Tag: War

U.S. National Defense: Just Another Government Program »

In a recent address to the Institute for Humane Studies board of directors, George Mason University economist and co-editor of the Independent Institute’s The Independent Review Christopher J. Coyne offered a “case for humility” regarding foreign intervention. I had the pleasure of hearing the address in person, and the written version can be found...
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Perfecting Tyranny »

When discussing the costs of foreign intervention, it’s typical for scholars, elected officials, and the general public to focus on the international consequences. As the U.S. prepares for new offenses in Iraq and Syria, for example, many have called into question issues of civilian casualties, the impact on these countries’ political and economic systems,...
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Never Forget »

...that 9/11 was successfully carried out because American government agencies with very large budgets, and with more than sufficient spying authority, ignored multiple reports that had been spoon-fed them by their own agents: In a memo from the Phoenix FBI to headquarters, the agents recommended an urgent nationwide review of flight schools “for any...
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Arming Syrian Rebels—Afghanistan Deja Vu? »

Concerns over the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, have continued to grow. Last night, President Obama addressed the nation on the “ISIS threat.” He announced his intentions to provide further assistance to opposition groups. More specifically, he is asking Congress for $500 million to arm and train “moderate Syrian rebels.” The idea...
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Imposing Costs on Russia: How about a Food Embargo? »

President Obama has threatened to impose costs on Russia for their intervention in Ukraine, but so far, his involvement has been high on rhetoric but low on action. Here’s a proposal that ought to hit Russia where it hurts: impose a food embargo on them. Americans and Europeans of a certain age can remember...
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Orwellian Language: Peace Abroad; War at Home »

Governments often misuse language to build emotional and patriotic support for their policies. This Orwellian use of language is clearly evident in the way that US government policy uses the words “war” and “peace.” Everyone is well aware of the US military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Initiated during the Bush administration and continued...
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The War on Poverty and the War on Drugs »

As an apparently war-minded people, Americans (or at least, our American political leaders) have been comfortable framing parts of the domestic policy agenda as wars for decades. Two of the most prominent have been the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. Despite the similarity in their names, there is an important difference...
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A Hundred Years of War »

One hundred years ago today, Austria-Hungary fired the first shots of World War I, sparking its conflict with Serbia. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, had assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Mutual defense agreements ensured that the political clash did not remain regional. Austria-Hungary got support from Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Serbia found allies...
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A Hell of a Pinpoint Operation »

Secretary of State John Kerry was right to call Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas “a hell of a pinpoint operation” in an apparently private comment that had the hallmark of a diplomatic move aimed at putting pressure on Tel Aviv. Except that he was referring ironically to the military aspect of the operation,...
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The Veterans’ Administration Has Been a Disaster Since Its Inception »

In her modern, exceptional biography of President Calvin Coolidge, Amity Shlaes (Coolidge, HarperCollins, 2013) documents the very blemished history of today’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), illustrating the trite, but nevertheless very true old saw that the more things change the more they remain the same. That department of the federal government, now...
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