Foreign Policy & War

World War I and the Great Departure, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 During World War 1, the persecution of Germans in American society was so pronounced that Germans were forced to abandon their language and customs, at least in public. German books were burned outside numerous libraries, while Beethoven was banned from symphonic repertories. The atmosphere was such that Germans hid the fact they were German ... [click for more]

Conserving and Destroying

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In my thesaurus, "conserve" and "destroy" are antonyms. Why is it, then, that so any conservatives seem to relish war? I have known conservatives who have joked pleasantly about "nuking the chinks" or flattening Tehran. Jokes are jokes, but some conservatives took an actual delight in the Gulf War; there was some loose talk of bombing, and even nuking, ... [click for more]

Dresden: Time to Say We’re Sorry

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As the U.S. Fifth Army inched its way up Italy in 1944, its command constantly pondered which towns should be spared bombardment. Monte Cassino was destroyed. The centers of Rome and Florence were saved. The Pieros of Sansepulcro were reprieved at the last minute (I believe by an art-loving gunner). These decisions were taken out of respect for the ... [click for more]

Killing Noncombatants

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In May 11, 1940, Great Britain made a fateful decision in its approach to fighting the second world war. On that night, eighteen Whitley bombers attacked railway installations in the placid west German province of Westphalia, far from the war front. That forgotten bombing raid, which in itself was inconsequential, has been called "the first deliberate breach of the ... [click for more]

The Power to Declare War — Who Speaks for the Constitution? Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The favorite justification for presidents unilaterally wandering off to war around the globe seems to be: everyone else does it. Proponents of executive war-making contend that ample precedents — two hundred or more troop deployments without congressional approval — exist for the president to act without a congressional declaration. Yet, ... [click for more]

World War I and the Great Departure, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 The fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II has provided an occasion for revisiting the momentous events from 1939 to 1945 that reshaped the world. It may well be that this commemoration will lead to rediscoveries and new appreciation — the way the Bicentennial prompted popular and academic rediscovery of American tradition ... [click for more]

The Vietnam War and the Drug War

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Maybe you have never thought about the similarities between the Vietnam War and the Drug War. You may believe that although the former really was a war, the latter is only called a war. But the recently published memoirs of Robert S. McNamara, defense secretary for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, call to mind many parallels. At ... [click for more]

The Power to Declare War — Who Speaks for the Constitution? Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 What conceivable justification is there for ignoring the Constitution's straightforward requirement regarding the power to declare war? Advocates of expansive executive war power — oddly enough, including some conservatives who claim to believe in a jurisprudence of "original intent" — have come up with a number of reasons to give ... [click for more]
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