Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A BRIEF NOTE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN

As I have observed before in this space, the Viet Nam War nearly destroyed the U. S. military, forcing the generals to end the draft and move to an all volunteer army.  With the threat of conscription removed, the general populace ceased to care very much about foreign military entanglements.  The cloying practice grew up of saying “Thank you for your service” to anyone in uniform.  It thus became politically possible to commit American troops abroad in an endless series of “wars,” the term now used for projections of power around the globe.  Neither Obama then nor Trump now was compelled to explain to “our brave men and women in uniform” exactly why they are being sent in harm’s way, inasmuch as they are all volunteers.  The fact that the United States created and armed the Taliban to fight against the Russians is neither here nor there.  That is the way an imperial power is supposed to operate.

5 comments:

Keith said...

Thanks for reflecting my antipathy to that horrible "thank you for your service" phrase.

I never reject it; people mean well. I spent 3 years in the Marines 1967 - 1969. That insipid phrase, for me, at least, is absurd.

Thanks for your blog!

Cheers

KMC

Alan Nelson said...

At any baseball game and on some airline trips, we are told why troops are engaged. They are "defending our freedom."

Hey Man said...

A similar phrase: "Support our troops." We heard that a lot during the second war in Iraq, and it was typically used to imply that critics of the war were not supportive of the individuals risking their lives. Of course, this got things backward. The lack of support was on the side of those who advocated an obviously unjust war that put those soldiers at serious risk. But it seemed that few people saw it this way.

Jim Westrich said...

I noticed in Boston's Logan airport the welcome signs used in the baggage claim have some sort of "Welcome Troops" as permanent part of the template with the actual group they are welcoming added. I thought this would be ironic for some less militaristic organizations (AFSC?) if they were big enough and meeting in Boston.

This is an example:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DGZ6VY3V0AAOSF0.jpg

Lindsay Hall said...

"That is the way an imperial power is supposed to operate." No, do they not get to be an imperial power in the first place by a certain amount of brutal competence - nowhere evident in US actions in Afghanistan.


Rather, imperial powers often blunder, could do better, eventually over-reach etc. - and once in a while their political process produces a deranged emperor, whom the system serves, or who is overthrown by unconstitutional means of one sort or another (Clapper's efforts are just one such, the efforts of the generals now in charge of the White House, the NSC etc. another...).

Surely, "that is the way they are supposed to operate" is glib. It is possible to make a judgement on their competence in pursuing their interests, and also surely on the value for a wider constituency of their pursuing their interests as they do. Anyone who goes out campaigning at elections accepts that it is possible to do better by deliberate action.