Here is everyone’s favorite velvet-throated thespian Alan Rickman, reading Laurie Lee’s poem The Long War for Peace Day, which was, apparently, September 21st. I wish they’d tell me these things ahead of time.
The Long War is a title which has been applied to any number of seemingly-endless conflicts, most recently used by the Bush administration to describe their “War on Terror” which has been the excuse for the continuing encroachments on civil liberties both within the US and around the world.
From The Long War by William S. Lind:
Long wars are usually strategic disasters for winners as well as losers, because they leave all parties exhausted. If they work to anyone’s advantage, it tends to be the weaker party’s, because its alternative is rapid defeat. The Rumsfeld Pentagon certainly does not see the United States as the weaker party in its “Global War on Terrorism.” So why has it adopted a long war strategy, or more accurately lack of strategy, unless one sees national exhaustion as a plus?
The answer is a common strategic blunder, but again one that is seldom seen up front; it normally arises as a war continues longer and proves more difficult than expected. The blunder is maximalist objectives. In a speech announcing the QDR, Secretary Rumsfeld said, speaking of our Fourth Generation opponents,
“Compelled by a militant ideology that celebrates murder and suicide, with no territory to defend, with little to lose, they will either succeed in changing our way of life or we will succeed in changing theirs.”
Guess which one won.
The Long War
by Laurie Lee
Less passionate the long war throws
its burning thorn about all men,
caught in one grief, we share one wound,
and cry one dialect of pain.
We have forgot who fired the house
Whose easy mischief spilled first blood
Under one raging roof we lie
The fault no longer understood
But as our twisted arms embrace the desert where our cities stood
Death’s family likeness in each face must show at last our brotherhood.