Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Posts tagged "War"

According to the United Nations Office of Human Rights (via Vox), there have been more people killed in the last three years during the Syrian civil war than the number of Americans killed in combat in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, and War in Iraq. Combined.

I’m just curious — when does the word “genocide” enter into the conversation?

Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means for peace.
Ulysses S. Grant, post-Presidential speech in London, England during Grant’s world tour

Bullets are not worth considering. Besides I am so conceited that I do not think the Gods would create so potent a being for so prosaic an ending.

Winston Churchill, 21 years old, in a letter to his mother after his first experience of being shot at in combat, 1895

While doing some genealogical research online, I found my great-grandfather’s draft registration card from World War I.  Pretty cool.  If you have ancestors who were eligible for the draft during World War I (I believe the age range was 18-45 by the end of the war), you can search for their registration cards here.

I highly suggest that you go over to The American Scholar and read Neil Shea’s article about a platoon he was embedded with in Afghanistan.  I’m sickened by it, and if you are human, I would imagine you will be, too.  If you wonder why we’re not “winning the hearts and minds” of the people in countries we are supposedly “liberating”, it’s partly because the United States is being represented (in some cases, not all) by garbage like the troops that Shea spent time with.  A band of brothers?  No, this particular group is more like a retinue of war criminals and a tornado of cultural insensitivity.  In the unlikely event that someone from Afghanistan is reading my blog I hope they’ll understand that people like this don’t represent the United States that I believe in and hope for.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
why do people say we're at war for nothing? what are we really at war for? do you support the wars?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Well, many Americans (myself included) don’t feel like we accomplished anything in Iraq.  Yes, Saddam Hussein is dead, but our role in this world is not to change terrible regimes.  We used intelligence that was faulty at best, but more accurately just completely made up to justify a costly, deadly invasion of a sovereign nation that we just didn’t like.  Saddam was terrible and so was Qaddafi, but getting rid of horrible dictators isn’t our job.  And if it was, we’d be shitty at that job because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is still ruling in Iran on a platform of American hatred, Bashar al-Assad is doing the same things to the people in Syria that Qaddafi did to the Libyans, and we’ve definitely let Kim Jong-il get away with developing and testing nuclear weapons in North Korea while also starving his people and provoking South Korea and Japan.  Our foreign policy is hypocritical and that’s why it feels like we’re at war for nothing.  If we acted on what we said we believe, we wouldn’t be so cozy with Saudi Arabia, who is far more disgusting in their human rights abuses than even China.

I supported the Afghanistan War.  I felt that we needed to respond after 9/11, punish those who were responsible, destroy the Taliban, attempt to destabilize and destroy al-Qaeda, and hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden and the leaders of al-Qaeda.  I think that President Bush should have committed more troops to Afghanistan from the beginning, and the Iraq War never should have happened.  That would have allowed us to focus that attention on Afghanistan (or Pakistan, if it was necessary) instead of getting bogged down in a war with a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.  The War on Terror, of course, is not simply an Afghanistan War, but I feel like a more concentrated focus on Afghanistan would have ended our campaign in Afghanistan and helped began reconstruction.  Now, we’re 10 years on in Afghanistan and it’s still not a completed mission.

Will the War on Terror ever truly end?  Probably not in the next few Presidential terms.  Besides Afghanistan and Iraq, I believe we currently have soldiers (or “advisers” if you want to use Vietnam-era language) fighting, training, assisting, or operating in some form or another in the Philippines, Somalia, Yemen, Mali, Djibouti, Niger, Nigeria, Liberia, Chad, Libya, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Seychelles. Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guyana, Suriname, Australia, Korea, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Burundi, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and scores of other nations that I’m leaving out.  I think we have Americans troops either fighting, stationed, or operating in some fashion in 130 countries around the world.  It’s insane.

So, I definitely supported the war in Afghanistan from the beginning, but I wish that I was optimistic enough to feel that there is an end or an exit.  I’m happy with President Obama’s aggressive targeting of al-Qaeda’s leaders.  We’ve killed a lot of top terrorists in the the past three years.  I’m just not sure how or if we’ll know that our mission is complete.  The War on Terror has already been going on longer than American involvement in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II — combined.