Don’t Walk Away from War — It’s Not the American Way


| 6/16/2014 8:15:00 AM


Tags: war, America, politics, military,

American soldiers

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch.

The United States has been at war—major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions—nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face. They are, however, the words that can’t be said in a country committed to a military-first approach to the world, a continual build-up of its forces, an emphasis on pioneering work in the development and deployment of the latest destructive technology, and a repetitious cycling through styles of war from full-scale invasions and occupations to counterinsurgency, proxy wars, and back again.

So here are five straightforward lessons—none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country—that can be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare:

1. No matter how you define American-style war or its goals, it doesn’t work. Ever.

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