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Time to Turn the Page on Endless War

Sam Milgrom,
Washington Legislative Office
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September 12, 2011

In an earlier post, we said that we don’t have to say no to war forever, but we must say no to a forever war.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote about the harm caused as a result of 10 years of war:

It’s hard to overstate the extent to which the 9/11 attacks magnified the nation’s anxieties — not just about terrorism but more generally about the future. Perpetual war produces a state of mind in which differences of opinion become questions of patriotism, adversaries become enemies and ideological territory must be defended inch by inch.

Robinson followed with the assertion that it is time to put an end to the war on terror.

By the middle of the decade, we had accomplished every rational goal of the war that 9/11 began. Al-Qaeda’s leader and founder, Osama bin Laden, was still at large, but this meant we needed to conduct a continuing manhunt, not a continuing war. We should have recognized this distinction…

Now, after 10 long years, perhaps we can finally get unstuck. Bin Laden is dead, his terrorist organization in shreds. The al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 is defeated…

The state of war that the nation entered after 9/11 should have ended years ago. Let’s end it now. Remember the way this all started, look again at those horrific images from 9/11, and then remember: We won.

Though we did not coordinate in any way with Robinson, the similarities of our sentiments and their timing is striking. It is further confirmation that 10 years of worldwide war is more than enough war.

We both agree that a worldwide war with no end is not what Congress intended when it passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in September 2001 and it is clear that now is the time to end our mentality of a nation that’s at war everywhere.

The 10th anniversary of the horrifying and tragic events of 9/11 should serve as the moment our nation turns the page on the worldwide war. In doing so, we can begin to rebuild and protect those cherished values that helped to build the unique foundation of our country.

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