Then read this enlightening piece, a guest editorial on Juan Cole's page by William R. Polk, an authority on the history of the Middle East. It's a long post, but it will be worth your time. And you may be struck as hard as I was by the concluding section:
The strategy behind these operations is what the Neoconservative advisers to President Bush have called “the Long War.” A leading member of the Neoconservatives, James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, said he hopes it will not last more than 40 years. The cost of such a generational conflict has been estimated at more than $17 trillion dollars.
More important, in the long period of stress, the American way of life would be severely challenged, perhaps irreparably damaged. The real cost could be the destruction of the world in which we live and the replacement of our civic, cultural and material “good life” by something like nightmare George Orwell predicted in his novel 1984.
At minimum it would greatly increase the risk to us of terrorism.
But we should be aware that what Woosley and others have discussed is not just rhetoric or speculation – it is given substance by operational plans, dedicated military personnel, operating from 737 – I repeat seven hundred and thirty seven -- existing bases worldwide, with already constructed and positioned weapons, and sustained by an already allocated budget.
In the spring of 2006, before he left office, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved three plans to fight the “long war” beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Among other actions that have now been implemented, the Special Operations Command – now made up of 53,000 men and working with an already allocated budget of $8 billion for fiscal year 2007 – has dispatched Special “Ops” forces to at least 20 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. These teams are loose cannons, not under the control of regular American embassies and allowed to engage in covert warfare not only against groups regarded as terrorists but even against states. Although they could involve us in war with any number of countries, they are treated as though not subject to Congressional oversight or decision.
They are, as I said, loose cannons. But they are not working on their own. Their use has been justified by the March 2005 “National Defense Strategy of the United States of America” which calls for the US (and I quote) “to operate in and from the global commons-space, international waters and airspace, and cyberspace...to surge forces rapidly from strategic distances [to where adversaries may seek to deny us access and] to deny adversaries sanctuary...[These campaigns]may entail lengthy periods of both major combat and stability operations [or] require regime change...”
Not surprisingly, the conservative journal, The Economist, editorialized, “the Neoconservatives are not conservatives. They are radicals. Their agenda adds up to a world-wide crusade. With all its historic, anti-Muslim connotations, it is precisely the word most calculated to perpetuate movement down the path desired by the Neoconservatives, permanent, unending war.
Is permanent war – one Iraq after another – to be our future?
Now remember which presidential candidate is most devoted to the "long war", and which of them has promised Americans will stay in Iraq for 100 years if necessary. Remember which one says this war was the right thing to to do. Remember which one is warning there will many more wars. Remember which one is now TOTALLY beholden to the radical right that wants a worldwide religious war with Islam.
Now remember what the price of John McCain winning the White House would be.