Covert Action

Ending the End-of-War Timeline

By Jack Goldsmith
Monday, October 7, 2013, 10:50 AM

Nine or so months ago, following  President Obama’s inaugural address assertion that a “decade of war is now ending,” which came on the heels of Jeh Johnson’s speech about the end of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, Lawfare started the “End-of-War” Timeline.  We felt pretty firmly, as I wrote at the time, that “War is not ending; it is continuing, and almost certainly growing, though under a different guise than traditional war.”  The point of the timeline was to show the many ways and many guises in which war against al Qaeda, its affiliates, and other threats were continuing.  The ten-month Timeline has hundreds of entries on various matters ranging from new drone strikes, drone bases, and covert actions; to the various thrusts and parries against Iran and Syria and in North Africa; to the incessant growth of Special Operations and offensive cyber weapons and forces; to the various revelations about NSA collection programs (many of which are premised on a continuing war against al Qaeda and affiliate), and so on.  The point, we think, has been made, and indeed was underscored by yesterday's raids in North Africa.  Traditional war may be winding down; but unconventional war, in various forms, continues to grow.  And so the End-of-War Timeline comes to an end, having made its point that the decade of war is not coming to an end, just changing.