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.