ISIS

The U.S. Launches Another Dumb War in the Middle East. Why Hitting ISIS Will Just Make Matters Worse.

For most of this century, we've been fighting wars to enhance our security, and each time, we find ourselves with more enemies and less security.

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George W. Bush
Public Domain

War, it's been said, is God's way of teaching Americans geography. Maybe we do learn how to locate the countries we invade or bomb on a map. But recent experience indicates how much we don't know about those societies and how slow we are at learning.

The United States is still involved in a 13-year-old war in Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama has undertaken a new one against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, just three years after he withdrew the last of our troops from Iraq. The administration is also carrying on a drone missile campaign—which looks eerily like war from the receiving end—in Pakistan and Yemen.

Yet the republic has just concluded an election campaign that gave almost no attention to what the United States government is doing, or should be doing, in these places. For the most part, the topic was discussed in only the vaguest terms, but often it was simply absent. No country in history has ever done so much fighting in so many places with so little interest from its own citizens.

Nor do the people in power who make these ambitious commitments necessarily have a clue where they will lead. Over and over, things turn out in ways that come as a complete and thoroughly unwelcome surprise.

No one could have imagined in October 2001, when we went into Afghanistan to crush the Taliban and al-Qaida, that we would still be there 13 years later and so would they. Nor did we realize that our crucial supposed ally in the fight, Pakistan, would prove not merely unhelpful but downright hostile.

As New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall documented in her book "The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014," the government of Pakistan was actively helping our foes while reaping $23 billion in aid from Washington. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke eventually realized, "We may be fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong country."

Unexpected? Of course. But it's the sort of thing that happens when governments act with slivers of knowledge and mountains of hubris, relying on bright visions and brute force. That's how we stormed into Iraq and won a swift military victory—which we proceeded to squander by disbanding the Iraqi military and banning former members of Saddam Hussein's party from the new government.

Both decisions sounded sensible—but only because our leaders were so ignorant of Iraq that they had no idea what the effects would be. In practice, we managed to turn huge numbers of Iraqis against us and spawn an insurgency that would kill thousands of our troops. We also inadvertently rained blessings on our longtime enemy to the east. The U.S. fought a war against Iraq, and the winner was Iran.

The war on Islamic State is even more rife with uncertainty, because so many of its enemies are our enemies. If we do damage to it, we are indirectly strengthening the mullahs in Tehran, al-Qaida and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. We're also bolstering the irresponsible Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad whose persecution of Sunnis gave rise to the group.

The Wall Street Journal reports that by hitting Islamic State targets in Syria, we helped al-Qaida units to defeat the "moderate" Syrian rebels we have helped in their fight against Assad. Meanwhile, our NATO ally Turkey balks at assisting us. Why? Because those fighting on "our" side include Kurdish groups allied with separatists it has been fighting for 30 years.

For that matter, the U.S. air war is the best recruiting tool the Islamic State ever had. Already, a confidential UN Security Council report recently noted, some 15,000 foreigners have poured into the region to join it and other extremist groups.

"Numbers since 2010 are now many times the size of the cumulative numbers of foreign terrorist fighters between 1990 and 2010—and are growing," it said, according to The Guardian. As usual, we're creating jihadis faster than we kill them. Chances are excellent that we are also sowing an array of unforeseen problems that will haunt us for years to come.

For most of this century, we've been fighting wars to enhance our security, and each time, we find ourselves with more enemies and less security. By now it should be clear that is not a coincidence. If the war on Islamic State solves nothing or makes things worse, we will be unhappy, but we shouldn't be surprised.

