Posts Tagged ‘Military Affairs’

Fighting wars just to show US can win one

January 31, 2014

When I was a schoolboy, I was taught that the United States had never lost a war.  Reasonable people can differ over the War of 1812, but the United States not only defeated, but utterly crushed, its enemies in the Mexican War, the American Civil War, the Indian wars, the Spanish-American War, World War One and World War Two [1].

Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware_by_Emanuel_Leutze,_MMA-NYC,_1851

The Vietnam Conflict, on the other hand, was an unambiguous defeat — the first in American history.  The Nixon-Kissinger administration was the first, but not the last, U.S. administration whose objective was not victory, but to mask defeat in the guise of an “honorable” withdrawal.  The U.S. outcome is symbolized by the fact that our heroes in that conflict were defiant prisoners of war (and they really were heroes, I don’t question that) rather than triumphant conquerors.

Subsequent U.S. administrations did not seek to avoid military interventions.  Instead, starting with the Reagan administration, they sought to overcome the “Vietnam syndrome”, which was perceived as the American public’s cowardly refusal to support open-ended wars in far off lands.

This was weakness rather than strength.  Strong nations do not need to go to war merely to project an image of strength.

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Holiday weekend links roundup

May 25, 2013

Here are links to articles on military and foreign policy I found interesting, and you might find interesting, too.

Words of Peace and Acts of War David Bromwich examines the strange fact that President Barack Obama articulates as well as anyone why perpetual warfare, indiscriminate drone killings and Guantanamo Bay detention contradict American ideals and the rule of law, and yet he acts as if he somehow were helpless to stop doing it.

A Profound Lack of Self-Awareness.  “B Psycho” analyzes the contradictions in President Obama’s terrorism speech Thursday.

Military Quietly Grants Itself the Power to Police the Streets Without State or Local Consent.  Jed Morey of AlterNet says the U.S. military may have crossed a Rubicon.

Spycraft in Moscow .  Philip Giraldi makes the case in The American Conservative that Ryan Fogle, arrested in Moscow recently on espionage charges, really was a CIA agent, and speculates on why the Russian government chose to publicize the case.

Iran Hangs on in Quiet Desperation. Pepe Escobar of Asia Times explains how the clerics on Iran’s Guardian Council have rigged the results of the June 14 Presidential election by refusing all the serious opposition candidates permission to run.  I wouldn’t want to live under Iran’s government, but I don’t think the country’s governance would be improved by dropping bombs.