Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

U.S. Masters of War No More

Once begun, wars devour everything, inflicting staggering material, psychological, and moral damage. Pain vastly exceeds gain. When fighting eventually stops, the victors are left not to celebrate but to mourn. The Western way of war has run its course.

After 9/11, Washington’s efforts to transform (or “liberate”) the Greater Middle East kicked into high gear. In Afghanistan and Iraq, George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror began impressively enough, as U.S. forces operated with a speed and élan that had once been an Israeli trademark. Thanks to “shock and awe,” Kabul fell, followed less than a year and a half later by Baghdad.

As one senior Army general explained to Congress in 2004, the Pentagon had war all figured out:  “We are now able to create decision superiority that is enabled by networked systems, new sensors and command and control capabilities that are producing unprecedented near real time situational awareness, increased information availability, and an ability to deliver precision munitions throughout the breadth and depth of the battlespace… Combined, these capabilities of the future networked force will leverage information dominance, speed and precision, and result in decision superiority.”

At that moment, the officer corps, like the Bush administration, was still convinced that it knew how to win.

Such claims of success, however, proved obscenely premature.

[Excerpts of an article by Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of history]

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