NEXT: Election Brings In a Less Geezeriffic Senate

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  1. Justin Logan of the Cato Institute also had a great piece recently that focused on why the fear mongering over groups in the Middle East is largely unwarranted:

    “Otto von Bismarck, Nicholas Spykman or any of the other great strategists of centuries past would be puzzled at the degree of interest Western elites give to the Middle East. The region is an economic dwarf. Its combined GDP?even including oil?represents roughly 6 percent of world GDP. Its population is closer to 5 percent of world population, and its military forces are similarly unimpressive…”

    http://www.politico.com/magazi…..z3HjaaeLBM

    A few years ago, Foreign Affairs published an article by Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko that put endless threat inflation into perspective:

    “The world that the United States inhabits today is a remarkably safe and secure place. It is a world with fewer violent conflicts and greater political freedom than at virtually any other point in human history. All over the world, people enjoy longer life expectancy and greater economic opportunity than ever before. The United States faces no plausible existential threats, no great-power rival, and no near-term competition for the role of global hegemon. The U.S. military is the world’s most powerful…”

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/…..ent-safety

    1. The United States faces no plausible existential threats, no great-power rival, and no near-term competition for the role of global hegemon. The U.S. military is the world’s most powerful…”

      In 1991, the credible (at least what we truly believed to be credible) threat to the US (and its allies) went away, which left a lot of people who were in charge of defending against this threat in the uncomfortable position of losing their jobs/power. The only way to justify their continued existence was to change the definition of the word threat.

      Compared to the Soviets, the ME is a pimple on the ass of military capability and has virtually zero capability to affect our security.

      1. Not to mention that that pimple is largely composed of our (dumbed-down, with one exception) equipment and our training (which they largely treat with all the seriousness of a vacation on Ibiza – except the Turks).

      2. *Compared to the Soviets, the ME is a pimple on the ass of military capability and has virtually zero capability to affect our security.*

        The Soviets never killed 3,000 Americans in one day.

        You kneejerk anti-war surrenderniks are not just fighting the last war, you’re fighting the one before that, even.

        1. The difference, my militarily ignorant little friend, is that 3000 Americans is the high end limit of their capability. The Soviets had the capability to kill 30,000,000 in the span of a few minutes.

          Get it?

          1. That’s another way of putting it as well.

          2. The Soviets had the capability to end the motherfucking world. The worst that Islamic terrorists could ever hope to pull off is wipe out one city. After which, the Middle East would be a glass parking lot and Muslims would become an endangered species outside of Southeast Asia.

        2. That isn’t the main point he was driving at. The Soviet Union was a great power rival with vastly different ambitions from us for much of its history. It had a navy, air force, nuclear arsenal, large economy, etc. As Francisco said it was a “credible”/existential threat to the United States and its core economic interests (e.g., the security of our allies in Europe). He was trying to put things in perspective.

          Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, etc. simply are not. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t keep an eye them, but we have already spent hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars trying to eradicate them and haven’t had much success. This has contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of others who had nothing to do with perpetrating those attacks.

        3. Did NOT expect a simpering neocon troll today. Weird.

          1. They are pumped by their takeover of the Senate.

        4. No, the Soviets never killed 3,000 Americans in one day. But the evil Arabs never killed 22,000 Americans in one day. It took Americans to kill 22,000 Americans in one day. (Battle of Antietam).

      3. “Compared to the Soviets, the ME is a pimple on the ass of military capability …”

        Yea, that’s why they fight an asymmetrical war.

        “…and has virtually zero capability to affect our security.”

        Yea, keep telling yourself that. It doesn’t take aircraft carriers and nuclear-capable bombers to shut down our infrastructure, and thus our economy.

        1. It doesn’t take aircraft carriers and nuclear-capable bombers to shut down our infrastructure, and thus our economy.

          Oh really?

          Care to give me an example of how they “shut down” our infrastructure and economy? I’ll even entertain a possible scenario of how they could possibly accomplish do so.

          .
          .
          .

          THIS is what I’m talking about folks. The Soviets could, in fact, take and hold assets that really could threaten our economic interests for prolonged periods of time. The most any nation, or group, in the ME could do is disrupt us for a couple days before being completely obliterated. They are NOT a threat to our national security in any way, shape or form as anything they can do can be countered in EXTREMELY short order.

          That distinction is what’s lacking in today’s new and improved definition of the word threat.

          1. Where the hell are these guys coming from?

          2. “Care to give me an example of how they “shut down” our infrastructure and economy?”

