NETA C. CRAWFORD – The war in Afghanistan, like many other wars before it, began with optimistic assessments of a quick victory and the promise to rebuild at warâ€™s end. Despite Bushâ€™s warning of a lengthy campaign, few thought then that would mean decades. But 20 years later, the U.S is still counting the costs.
ANDREW J. BACEVICH – Policy intellectualsâ€Šâ€”â€Šeggheads presuming to instruct the mere mortals who actually run for officeâ€Šâ€”â€Šare a blight on the republic. Like some invasive species, they infest present-day Washington, where their presence strangles common sense and has brought to the verge of extinction the simple ability to perceive reality. A benign appearanceâ€Šâ€”â€Šwell-dressed types testifying before Congress, pontificating in print and on TV, or even filling key positions in the executive branchâ€Šâ€”â€Šbelies a malign impact. They are like Asian carp let loose in the Great Lakes.
TOM ENGELHARDT – The United States has been at warâ€”major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, airstrikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts and covert actionsâ€”nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. Thatâ€™s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions. Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face. They are, however, the words that canâ€™t be said in a country committed to a military-first approach to the world, a continual build-up of its forces, an emphasis on pioneering work in the development and deployment of the latest destructive technology, and a repetitious cycling through styles of war from full-scale invasions and occupations to counterinsurgency, proxy wars, and back again.