Despite the erroneous media hyper-ventilation and political victory lap-taking to the contrary, the announced "end" of US combat operations in Iraq (redux of 2003's "Mission Accomplished"), and the projected end of same in Afghanistan, will not mean the "end" of the war with Islamic extremists and their rogue nation supporters. It is far from over, and is indeed on the threshold of a far more dangerous phase. While the people of our nation may believe the war is over, our enemies do not.
If the war was really over, there would no longer be a need for the unconstitutional punishment meted out on the traveling public by the Transportation Safety Administration, in the name of safety and security.
If the war was really over, people throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia would be governed by, if not a close facsimile of our constitutional representative republic, at least forms of government that respected and protected basic political, economic, and religious freedoms for men and women.
If the war was really over, our nation's hard and soft power-projection capabilities would be focused on the increasing threat from the Peoples' Republic of China (neither of the people, nor a republic -- but, the Colonel digresses).
As any of the thousands of you who regularly imbibe of the literary libations ladled out in posts hereon will no doubt remember from dozens of treatises on the subject, the Colonel believes with every fibre of his being and without a doubt in his military mind that "the war" could have been over at least five years ago.
Let's spend a little time coming to the correct understanding of just what it is that these re-United States have been involved in for the past decade, shall we? The Colonel has wasted a great deal of his few remaining brain cells and your valuable rod and cone time in previous posts hereon, explaining, in exacting detail, the correct nomenclature of the diplomatic, economic, and military operations in which our nation and its allies have participated since 9/11. He won't subject you to a retelling, nor dull the easily-glazed eyes of the Bama and LSU grads who may have accidentally stumbled onto this blog whilst in a frantic search for hound's-tooth hats and Mardi Gras beads.
Suffice it for the Colonel to say, the military operations in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003 are not separate, distinct, and exclusive wars in and of themselves. They are theater campaigns, in a far larger war. And, while the American military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan may be ending, the conflicts there ARE NOT.
Several decades ago, leaders in many countries (primarily in the Islamic world), whose continuance in tyrannical power over their downtrodden and exploited populations was threatened by American-led Western freedom-supporting presence in their region; formed, bank-rolled, and trained irregular para-military formations to carry out asymmetrical attacks against American and Western interests, in order to dissuade those free governments from interfering in their not-so free governance.
For the Bama and LSU grads, the Colonel will spell out the previous point more simply. Bad guys like Gaddafi didn't like the fact that Western (American) values and ideals were giving their people "revolutionary" ideas. Bad guys like Gaddafi paid other bad guys (and gals) to blow up airplanes and nightclubs to send a message to the sponge-spined, weak-willed democrats (little d) to stay out of the bad guy's business. We call the bad guys (and gals) that blow up airplanes, terrorists.
That war, begun long before 9/11, ain't over.
And, so far, we're losing it.