            Certainly. Let’s imagine a scenario where terrorists do terrorist stuff, and half a dozen crowded shopping malls get blown up simultaneously in major cities across the US. Let’s imagine a scenario where they damage or drop an important bridge, like the Golden Gate, or the George Washington. All it takes is about 100 lbs of good explosives, and someone who understands physics. Let’s imagine a scenario where a few major power transmission lines are severed in the NE, in the dead of winter. Granted, it is OUR REACTION that will cause the most damage, but that’s how terrorism works. You can’t not react. If one bridge drops, you will not be able to drive to fucking work without someone probing your ass. If a few malls get blown up, people aren’t going to go shopping. If there’s no power, you can’t heat your home, put gas in your car, or operate a business.

            9/11 was pulled off by somewhere around 25 people, with 19 actually being on the aircraft. Mumbai, maybe 30 people, and only ten were actual trigger-pullers. The London bombings, the Spain bombings, Mumbai, and 9/11 were fairly small operations, yet they changed the world. Put a hundred terrorists into play simultaneously, and everything scales up exponentially.

            1. Let’s imagine a scenario where terrorists do terrorist stuff, and half a dozen crowded shopping malls get blown up simultaneously in major cities across the US. Let’s imagine a scenario where they damage or drop an important bridge, like the Golden Gate, or the George Washington. All it takes is about 100 lbs of good explosives, and someone who understands physics.

              1. And you are going to stop that from happening by bombing people’s children? No, that just makes even more of them.

              2. What you describe can be accomplished by anyone in the world with “about 100 lbs of good explosives”. Do you think we need to go to war with everyone capable of pulling that off? You’d be at war with everyone.

              You only get to kill people who kill us first.

              3. Even if what you describe does happen, it is not a threat to the nation. It DOESN’T “shut Down” our infrastructure or economy. It is a nuisance. We’ll kill those responsible, rebuild the bridge and go back to work. It is NOT a threat worthy of $1T, 4500 folks, 10 years of war only to have conditions worse than they were to begin with.

              There are shitty people in the world. Have a strong defense and use it against them if they attack you. You aren’t going to preemptively force people to be nice.

              1. “You only get to kill people who kill us first.”

                This policy is why no libertarian will ever be elected President. It defies logic to the point of stupidity. You can’t kill people back once you’re dead, and that applies on a personal level and a national one. You can’t allow someone who says their goal is to kill you AND WILL ACTUALLY DO IT, to build capability to the point that they can actually carry out that threat.

                How many terrorist attacks does one have to sustain before they can respond with force? Is it one? Twenty? Is a “tit-for-tat” response required, or do you go all-out and wipe out the threat for good? I’m really interested in your opinion as to how many, and of what severity attacks have to be before we’re justified in retaliating. Is it after my family is killed, or after yours is killed?

              2. 1. Nobody is “bombing people’s children” intentionally. If you set up your rocket or mortar POO in your back yard, and your kids get killed by counter-battery fire, that’s your own damn fault.

                2. Not “anyone in the world” can smuggle, steal, or manufacture a 100 pounds of explosives, emplace it properly, and detonate it successfully. A lone wolf is generally a “one and done” threat. Radical islam is not.

                3. Please tell the people who had relatives on any of the flights involved, or were in the WTC on 9/11, that what happened that day was just a “nuisance”. Please tell the hundreds of people missing arms and legs, or the thousands of families whose loved ones came home in flag-draped coffins from fighting a half-assed “contingency operation” that what they experienced was just a “nuisance”.

                I’ll have to disagree with your statement that you cannot “preemptively force people to be nice”. If you adopt a policy whereas entire regions are bombed into smoking-fucking-craters every time a terrorist attack originates from it, and the people who remain don’t have a pot to piss in, pretty soon people either get the idea, or they are no longer a threat. It’s hard to launch a terrorist attack from the back of a donkey.

        2. Yea, keep telling yourself that. It doesn’t take aircraft carriers and nuclear-capable bombers to shut down our infrastructure, and thus our economy.

