Forever war

Watch out for objectives that are undefined, unachievable, and unrealistic

The Problem:

Report findings and recommendations routinely lack empirical standards or well-defined measures of success. By failing to define the terms of a military ‘victory,’ such reporting grants scope for endless war, mission creep, and military spending that are inefficient and ineffective.


  • What is the empirical basis of the findings?

  • Is the best-case outcome worth the probable costs?

  • Is the stated objective actually achievable?

Watch out for:

  • Findings or recommendations that promote security practices without acknowledging their cost or humanitarian consequences.

  • Open-ended or poorly defined objectives. Without meaningful metrics of success, military objectives such as ‘deterrence’ promote infinite war.

  • Lack of accountability. Any report that frames accountability and demands for empirical measures of progress as a challenge to ‘security’ is suspect. Worst-case threat scenarios should not be allowed to define persistent, long-term policies and practices.

Seek out:

  • Concrete, measurable objectives.

  • Policies in pursuit of well-defined and achievable military victory.