It seems lately that every war the United States gets itself into can't just be another war, it has to be an open-ended clash of civilizations. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel set out that assessment fairly straightforwardly in his recent comments at the Washington Ideas Festival.
"We are living through one of these historic, defining times," Hagel warned, "We are seeing a new world order - post World War II, post Soviet Union implosion."
Hagel went on to make it quite clear what that meant, open-ended war with ISIS and open-ended war with various other enemies of the US military will require a "steady, long-term effort" to defeat.
Other officials have talked about the ISIS conflict being a 30-year war, and that seems extremely speculative, as officials haven't laid out what victory will even look like, let alone how it's going to happen.
Hagel's been keen to talk about the "new world order" in speeches for months now, and while he never makes it clear what he envisions that looking like when it all shakes out, the underlying constant is wars, and lots of them.
Hagel's most recent speech didn't even treat the endless wars as a controversial thing, rather as an inevitability that both sides of Congress need to get used to and start cooperating on.