          Yeah, all it takes is a lot of debt and inflation. Uh, oops?

          1. Hey, the cupboards are bare, get off their case!!!

        3. Lol, the only entity capable of “shutting down our infrastructure and thus our economy” is the US Government.

          1. Harvey, you’re still an idiot…Lol.

    2. Those partial paragraphs above are great. I wish every GOPer would read them. Starting with McCain.

      1. His head might explode. Ideally, he’d be standing next to Lindsey Graham when it happened.

    3. Except that Spykman’s geographical determinism was as wrong and as damaging as Fukuyama’s End of History thesis. Anyone who includes Spykman in the list of “great strategists of the past” has nothing serious to contribute to the conversation.

      1. I suppose it depends on your definition, but I wouldn’t call Spykman a “geographical determinist” per se. He did posit that it was the most enduring and paramount factor in shaping international relations, but not that it was the only factor with a significant influence on affairs. That’s my rough understanding of him.

        Care to elaborate on your intepretation of Spykman’s work and his reputation?

        Also, how does this undercut Logan’s other arguments and broader thesis?

        1. I actually agree with Logan’s argument, overall, but the citation of Spykman as one of the greats evidences a bias toward geopolitical “realism” that I feel it necessary to call him out on.

          Care to elaborate on your intepretation of Spykman’s work and his reputation?

          That’s though to do within HnR’s text limits, but the standing-on-one leg version is that I believe Spykman over weighed the value of geography at the strategic level and that his theories contribution to the policy of containment led to very undesirable consequences as they were employed with ignorance of long standing and deeply held narratives in both Russian and Chinese culture (both deeply fear being “surrounded” by enemies), and thus containment strategies were unnecessarily antagonistic and with little reward.

          1. That’s certainly a valid criticism, but I do think containment may have actually served as a moderating force for US policy in some respects. That’s a bit frightening to think about though. There were some on the far right who advocated rolling back Communism through offensive measures, so that could have turned out much worse.

            1. Fair enough. Though, we have to be cautious about the term “far-right”. Back then, you’re most looking at the Old Right (as opposed to the post-WW2 New Right), who were isolationist. The John Birchers weren’t advocating total war, for example, and were often the biggest skeptics of the industrial-military complex. As evidenced by Vietnam, the hawks were usually centrist Democrats, and again, usually geopolitical “realists”, who imagined China tipping over geographic dominoes all over South East Asia. If they had taken a moment to listen to their area studies experts, they could have told you that the only thing the Vietnamese hated more than the French were the Chinese. And, for another example, as geo-strategically useful control over the Gulf of Siam/Thailand would have been, for deep cultural reasons (the concept of the boundaries of Huaxia, for example) the Chinese have never attempted, and most likely, will never attempt it. Yet, for those very same reasons, B-52s in Utapao made them very nervous.

              Only Nixon could have gone to China, as the old Vulcan proverb states.

    4. *Otto von Bismarck, Nicholas Spykman or any of the other great strategists of centuries past would be puzzled at the degree of interest Western elites give to the Middle East.*

      Most likely they would also be ‘puzzled’ by airliners being rammed into skyscrapers, IEDs, YouTube, car bombs, cell phones, biological warfare, the internet…

    5. Otto von Bismarck, Nicholas Spykman or any of the other great strategists of centuries past would be puzzled at the degree of interest Western elites give to the Middle East. The region is an economic dwarf.

      Really? Because as I recall, von Bismarck put a fair amount of energy into marginalizing socialists and anarchists, precisely because of the type of asymmetrical threats that their terrorist acts represented and the inability to reconcile their politics to the political order of the day. “The Middle East” is not the priority; rather it is the groups which come out of it and seek to undertake the same type of asymmetric warfare. The unimpressiveness of the Middle East’s economy is not, strictly speaking, relevant wrt this narrow concern.

