Supporters of the Rumsfeld / Cebrowski “endless war” doctrine enthusiastically saluted President Biden for rallying their cause.

Joe Biden had rejected this form of war when he met with Vladimir Putin in Geneva. But he has just embraced it by endorsing the Taliban’s return to power in Kabul.

Professor Samuel Moyn – who is about to release his book Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War in two weeks (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York) – has published an open column on the Washington Post website: “Biden pulled troops out of Afghanistan. He didn’t end the ’forever war’" [1].

Following the fall of Kabul and President Biden’s address, Professor Moyn welcomes the fact that the “War on Terror” is being kept alive well beyond the hunt for Bin Laden. He salutes the existence of new military techniques that no longer require large numbers of permanent ground troops, but resort to drones and Special Forces. He is adamant that the deployment of US troops should not focus on Afghanistan, but be much more ambitious and take place globally; hence the current decline.

Samuel Moyn recalls that even before the election of President Biden, his future Secretary of State Antony Blinken had already spoken in favor of pulling out US troops from Afghanistan and their deployment elsewhere [2]. Yet in April 2021, referring to Afghanistan, President Biden said that it was "time to end the Eternal War." He was preparing for the June summit with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Now that it is over, he has reverted to the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine.

[1Biden pulled troops out of Afghanistan. He didn’t end the ‘forever war’, Samuel Moyn, Washington Post, August 17, 2021.

[2Intelligence Matters, CBS, January 9, 2019.