The 38 Year War

A 2004 commentary by Doug Bandow of The Future of Freedom Foundation points out how much we love war, well at least politicians love war:

War has become a centerpiece of American politics. The war on terrorism is the focus of U.S. foreign policy. A real war is being fought in Iraq. Jimmy Carter proclaimed the “moral equivalent of war” over energy. Some analysts are advocating a war on obesity.

But, says Bandow, “the longest-running ongoing ‘war’ is the war on drugs.” And since then, our attitudes have changed a bit. A 2008 Washington Post story by Alfonso Cuéllar reminds us:

Two decades ago, illicit imports of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and their use by Americans topped the list of public concerns in nationwide surveys at 22 percent. In January, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 1 percent of the population considered drugs and alcohol the most important problem facing the country.

Nixon Declared the war in June 1971, but the content of the Wikipedia article probably reflects public sentiment in its outsized section on criticisms.


Tankmen is funny, no doubt, but I wonder what it means when we’re deeply embroiled in two of the longest running armed conflicts of US history that we find it so easy to make comedy about war.

The War On Zombies

From Kim to Zach to me to you: Bush Vs. Zombies.

Now we know: the guy doesn’t understand the difference between fact and fiction. Most people thought Shaun of the Dead was horror/comedy, not documentary. Poor W probably read The Zombie Survival Guide as an instruction manual (don’t show him How To Survive a Robot Uprising, please).

Gah. The guy hired a cannibal, fears animal-human hybrids, and flip-flops on evolution.


Mentioned earlier, but worth mentioning again: TrueMajorityACTION’s Take It Back campaign. Among the videos and political graffiti of the moment, don’t miss Freedom, Beat Box Bush, and Hijacking Catastrophe. And as funny as the Brazillion Joke is, we need a government that doesn’t lie, a government that’s smart, a government that cares for its people, […] » about 100 words

Shakespeare, Motivation, War, What Are We Doing Here?

I’m a sap. I can’t help but get choked up when I read or hear Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech in Henry The V.

eHow tells me that “Saint Crispin’s Day is a good day to honor lives well lived, beliefs held dear and shoes well made.” But Steve Denning calls the speech a “magical, linguistic sleight of hand,” and warns us:

…it may work for a battle, or even several battles. But the danger in real life is =that it may not be sustainable. It unravels when people begin to question: what’s the point?

Perhaps even more so today, when the justification of war is a often a matter of serious debate and question, the US Army finds that the soldier’s will to fight and kill stems mainly from the soldiers’ interest in surviving and having their buddies survive, rather than in any belief in the purpose of the war. The story of who we are as a fighting unit is more powerful than: what on earth are we doing here, shooting and killing people?

Frank Rich on Bush’s Last 1000 Days

Frank Rich’s New York Times op-ed column today was full of the kind of easy one-liners that repressives conservatives usually like to use against honest people progressives. I got it from my friend Joe, but because The New York Times thinks their content is golden, they won’t let me link you to the full-text. Eh, […] » about 400 words

Big Iron Won’t Win Wars Anymore

Technology changes things, sure. The question is, how do you recognize the early signs of change before they become catastrophic? I spend most of my days working on that question in academia, but what about our armed forces? Noah Shachtman regularly covers that issue in DefenseTech:

Like a lot of other sage observers, Naval Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla isn’t nuts about the idea of spending a ton on Cold War-style weapons systems when we’re supposed to be fighting terrorists and insurgents. But Arquilla is one of the first military analysts I’ve heard say that “the Pentagon’s big platforms [aren’t] merely the wrong weapon systems to fight present and future wars, but [are] actually likely to bring defeat.”

The superiority of aircraft made huge battleships a liability just before World War II. The climax of Top Gun pretty much centered on the vulnerability of our all our ships — including aircraft carriers — to missile attack (BTW, those Exocet missiles now sport ranges as high as 180km). But these are just a few examples of the general problem. Of course, the Navy isn’t the only force with big, Cold-War iron. There’s more, including some good quotes at DefenseTech.

60 Years Later

In what was to be the final act of World War II in the Pacific, the United States made the first and only use of nuclear power as a weapon in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th (US dates), 1945. George Weller of the Chicago Daily News snuck in to […] » about 200 words