      And yes, obviously the US is a very safe place to live. What does that have to do with anything? This is a non-sequitur, much like when someone brings up the number of auto fatalities or deaths due to lack of medical care to minimize any political problem they don’t like to talk about. The question should be phrased in the same terms which have been used since the marginal revolution: what are the benefits and costs of a particular action with respect to a problem, and what is the opportunity cost?

      1. Logan does cover this in his piece:

        “But there is no evidence that terrorism is a threat that warrants an effort to micromanage the Middle East. The chance of an American being killed by terrorism outside a war zone from 1970-2012 was roughly one in 4,000,000. By any conventional risk analysis, this is an extraordinarily low risk. Perhaps this is why, as early as 2002, smart risk analysts were asking questions about counterterrorism policy such as “How much should we be willing to pay for a small reduction in probabilities that are already extremely low?”

        The amount we’re paying now to fight terrorism?roughly $100 billion per year?is simply crazy. If someone ran a hedge fund assessing risk the way the U.S. government has responded to terrorism, it would not be long for the world. Indeed, it is difficult to identify how U.S. policy across the region?with the possible exception of some drone strikes and special operations raids?have reduced the extremely low probability of another major terrorist attack.”

        He links to some other articles and papers, so go check out the article on Politico if you want check out his sources/numbers.

        1. I am very loathe to agree with the current approach on the GWoT and I didn’t support OEF, so obviously I’m not going to think that the current policy is a good one. OTOH, putting everything that we do to mitigate risk into one undifferentiated bucket is silly, since it is not all equivalent or mutually dependent. The data he assembles — at best — indicates that the current approach is ineffective, not that “Washington would do better to leave the region alone”, much less that non-intervention is the best of all possible approaches to terrorism.

      2. Bismarck did push through repressive measures like the Anti-Socialist Laws, but I am unaware of him deploying/using up the kind of resources we have in combatting groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban

        1. Deploy against whom? There were no socialist-aligned countries, and he certainly did put enormous pressure on other countries to suppress their own socialist movements. For that matter, what resources would Bismarck have been able to deploy even if he had wanted to (he wouldn’t have, because Prussia under Bismarck faced very serious conventional security threats which is not the case with the US).

          My point is that co-opting him as some sort of non-interventionist or dove is incredibly bizarre, given that there was no equivalent threat in Prussia, that he had other issues on his plate, and that Bismarck did in fact include non-state actors in his foreign and domestic policy thinking.

          1. Logan’s reference to Bismarck was likely done in an effort to differentiate our current policy path from a realist or realpolitik strategy. I don’t see him as trying to co-opt Bismarck as a dove or non-interventionist by any means.

            He would probably maintain that Bismarck wouldn’t spend hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars to deal with a relatively minor threat to internal security and core economic interests. The pressure and measures you refer to above are not even in the same stratosphere in terms of cost.

            1. He would probably maintain that Bismarck wouldn’t spend hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars to deal with a relatively minor threat to internal security and core economic interests

              Probably not. Neither do I. So what?

              Bismarck also would have seen the foolishness in completely writing off any sort of intervention in a region which comprises 1/20th of the world’s GDP, and a good portion of its energy needs is bound up in the region as well. Sure, 1/20th of GDP is historically pathetic for the region but we are not talking about sub-Saharan levels of irrelevance to world affairs.

              It’s important to state why non-intervention is the best way to go, rather than simply noting that the current cost-benefit sucks. By bringing up cost-benefit, one implicitly accepts that it is a valid means of analyzing a policy; why not apply such to libertarians’ preferred policies instead of simply assuming that they are correct?

        2. It is the mirror image of when conservatives try to claim that Reagan would have supported the War on Terror, despite the circumstances of his Presidency being entirely different and the lack of evidence either way for a dispositive position on the subject.

  2. There’s something deeply sinister about this ISIS war we’re getting into. It’s like the administration desperately wanted to side with the Assad regime, but couldn’t outwardly ally themselves because of international political considerations. Then ISIS came along which allowed the Administration the power-play they needed.

  3. The war on Islamic State is rife with uncertainty, because so many of its enemies are our enemies

    So, “bomb ’em all and let Allah sort ’em out”?

