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An End to War(s)

Roger Cohen writes in his New York Times opinion column: "In his first White House televised interview, with the Al Arabiya news network based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, President Obama buried the lead: The war on terror is over.

"Yes, the with-us-or-against-us global struggle — the so-called Long War — in which a freedom-loving West confronts the undifferentiated forces of darkness comprising everything from Al Qaeda to elements of the Palestinian national struggle under the banner of 'Islamofascism' has been terminated.

"What's left is what matters: defeating terrorist organizations. That's not a war. It's a strategic challenge.

"The new president's abandonment of post-9/11 Bush doctrine is a critical breakthrough. It resolves nothing but opens the way for a rapprochement with a Muslim world long cast into the 'against-us' camp. Nothing good in Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan or Iran could happen with that Manichean chasm."

Los Angeles Times opinion columnist Rosa Brooks raises Cohen three wars: "Barack Obama ended four wars during his first week as president. With just a few words and strokes of his pen, the president ended the war on terror, the war on Islam, the war on science and the war on women....

"Don't make the mistake of thinking that these assorted 'wars' were only metaphors, incapable of producing real harm. The 'war on terror' was practically a gift to Osama bin Laden: Our detention and interrogation policies probably fueled far more terrorism than they prevented. Ditto for the Bush administration's undeclared war against Islam.

"The Bush administration's replacement of science with ideology was equally devastating: How many lives will be lost or blighted as we all pay the price for a decade of denial about the human causes of global warming? And some estimate that as many as 500,000 women worldwide have died since 2001 as a result of botched abortions, many of which might have been prevented if the Mexico City policy hadn't pushed abortions and abortion counseling underground in many countries.

"Obama's job is just beginning. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be far harder to end.

"Still, not bad for a week's work."

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

I have been an avid reader for well over 2 years and this is the first time I have posted a comment.

This is my 2nd day with the new format.

I spend more time navigating and wondering what I have read and what I haven't than I do reading. Each paragraph takes more clicks and time for pages to load. Reading a previous days post is at best not easy.

I liked reading your entire post all at once with out all the fuss. I am not sure I will finish reading all of today's paragraphs. This new format requires much more time. I am wondering if the new format is worth it. I am not sure it is.

Posted by: Mac29 | January 29, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mac29's comments. Dan, your writing is as excellent and insightful as ever, and the information you bring together for your readers is invaluable - but having to navigate the new format is cumbersome.

Posted by: adamgilleland | January 29, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the prior two comments. If this is going to be done as a blog, could you (Dan) at least consolidate several posts into a single longer post. It would greatly simplify both navigation and keeping track of one's "place" in the blog. It might be a workable compromise between the old format and this new one.

Posted by: crlinder | January 29, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

On a more substantive note (at least WRT the subject of the post), I am delighted to hear that the global war on terror is over. Other than as a PR ploy and a way to keep the spending and political pressure going for an indefinite period, the GWOT was always just plain idiotic. You can't have a war against a tactic. I'm glad to see that Obama has now taken steps to re-appoint anti-terrorism efforts where they should have been all along: law enforcement.

Posted by: crlinder | January 29, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

You need to get the Post to advertise this a bit more... you're feature is hidden, unlike your article which used to be posted on the front page. That said, I like the new format. You bring a lot more substance than the other WaPo blogs, so it's nice to know it will be a steady flow during the day now.

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Unless Obama radically changes course on the "Central Front"--Afghanistan--it is indisputable that "Obama follows Bush's footsteps." And I don't mean raining more death and destruction on the Afghans.

Posted by: cristca9 | January 29, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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