The US Cult of Bombing and Endless War

This country’s propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn’t led to ultimate success. All the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition. Continue reading

Dismay as Trump vetoes bill to end US support for war in Yemen

Donald Trump has vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end US military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The Senate had passed a bipartisan resolution on 13 March in a 54-to-46 vote; the House voted on the resolution in early April, passing it with 247 votes to 175.

The US provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. But as the war drags on, members of Congress have expressed concern about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014. Continue reading

The Global Crisis of Childhood Is Coming Home to Roost

The mistreatment of immigrant children on the border is just a sign of the times. Among U.S. citizens, there is trouble as well. In an ever more unequal society, 21% of children in this country now live below the official poverty line, a rate that is the highest among the world’s richest countries. In 2009, a Department of Justice report found that more than 60% of American children witnessed or were the targets of violence “directly or indirectly.” Won’t such abuse lead to a version of the resentment, anger, and damage that the rest of the world is struggling to contain? Continue reading

The WWI Lessons We Haven’t Learned

The outbreak of that war in 1914 took many contemporaries by surprise. That it would last four years, when leaders promised a quick victory, was another shock. That advanced machine guns and artillery would make mincemeat of formidable infantry and armor, killing some 11 million persons, was the biggest surprise of all. We should draw the lesson that we should never credit politicians who promise us a short, glorious war. Another lesson is that small out of the way places can impel a war and should not be underestimated. Continue reading