    1. Sadly, a few posters at Reason may actually support that.

      1. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.

        1. Is this supposed to be some kind of argument?

      2. If it’s more than you can count on one hand I’d be surprised.

  4. Limited bombing campaign against Islamists=decade long ground war against saddam Hussein. Totally. It’s s good thing we elected all our new Doppler friends in the senate who are going to stop this shit ASAP. I’ll sit back and enjoy my coffee. Has Mitch McConnell revoked funding yet? Let me know when that happens.

    1. Don’t pretend you have any sympathies for the Middle Eastern children killed in war, or that you are anti-war at all. You couldn’t even bring yourself to condemn Lon Horiuchi shooting an unarmed woman in the head while she held her newborn for the crime of being married to a non-violent tax evader.

      You are a violent sociopath who has an erotic attraction to murder, which is evidenced by your fantasies and worship of olive-drab fatigue wearing thugs who raped and murdered their way to socialism in the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia.

      You are a sick fuck who deserves nothing more than to have sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride sequentially injected into your veins.

    2. Just keep on enjoying your oil and all the blood your leaders spent on it.

      1. Tell me again how much oil we’re getting from Iraq and Afghanistan?

        1. DRAAAIIINNNNAGE! Drainage, Zombie, you boy.

  5. Please stop referring to the United States government as “we” and soldiers in the United States Armed Forces as “our” troops. Thank you.

  6. I love how Obama & Biden look just like Bush & Cheney in the photo chosen for this story.

    Reason, your slip is showing.

    1. Beltway cocktail party invites were down by 8% last month. They have to recoup.

  7. “No one could have imagined in October 2001, when we went into Afghanistan to crush the Taliban and al-Qaida, that we would still be there 13 years later and so would they. Nor did we realize that our crucial supposed ally in the fight, Pakistan, would prove not merely unhelpful but downright hostile.”

    Bullshit. Anyone with any knowledge of the situation knew it would take generations to secure Afghanistan, and that both Pakistan and Iran were going to continue to destabilize the country for their own reasons. Going in, kicking ass, and leaving was never an option. Afghanistan will revert to a safe-haven for international terrorists within hours of our departure, and that fact has always been known.

    We know that the Pakistani ISI supports the Taliban with safe-haven weapons, training, and C2. We know that the government of Iran supports the Taliban by facilitating the opium-heroin trade, and supplying arms.

    1. Going in, kicking ass, and leaving was never an option. Afghanistan will revert to a safe-haven for international terrorists within hours of our departure, and that fact has always been known.

      Really? I think a punitive expedition was what was precisely called for on 9/12 with the message sent that if there is a next time we’ll send a tactical nuke.

      1. What exactly would we target with that “tactical nuke”?

  8. No country in history has ever done so much fighting in so many places with so little interest from its own citizens.

    Opposition to the Permanent War is too diffuse across the political spectrum to be effective. Lefty peaceniks and libertarians can be too easily criticized and written off as the “Blame America First” or Unserious crowd by the establishments of both Parties and much of the media. You can only be Serious about protecting America if you want to drop $20 billion of bombs on religious fanatics halfway around the world.

    Additionally, 90%+ of Americans have little to no relation to the people actually doing the fighting. The successful establishment of our “professional army” has essentially allowed the government to fight wars without worrying about pissing off people who don’t actually want to be fighting across the world (and their friends/families).

  9. The United States has been fighting wars to “enhance our security” and our national collective ego, greed, and self-righteous patriotism since 1898. The possible exception is World War II, although we were then fighting other nations attempting to create empires. In this respect we are no different than any other country that has ever existed in the world since history began.

    You can thank Bush and Cheney for our Middle East adventures, and Obama for continuing them. And you can be sure that when the Republicans get in the White House again they will continue these wars, to include Africa. We have already created Africa Command for this purpose. And of course we have already started a new cold war with Russia.

    Most of this is a result of the fact that the U.S. (both parties) has few, if any real statesmen in Congress or anywhere else in the government. The only solutions seem to be airstrikes, or “boots on the ground”. What our glorious leaders need are boots up their collective political assholes. What a bunch of fucking morons we have running this country.

