A few days ago I posted a tongue-in-cheek reaction to President Obama’s inaugural address assertion that a “decade of war is now ending.” The post was a timeline of USG war-related events in the weeks before and the week after inauguration. In the short period covered by the timeline, the United States killed by drone attack dozens of terrorists in two countries, approved a major expansion of its offensive cybersecurity forces, signed a SOFA with Niger with plans to build a drone base there, and established a new special operations component to support Mexico in its fight with drug cartels. And these are just the events we know about. War is not ending; it is continuing, and almost certainly growing, though under a different guise than traditional war.
Writing this time-line made us think it would be useful for Lawfare to maintain one on a regular basis, and so we hereby announce the “End of War” Timeline, which has a new link at the top of the Lawfare page. The timeline will contain short daily descriptions of prominent news about the USG’s various war activities and plans. The hope is that such a timeline can provide a rolling contextual description of modern war in its many guises, and that in doing so it might allow Lawfare readers to better discern the complexity and variation of war waged in contemporary times by the United States. We decided to start the timeline on November 30, 2012, the date of Jeh Johnson’s prominent speech before the Oxford Union that contemplated what the end of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates might entail. Johnson’s speech has sparked a lot of commentary about the end of war against al Qaeda, though he offered “no prediction about when this conflict will end, or whether we are, as Winston Churchill described it, near the ‘beginning of the end.’”
We will update the timeline every day or two. If you think we have missed something important, or if you have comments, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.