Louis René Beres: What's to Blame for America's Senseless Wars?

tags: Iraq, foreign policy, Afghanistan, Louis René Beres, U.S. News and World Report



Louis Rene Beres is a professor of International Law at Purdue University. Born in Zurich, Switzerland at the end of World War II, he is the author of many major books and articles dealing with world politics, law, literature, and philosophy.

Where there were great military actions, there lies whitening now the jawbone of an ass.

–Saint-John Perse

I am in Vietnam, wondering just how any U.S. president could ever have imagined a purposeful American war in this part of the world. My considerable wonderment has as much to do with the obvious vacancy of 1960s and 1970s-era conceptual justifications (Vietnam as a threatened "domino" was the preferred metaphor) as with patently overwhelming operational difficulties. Notwithstanding the carefully cultivated and contrived images of an indispensable conflict, this was a war that never had a single defensible raison d'etre, and that never displayed any conceivable way of being won.

Never.

Lately, it was Iraq, although now already officially ended, at least for us. In Afghanistan, a war is still ongoing, even for us. Allegedly, at least for us, the Afghan war will soon be over. For the Afghans, however, it will be status quo ante bellum.

At best.

Plainly, over the years, with the now-prominent and plainly unique exception of North Korea, the doctrinal adversary has changed, from "communism" to "Islamism" or "Jihadism." This time, moreover, our adversary is indisputably real and formidable. It is not merely another imagined foe, one conveniently extrapolated from too-neatly fashioned figures of speech, or deduced from other similarly facile analogies....




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