's notions of military transformation. According to a New York Times story published on May 17, 2001, Marshall's review alleged that war with China was inevitable, and that U.S. forces will be denied forward-basing rights in the Western Pacific. This caused a firestorm of protest from senior military officers, at the time, who strongly disagreed with Marshall's conclusions.
While most of the attention on the document focusses on the so-called radical Islamic enemy, Marshall's conclusions about China are apparently still highly regarded in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Under the subtitle "Shaping the Choices of Countries at Strategic Crossroads," the document describes China as having "the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages absent U.S. counter strategies." It says that "U.S. policy seeks to encourage China to choose a path of peaceful economic growth and political liberalization, rather than military threat and intimidation." However, China's technological capabilities, "the vast distances of the Asian theater, China's continental depth, and the challenge of en route and in-theater U.S. basing place a premium on forces capable of sustained operations at great distances into denied areas." As part of this strategy, it calls for the upgrading of the U.S.-India relationship to the level of a "strategic partnership," in order to draw India into the conflict with China.
In case China still doesn't get the message, the QDR goes on: "The United States will work to ensure that all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders into the international system. It will seek to ensure that no foreign power can dictate the terms of regional or global security." Among the capabilities required to implement this policy, the report says, are persistent surveillance, including systems that can penetrate into denied areas, the capability to deploy combat power rapidly "to facilitate assured access," and "prompt and high volume global strike to deter aggression or coercion and, if deterrence fails, to provide a broader range of conventional response options to the President."
This last item involves putting conventional warheads onto submarine-launched or land-based ballistic missiles, which would be under the control of U.S. Strategic Command. The QDR is also mandating a shift of the Navy's force structure towards the Pacific. Adm. Mike Mullens, the Chief of Naval Operations, said on Feb. 11 that this shift involves putting 60% of the Navy's fleet in the Pacific, as opposed to the roughly 50-50 split between the Atlantic and the Pacific that has historically been the case.
`The Army Is Broken'
One crucial difference between the 2006 QDR and the 2001 QDR is, of course, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These operations have imposed something of a reality principle on the Pentagon in demonstrating the necessity of ground troops in conventional formations, equipped with armor and artillery. Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, rumors were swirling around Washington that Rumsfeld was contemplating reducing the Army force structure by perhaps as much as one-third, in favor of a massive expansion of special operations forces. While that expansion has certainly taken place, there's been no reduction in ground force structure.
What the document covers up, however, is that Rumsfeld's transformation policy, in concert with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has wrecked the military. The Army's recruiting problems are well known, but just as serious, although less often reported, is the exodus of junior captains from the Army, especially those who are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Attrition rates for junior officers are reported to be at a ten-year high. This exodus of captains has been ongoing, as the Army has been reorganizing itself to increase the number of combat brigades from 33 to 42 without increasing its overall end strength, primarily by taking troops out of the Army's training and logistical base to man the new brigades. The result, according to a Jan. 30 report in the Los Angeles Times, is that 97% of all eligible captains were promoted to the rank of major, last year. This compares to a historical average of 70-80%, and is leading to concerns that the quality of the officer corps is declining.
An earlier report, commissioned by the Pentagon, warned that the strain of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars risks breaking the Army. According to news reports, the author of the report, retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, wrote that "The demands for Army ground force deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq are not likely to decline substantially anytime soon." The Army, he wrote "risks having many of its soldiers decide that a military career is too arduous or too risky an occupation for them and their families to pursue."
Krepinevich's conclusion is coherent with the warnings of Rep. John Murtha (R-Pa.), who called for a measured withdrawal from Iraq on Nov. 17. "Many say the Army is broken," he said. "Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowered its standards. They expect to take 20% category 4, which is the lowest category [of recruits], which they said they'd never take. They have been forced to do that to try to meet a reduced quota."
Rumsfeld, of course, bristles at any notion that the Army is broken or that the military is under more stress than it can handle. In a Jan. 25 press briefing, he denied that there was any problem with the Army. "Unless people are telling me something other than the facts, that's just false," he said. He touted the efforts of Army Secretary Francis Harvey and Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker to reorganize the Army and to bring more soldiers from the so-called Institutional Army, its training and logistics base, into the combat formations. "I just can't imagine someone looking at the United States armed forces today and suggesting that they're close to breaking," he said. "That's just not the case."