Pinkerism and Militarism Walk Into a Room

Charles Kenny’s book, Close the Pentagon, has an endorsement from Steven Pinker despite wanting to close something that Pinker rarely acknowledges exists. This is a book to answer the question: What if someone who believed that war was only committed by poor, dark, distant people, and had therefore almost vanished from the earth, were to … Continue reading “Pinkerism and Militarism Walk Into a Room”

Why War Deaths Increase After Wars

I don’t know if somebody dumped a bottle of sanity solution into Rhode Island Sound or what the reason is, but Brown University, which has military contracts just like everywhere else, is the headquarters of a group of dozens of scholars and experts working to educate the public about the various costs of wars (funders … Continue reading “Why War Deaths Increase After Wars”

US Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?

The First Gulf War back in 1990 was a big huge success. One of the things it accomplished was a major U.S. troop presence in Saudi Arabia. Muslims around the world were outraged. Bombs were repeatedly set off at Khobar Towers where troops were stationed. In 1998 Osama Bin Laden declared: “For over seven years … Continue reading “US Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?”

Don’t Iraq Iran

If Iran had spent the last few decades lying about and threatening the United States, and had attacked and built military bases in Canada and Mexico, and had imposed sanctions on the United States that were creating great suffering, and then a lying scheming war-crazed Iranian official announced that he believed the United States had … Continue reading “Don’t Iraq Iran”

The Last Death in a War Is 90% Backwash

They say the last sip of a drink is mostly backwash. The last understanding of a war should be that every speck of it is backwash in the sense used by Ellen N. La Motte in her 1916 book The Backwash of War. La Motte was a U.S. nurse who worked at a French hospital … Continue reading “The Last Death in a War Is 90% Backwash”

17 Years of Getting Afghanistan Completely Wrong

We expect 17-year-olds to have learned a great deal starting from infancy, and yet full-grown adults have proven incapable of knowing anything about Afghanistan during the course of 17 years of U.S.-NATO war. Despite war famously being the means of Americans learning geography, few can even identify Afghanistan on a map. What else have we … Continue reading “17 Years of Getting Afghanistan Completely Wrong”

Believing the Russian ‘Hacking’ Claim

When the US public was told that Spain had blown up the Maine, or Vietnam had returned fire, or Iraq had stockpiled weapons, or Libya was planning a massacre, the claims were straightforward and disprovable. Before people began referring to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, somebody had to lie that it had happened, and there … Continue reading “Believing the Russian ‘Hacking’ Claim”

Iraq Has WMDs and Russia Has Invaded

How did they imagine they’d get away with it, claiming that Iraq had vast stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and even nuclear weapons? Defectors had made clear the chemical and biological weapons (some of them provided by the United States) had been destroyed. Inspectors had searched almost every inch of Iraq and said they’d … Continue reading “Iraq Has WMDs and Russia Has Invaded”