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Wars are easy to start. But they can be difficult to sustain. George W. Bush understands this, and so has been furiously managing expectations, pressing the case with almost everyone he talks to that this will be a long war against terrorism.
…He wanted his generals to hear the same message he was delivering to Americans. “This will be a long campaign,” he told the senior officers in the room, “and the people in uniform are very important to it.”
…”We have to be resolute,” he told the senators gravely. “If after the World Series, America forgets our mission and our duty, we’ll lose.”
This will be a long war, and unprecedented challenges await us. But we have made tremendous progress.
Our government bears essential responsibilities in this struggle: to wage an effective and relentless war against terrorists, protect the homeland and strengthen America’s economy. We have acted on those fronts, and we will continue to do more.
President Bush, July 12, 2007:
As the war against Islamist terror continued through President Bush’s two terms, his warnings of a “long war” were roundly mocked as foolhardy rhetoric from a neocon imperialist. President Obama promised to “end” that war, as if such a decision were entirely up to the United States.
President Anti-Bush won a peace prize, pulled troops out of Iraq and continues to remove them from Afghanistan, even as he bombs and drones suspected terrorists in Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan. He destroyed the mad Qaddafi regime in Libya, but turned that nation into a Mogadishu on the Med. And last night he expanded U.S. military operations into Syria, inadvertently helping another tinpot he promised to eliminate a year ago.
Few expect Obama’s air-only approach to end the terrorist reign of ISIS, but the administration’s “anti-war” supporters are praising his pre-emptive military action against the newest rogue regime. Even as his Pentagon promises that this is “only the beginning”:
Mayville detailed the Pentagon’s strategy to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, which will focus primarily on Iraq before shifting to the Syrian theater. “Look at what we’re trying to do regionally,” he said. “We are focused first in Iraq because we have a partner in Iraq to work with; the Iraqi Security Forces, the Iraqi government.”
“We are trying to disrupt their support bases while we enable in Iraq the Iraqi Security Forces — with the help of partners — to dislodge and ultimately remove ISIL from Iraq,” he added.
“Could this take years?” NBC reporter Jim Miklaszewski asked.
“I would think of it in terms of years, yes,” Mayville replied.
The Long War continues.