For such a perceptive biographer of Orwell and critic of the cynical butchery of language, it's distressingly desperate of neocon Christopher Hitchens to persist in his crusading mutations of the meaning of "war":
A continuous and repetitive thread in the commentary on the decade since 9/11 -— one might almost call it an endless and open-ended theme -— was the plaintive observation that the struggle against al-Qaida and its surrogates is somehow a "war without end"....
Human history seems to register many more years of conflict than of tranquillity. In one sense, then, it is fatuous to whine that war is endless. We do have certain permanent enemies -— the totalitarian state; the nihilist/terrorist cell —- with which "peace" is neither possible nor desirable. Acknowledging this, and preparing for it, might give us some advantages in a war that seems destined to last as long as civilization is willing to defend itself.
The atrocity of 9/11 cost approximately 3,000 lives. Our response has been to end the lives of innocent thousands more. Yet, is it proper to even label the atrocious cause and its reckless effects a true "war"?
Military historian Andrew Roberts calculates a real one:
The Second World War ... claimed the lives of over 50 million people. That represents 23,000 lives lost every day, or more than fifteen people killed every minute, for six long years.
Thus in the austere terms of lives lost, 9/11 represented about three hours of WWII. Yet our militaristic reaction to it -- framed as a "war" -- does indeed seem to be "without end," and largely, I would argue, because of its dishonest framing.