    1. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

      1. The Middle East has been at war since about 700AD. Most Americans weren’t even born then.

  10. my buddy’s mother makes $72 /hour on the computer . She has been out of work for five months but last month her income was $14227 just working on the computer for a few hours. website here…

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  11. Chapman writes another column without a clue. News at 11.

  12. OK. I’m gonna say a few unpopular things here;

    “For most of this century, we’ve been fighting wars to enhance our security, and each time, we find ourselves with more enemies and less security.”

    For all of this century, we have been in wars over our security; it’s just that until 9/11/2001 we weren’t generally aware that we were in a war. So one could, I suppose, argue that all of this century, less nine and a third months is “most”. I have a suspicion, however, that the writer means “for most of the last hundred years”, stretching back to 1914 (when we got into WWI because A) Woodrow Wilson was a dolt and B) Kaiser Whilhelm was another ( the operation to get Mexico to attack us was phantasmagorically stupid, and virtually guaranteed we’d come in on England’s side).

    The thing is, while one can argue that most of the wars fought in that span of time did not, in fact, increase our security, one can also argue the other way. And for those wars that were serious failures, the failure can mostly be traced to a Political Left that is both enamored to Communism (a political system at least as disgusting as the one that made Germany a nightmare in the 1940’s) and romantic about primitive thugs.

    1. Cntd.

      If we were willing to fight wars along the principles of gunboat diplomacy, we would enhance our security, and what enemies we might be said to “make” that way are people who weren’t going to be our friends in any sense that mattered. For instance, I think one can say, with pretty firm evidence, that the entire humanities faculty of colleges like UC Berkeley are cultural traitors. They aren’t going to like the US, no matter what we do, because holding themselves as better than the culture that supports them is the only way they have of evading the knowledge that they are work shy bums.

      “No one could have imagined in October 2001, when we went into Afghanistan to crush the Taliban and al-Qaida, that we would still be there 13 years later and so would they.”

      Bullshit; Bush said, on 9/12 if I recall right, that we were in for a fight that would last at least ten years. Nobody remembers this, because the Political Left has done their level best to overwrite what Bush actually said and did with their caricature of a warmongering dolt.

      The “Wars” we have been fighting for the least couple of decades are all one war. It is a war against the spread of barbarism. It is a war we are losing not because it is unwinnable, but because a significant minority among us do not want us to win.

      1. jr did not say shit because he is a clueless drone. We are losing because it is impossible to win. How can you win something when there is no goal? How do you measure success?

        1. So, you are one of the idiots who believes that “Bush lied”. Do you also believe that”Bush=Hitler” despite the fact that none of Bush’s detractors vanished in the night? Do you believe that structual steel cannot melt in a building fire?

          Do you believe in the tooth fairy.

          1. Bush was too stupid to lie. He did what he was told to do by Dick.

            As for your Strawman comparing Bush to Hitler…no need to address that.

            And then two more Strawmen. Typical neocon drone…..

            1. I was asking because it was a fat too common protester sign. Not to mention as stupid as you seem to think Bush was. Not a strawman. You seem to be putting youself on that intellectual level.

              And now I’m sure that’s where you belong, alomg with the Trithers, the sad old men who still think FDR plotted Pearl Harbor, and duckweed.

          2. Thermite melts structural steel.

      2. Golf clap…

    2. each time, we find ourselves with more enemies and less security.”

      Is that why the USSR is gone and there’s less war in the world than ever before?

      1. Last I checked, we didn’t defeat the USSR with an occupation.

        1. We stopped them by making ramping up their war machine to our levels unaffordable.

  13. “Hitting ISIS will just make things worse”

    That’s not a prediction, That’s the author’s dearest hope. Chapman/Richman WANT the campaign to fail

    1. You don’t get it do you? Chapman/Richman never wanted the campaign to begin in the first place. ISIS has never attacked us – we attacked them. They are no threat to us and never have been. Fighting them is just more US meddling in other states affairs. It gains us nothing.

