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Introduction

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842[2] – circa 1914[1]) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist.  Hefoight and was severy wonded in the US Civil War. (Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict, Guardian, May 30, 2016)

Some 3.5 million Americans fought in the civil war, out of a population of 31 million. For years the number killed in action was estimated at 620,000, though recent scholarship suggests a significantly higher figure, from a low of 650,000 to a high of 850,000. In any case, it's clear that the vast majority of American families had, as we say these days, skin in the game. The war was real; having loved ones at risk made it real. Many saw battles being fought in their literal backyards. Lincoln himself watched the fighting from the DC ramparts, saw men shot and killed. The lived reality of the thing was so brutally direct that it would be more than 50 years before the US embarked on another major war. To be sure, there was the brief Spanish-American war in 1898, and a three-year native insurgency in the Philippines, and various forays around the Caribbean and Central America, but the trauma of the civil war cut so deep and raw that the generation that fought it was largely cured of war. Our own generation's appetite seems steadily robust even as we approach the 15th anniversary of the AUMF, which, given the circumstances, makes sense. As long as we're cocooned in our comfortable homeland fantasy of war, one can safely predict a long and successful run for the Era of the Chickenhawk

 

Bierce survived his own war, barely. Two weeks after writing to a friend "my turn will come", and one day before his 22nd birthday, he was shot in the head near Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. The sniper's ball broke his skull "like a walnut", penetrating the left temple, fracturing the temporal lobe and doglegging down and around behind his left ear, where it stayed. Head shots in that era were almost always fatal, but Bierce survived not only the initial wound, but an awful two-day train ride on an open flatcar to an army hospital in Chattanooga.

He recovered, more or less. Not the easiest personality to begin with, Bierce showed no appreciable mellowing from his war experience. His life is an ugly litany of feuds, ruptures, lawsuits, friends betrayed or abandoned, epic temper tantrums and equally epic funks. He was a lousy husband – cold, critical, philandering – and essentially abandoned his wife after 17 years of marriage. His older son shot himself dead at age 16, and the younger drank himself to death in his 20s; for his own part, Bierce maintained a lifelong obsession with suicide. In October 1913, after a distinguished, contentious 50-year career that had made him one of the most famous and hated men in America, Bierce left Washington DC and headed for Mexico, intending to join, or report on – it was never quite clear – Pancho Villa's revolutionary army. En route, dressing every day entirely in black, he paid final visits to the battlefields of his youth, hiking for miles in the Indian summer heat around Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, Hell's Half-Acre. For one whole day at Shiloh he sat by himself in the blazing sun. In November he crossed from Laredo into Mexico, and was never heard from again, an exit dramatic enough to inspire a bestselling novel by Carlos Fuentes, The Old Gringo, and a movie adaptation of the same name starring Gregory Peck.

Late in life, Bierce described his military service in these terms:

It was once my fortune to command a company of soldiers – real soldiers. Not professional life-long fighters, the product of European militarism – just plain, ordinary American volunteer soldiers, who loved their country and fought for it with never a thought of grabbing it for themselves; that is a trick which the survivors were taught later by gentlemen desiring their votes.

About those gentlemen – and women – desiring votes: since when did it become not just acceptable but required for politicians to hold forth on Memorial Day? Who gave them permission to speak for the violently dead? Come Monday we'll be up to our ears in some of the emptiest, most self-serving dreck ever to ripple the atmosphere, the standard war-fantasy talk of American politics along with televangelist-style purlings about heroes, freedoms, the supreme sacrifice. Trump will tell us how much he loves the veterans, and how much they love him back. Down-ticket pols will re-terrorize and titillate voters with tough talk about Isis. Hemingway, for one, had no use for this kind of guff, as shown in a famous passage from A Farewell to Arms:

There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of the places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.

He wrote the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and compiled a satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary. Many quotes from The Devil's Dictionary became common saying in English language. For example:

His vehemence as a critic, his motto "Nothing matters", and the sardonic view of human nature that informed his work, all earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce".[3]

Despite his reputation as a searing critic, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. His style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events and the theme of war.

In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, he disappeared without a trace.

Among the most famous works that he wrote is Devil's Dictionary

The Devil’s Dictionary, penned by Ambrose Bierce, was first begun as a weekly addition to the satire column of a prestigious and pedantic business newspaper in San Francisco, called simply the “News letter.” The paper was mainly intended for the male business class, white collar banker class men, but the paper had one section dedicated entirely to satire. This was Ambrose Bierce’s page, called “The Town Crier”and because he usually wrote with a sort of black humour without any sense of self-censorship, he was known as San Francisco’s “laughing devil”. One day, while reviewing his copy of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, Ambrose thought to himself how interesting it might have been had Noah Webster instead employed a sense of humour while writing the dictionary. Many of the definitions found in the Devil’s Dictionary include pieces of sarcastic poetry affixed, or as the sole definition.

