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Endless War

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U.S. Military Actions Since 1890. By Dr.

U.S. Military Actions Since 1890

Zoltan Grossman The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2014. Below the list is a Briefing on the History of U.S. Military Interventions. The list and briefing are also available as a powerpoint presentation. This guide does not include: mobilizations of the National Guard offshore shows of naval strength reinforcements of embassy personnel the use of non-Defense Department personnel (such as the Drug Enforcement Administration) military exercises non-combat mobilizations (such as replacing postal strikers) the permanent stationing of armed forces covert actions where the U.S. did not play a command and control role the use of small hostage rescue units most uses of proxy troops U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes foreign or domestic disaster assistance military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat civic action programs and many other military activities.

Quotes in Christian Science Monitor and The Independent. Perpetual War. The Need to Be At War Just Never Stops. In all of America’s 239 years of existence, only roughly 20 of them have been without warfare of some kind.

The Need to Be At War Just Never Stops

And no, those are not in a row. We’ve had one or two years, here and there, where we haven’t spent our time bombing foreign countries, bayoneting our brothers in hopes of keeping our slaves or invading Canada (that really happened and more than once). We are a warring people. In the 219 years we’ve been raging and waging, we’ve managed to amass the largest military in the history of gatherings where people dressed alike. (In fairness to us battle-binging Americans, historian Will Durant surmised, in the entire written history of the world, only 29 of them have been without some war somewhere. We throw more cash into defense spending than China, Russia, U.K., France, India and Germany combined. America Has Been Launching Wars and Losing Them for Virtually the Entire 21st Century.

Photo Credit: Flickr, The US Army President-elect Donald Trump’s message for the nation’s senior military leadership is ambiguously unambiguous. Here is he on 60 Minutes just days after winning the election. Trump: "We have some great generals. We have great generals. " Lesley Stahl: "You said you knew more than the generals about ISIS. " Trump: "Well, I'll be honest with you, I probably do because look at the job they've done. In reality, Trump, the former reality show host, knows next to nothing about ISIS, one of many gaps in his education that his impending encounter with actual reality is likely to fill. Trump’s unhappy verdict -- that the senior U.S. military leadership doesn’t know how to win -- applies in spades to the two principal conflicts of the post-9/11 era: the Afghanistan War, now in its 16th year, and the Iraq War, launched in 2003 and (after a brief hiatus) once more grinding on.

Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. That verdict brings to mind three questions. Endless war will destroy us all: The U.S. military is the imperial hammer that sees every problem as a nail. History shows that the U.S. government earnestly believes military intervention and war can solve any problem.

Endless war will destroy us all: The U.S. military is the imperial hammer that sees every problem as a nail

This was perhaps most ludicrously illustrated when the New York Times reported that the U.S. military would “commit up to 3,000 troops to fight Ebola in Africa.” (One could almost see it — thousands of bulletproof vest-clad soldiers, armed to the teeth, bravely shooting at the microscopic virus.) The Obama administration subsequently deployed 1,000 more. “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” stipulates the unbreakable Law of the Instrument. We’re never winning these wars: America has zero to show for its decades of bloodshed in the Middle East. It may be hard to believe now, but in 1970 the protest song “War,” sung by Edwin Starr, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

We’re never winning these wars: America has zero to show for its decades of bloodshed in the Middle East

That was at the height of the Vietnam antiwar movement and the song, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, became something of a sensation. Even so many years later, who could forget its famed chorus? “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” Not me. But here’s the strange thing: in a way its authors and singer could hardly have imagined, in a way we still can’t quite absorb, that chorus has proven eerily prophetic — in fact, accurate beyond measure in the most literal possible sense. Unless, of course, you consider an expanding series of failed states, spreading terror movements, wrecked cities, countries hemorrhaging refugees, and the like as accomplishments.

Of all forms of American military might in this period, none may have been more destructive or less effective than air power. An Arms Race of One Has War Outlived Its Usefulness?