  14. Stopping Hitler in the Rhineland was a stupid idea. Oh. Wait. He wasn’t stopped there.

    1. A red-herring argument because you can’t argue the actual point. Nazi Germany declared war on us. We had every reason to destroy them. Libertarians aren’t pacifists. We just happen to think that as a nation, the US should mind its own business.

      War mongers like you have a hard time understanding that. If you feel so strongly about attacking ISIS why don’t you go over there and fight? Take your wife and kids with you – give them guns and tell them to fight too. Tell them they are doing it to make us all safe. Another lie you war mongers like to tell each other.

  15. The real issue is, can we pursuade the islamotwits that attacking us is a bad idea, BEFORE they manage an attack that really dones enrage the public? That’s what scares ME.

    I was cornered by more than one knee-jerk anti-war leftie in the years just after 9/11, and told more than once that we were “lashing out in unreasoning anger”. That’s an absurd statement until MEcca has been nuked. Which is all too possible. Set off an attack that kills more than cour figures, and life will get really ugly.

    It doesn’t fit the “Bush’s wars were failures” narrative, but we took down a large army in Iraq, in far less time than everyone hought we could, without conscription. Get us really pissed, hell will go out for a walk with the sleeves rolled up.

    Now, if this was just a danger to the Middle East, I wouldn’t really care. But it won’t be good for us, either. We really will, at that point, go Imperial. And we won’t be good at it. Not nearly as good as the Victorian British were. My sole comfort is that the first few decades will be pretty comfortable for English speaking citizens, and I’m 50′, so when our Imperial Governemt starts to throw out Caligulas and Neros, I’ll probably be gone.

    1. After 13 years in Afghanistan, we ARE imperial.

      Our continued meddling in the middle east is not helping us. I don’t have a problem with us totally destroying anyone who attacks us, but other than that the USA should stick to trade. The biggest threat to US security is US stupidity.

  16. Some of you are complaining that a few commenters don’t agree that these idiotic wars are idiotic. Instead of complaining about them not agreeing with you try convincing them why our ideas are better and their ideas are wrong. This is supposed to be a discussion board, not a closed system of yes men in lock step agreement. Step up your game folks. I can listen to people whine about others not agreeing with them at Hot Air a bastion of stupid ideas and even poorer writing.

  17. A remedy for perpetual war is “A Legal Framework for Just Military Action”. Click on the photo on the Justice Party of Colorado page to read this document and comments with background and supporting information.

    https://www.facebook.com/JusticePartyColorado

    From the Justice Party National Platform:

    “The Justice Party is concerned far less about party affiliations than it is with the need to join together to rid our government of the corruption, inclination toward empire-building, and amassing of imperial presidential powers, all of which have resulted in immense injustice?economically, socially, and environmentally?throughout our nation and our world.”

    http://www.justicepartyusa.org/platform

  18. It’s already a done deal. The next US president will complete the job that only Jeb Bush can do. No need for him to be in the spotlight or do much campaigning when he knows he can use the same Deception that worked so well for his father and for his brother. After 9/11 they know they can do anything and get away with it. From the JFK assassination until 9/11 one hidden hand from Texas is ruling not only in this Country and with the next US elections it will make it official all over the World.

    Raised at the school of the CIA now he is the master of Deception.
    Perhaps a few will still remember when George W. Bush told the terrorized US citizens to seal their windows with duct tape to protect from an imminent chemical attack. An irony like this could tell the whole story. The next day on the shelves of the stores all over the US there was no more duct tape for sale.

    All that is happening in our days is the prelude to enormous changes but even before discussing in regard of the possible remedy one must be clear about how we came to this point recognizing both physiognomy and origin of the threat.

    Since George H. Bush was CIA director, the US secret State agencies had played a double role to finally get to where we are today when every person is constantly monitored by NSA and other agencies not to report the information to the US Government but to feed with all data the embryo of a new superpower still kept hidden.

    There is one Solution.

    http://www.wavevolution.org

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