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Good Reads: lighter, messier African conflicts, and burning Qurans

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Sometime well into the first decade of what the Bush administration termed the "war on terror," it became clear that war was going to be the new normal, and it was going to be that way for a very long time. 

President Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described the new war machine in the way that development experts describe a new system of local health clinics, with an emphasis on sustainability. The key in taking on guerrilla movements like the Taliban or those weapons-of-mass-destruction-hiding Iraqi militants was sustainability, according to Mr. Rumsfeld and other Pentagon planners. US fighting forces should be “lighter” and more “agile.” (From here onward, the analogy to health clinics falls apart. US troops needed to be able to project deadly force into hostile territory in the pursuit of US interests. Health clinics? Not so much.)

Nowhere is Rumsfeld's uncluttered vision more clear than in Africa.

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