William Astore on America’s Faith in War

For various reasons, America’s ruling class has a great love of war, even as America’s non-ruling-classes have a general indifference to it, as long as its destructiveness is kept overseas and out of sight.

It’s strange indeed that we have such faith in war: such faith in destruction as being progressive. Americans are a hyper-aggressive and trigger-happy bunch, quick to anger, slow to think. Fear, anger, and pride make us a menace to various peoples on the receiving end of American firepower, yet somehow we see ourselves as reasonable peacemakers. Such a mass delusion can only be sustained through massive propaganda, a "victory culture" if you will, supported by all those Hollywood war movies, TV shows featuring SEALs and the like, military pageantry at sporting events, and so on.

Speaking of the military and sports, day 2 of the NFL draft opened with an array of military personnel in dress uniform on the big stage in Kansas City as fans broke into “USA! USA!” chants. Yes, I understand there are a lot of football fans in the military, and I’m sure there were more than a few service members and veterans in civvies in the audience. Yet, ask yourself: What are military members in uniform doing on the stage at the NFL draft? What role are they playing?

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Strange Factoid on the F-35 Jet Fighter

F-150 pickup truck. Being designed and built by Lockheed Martin and also having to meet the varying requirements of the U.S. Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps, cost and complexity quickly escalated, so much so that an AF Chief of Staff recently compared it to a Ferrari rather than to a trusty and capable pickup truck.

That Ferrari comparison is apt with respect to cost, though even Ferraris may be more durable and reliable than the F-35.

How so? A friend sent along an article on the F-15EX Eagle II fighter.

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The US Military’s Recruitment Problem, Solved!

The U.S. military is having a major problem recruiting new troops, notes Nan Levinson in an informative piece at TomDispatch.com. As usual, the military has tried most everything. Lowering standards, especially on the ASVAB test. Boosting bonuses and benefits. Infiltrating high school (even grade schools!) with military programs tied to recruitment like Junior ROTC. More money for ad campaigns, using celebrities and catchy slogans. Hoopla at sports stadiums. Nothing’s worked.

But, being an out-of-the-Pentagon-box thinker, I have the solution: Downsize the military!

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A Baseball Game or a Military Parade?

Last Thursday (March 30) was opening day at Fenway Park, where “my” team, the Boston Red Sox, began their 123rd season. I turned on the TV just as a humongous American flag fell across the Green Monster (the wall in left field). Standing before that wall were troops in camouflage uniforms saluting smartly as the National Anthem began. As that anthem reached its conclusion, four combat jets flew over as the crowd cheered.

And I thought to myself: When did opening day in baseball become an excuse for a military parade?

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Questions To Ask in the Russia-Ukraine War

I don’t get bogged down in the operational and tactical details of the Russia-Ukraine War. I don’t know which side is winning or allegedly winning, or which side is best prepared to launch a spring offensive, or which weapons will allegedly turn the tide (likely answer: none). In my view, both sides are losing, especially Ukraine since the war is being fought on their turf. Each side has suffered well over 100,000 killed. Russia has captured territory; whether they can keep it remains to be seen.

1. Does Ukraine truly seek to retake Crimea from Russia? If so, how much are the U.S. and NATO prepared to assist in this? Assuming Ukraine can launch such an offensive, how might Russia respond? Is the nuclear option on the table for Putin if Crimea is invaded? Could war in Crimea escalate to World War III?

2. If the US doesn’t like China’s peace plan to end the war, where is the US peace plan? Does the US even have one?

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The Second Cold War

It began in August 1914, a war in Europe that was supposed to be over by Christmas of that year. But it exploded out of control, becoming the “Great War” or “The World War” or even “The War to End All Wars.” And when it finally ended on 11/11 in 1918, something like ten million troops were dead.

We know it as World War I or the First World War because we know what came after it: yet another calamitous world war, a sequel, one that was far worse than the original. And after that war finally ended in 1945, something like 75-80 million people were dead around the world, including 25 million in the Soviet Union, six million Jews in the Holocaust, and 250,000 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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