Battleland

Unending War

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U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Wall in Qalat City, Afghanistan, last Friday / Air Force photo by Grovert Fuentes-Contreras

Greg Jaffe had a spot-on piece in the Washington Post‘s Labor Day edition discussing the U.S. government’s notion that permanent war is now the American way of life. He captures the all-but-paranoid notion that foreign enemies are forever plotting ways to end the American way of life, as we know it.

But while that is the view of most of our leaders, it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. We are spending $1 trillion a year in large part to defend ourselves against medieval theologians who couldn’t design and assemble a ballpoint pen. Sure, every once in awhile they might strike pay dirt and carry out a spectacular attack like 9/11. And we should take all reasonable steps to keep that from ever happening again.

But as Jaffe notes:

One lesson of today’s endless war seems to be that Americans will have to learn to live with a certain amount of insecurity and fear.

Funny how less afraid we’ve become over the past several years. It’d be great if our government would pare back on its paternal sense that all Americans are fragile children lacking any internal resilience to the worst al Qaeda and its ilk have to offer. It’s worth noting that coddled, protected children grow up anxious and afraid. Be a shame to see that happen to the American character.

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