This inspired him to write a comic dictionary, and he used his area of the Town Crier to begin explaining certain words he thought could use a better definitive description. Some of my particular favorites can be found on a separate page of examples from the Dictionary. His first “edition” of the Dictionary, was actually an application to return to writing at his original post for the San Francisco News Letter, after he returned from London. He sent forty-eight words in, each with a new definition, and instead called it The Demon’s Dictionary. This was received apparently good naturedly, and he returned to his post, despite his resignation three years prior. He actually had forgotten the origin forty-eight words, but they were collected later and included with the original book in 1967, then published as the “Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary. The Devil’s Dictionary collected and published first as a book in 1906.

Selected entries from the Devil’s Dictionary

ABASEMENT, n. A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence of wealth or power. Peculiarly appropriate in an employee when addressing an employer.

ABDICATION, n. An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of the high temperature of the throne.

ABILITY, n. The natural equipment to accomplish some small part of the meaner ambitions distinguishing able men from dead ones. In the last analysis ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality is rightly appraised; it is no easy task to be solemn.

ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested. Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward the straiter resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself. Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death and the hope of Hell.

BAAL, n. An old deity formerly much worshiped under various names. As Baal he was popular with the Phoenicians; as Belus or Bel he had the honor to be served by the priest Berosus, who wrote the famous account of the Deluge; as Babel he had a tower partly erected to his glory on the Plain of Shinar. From Babel comes our English word “babble.” Under whatever name worshiped, Baal is the Sun-god. As Beelzebub he is the god of flies, which are begotten of the sun’s rays on the stagnant water. In Physicia Baal is still worshiped as Bolus, and as Belly he is adored and served with abundant sacrifice by the priests of Guttledom.

BACCHUS, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.

BACKBITE, v.t. To speak of a man as you find him when he can’t find you.

BAPTISM, n. A sacred rite of such efficacy that he who finds himself in heaven without having undergone it will be unhappy forever. It is performed with water in two ways — by immersion, or plunging, and by aspersion, or sprinkling.

BARRACK, n. A house in which soldiers enjoy a portion of that of which it is their business to deprive others.

BRIDE: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

CALAMITY, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.

CALUMNUS, n. A graduate of the School for Scandal.

CANNIBAL, n. A gastronome of the old school who preserves the simple tastes and adheres to the natural diet of the pre-pork period.

CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

COWARD: One who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs

DAMN, v. A word formerly much used by the Paphlagonians, the meaning of which is lost. By the learned Dr. Dolabelly Gak it is believed to have been a term of satisfaction, implying the highest possible degree of mental tranquillity. Professor Groke, on the contrary, thinks it expressed an emotion of tumultuous delight, because it so frequently occurs in combination with the word jod or god, meaning “joy.” It would be with great diffidence that I should advance an opinion conflicting with that of either of these formidable authorities.

DAY, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper — the former devoted to sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. These two kinds of social activity overlap.

DEBAUCHEE, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.

EAVESDROP, v.i. Secretly to overhear a catalogue of the crimes and vices of another or yourself.

EDIBLE, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.

Education, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

EFFECT, n. The second of two phenomena which always occur together in the same order. The first, called a Cause, is said to generate the other — which is no more sensible than it would be for one who has never seen a dog except in the pursuit of a rabbit to declare the rabbit the cause of a dog.

FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

FELON, n. A person of greater enterprise than discretion, who in embracing an opportunity has formed an unfortunate attachment.

FIDELITY, n. A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.

FORCE, n.

“Force is but might,” the teacher said —
“That definition’s just.”
The boy said naught but through instead,
Remembering his pounded head:
“Force is not might but must!”

GALLOWS, n. A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven. In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who escape it.

GARTHER, n. An elastic band intended to keep a woman from coming out of her stockings and desolating the country.

GENEROUS, adj. Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great multitude of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest.

HAND, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody’s pocket.

HANGMAN, n. An officer of the law charged with duties of the highest dignity and utmost gravity, and held in hereditary disesteem by a populace having a criminal ancestry. In some of the American States his functions are now performed by an electrician, as in New Jersey, where executions by electricity have recently been ordered — the first instance known to this lexicographer of anybody questioning the expediency of hanging Jerseymen.

HISTORY, an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

IDIOT, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot’s activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but “pervades and regulates the whole.” He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.

IGNORAMUS, n. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.

IMAGINATION, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.

JEALOUS, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.

JUSTICE, n. A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

KILL, v.t. To create a vacancy without nominating a successor.

KINDNESS, n. A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.

KLEPTOMANIAC, n. A rich thief.

LABOR, n. One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.

LANGUAGE, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another’s treasure.

LIAR, n. A lawyer with a roving commission.

MALE, n. A member of the unconsidered, or negligible sex. The male of the human race is commonly known (to the female) as Mere Man. The genus has two varieties: good providers and bad providers.

MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

MARTYR, n. One who moves along the line of least reluctance to a desired death.

MISFORTUNE, n. The kind of fortune that never misses.

NEIGHBOR, n. One whom we are commanded to love as ourselves, and who does all he knows how to make us disobedient.

NOISE, n. A stench in the ear. Undomesticated music. The chief product and authenticating sign of civilization.

OATH, n. In law, a solemn appeal to the Deity, made binding upon the conscience by a penalty for perjury.

OCCIDENT, n. The part of the world lying west (or east) of the Orient. It is largely inhabited by Christians, a powerful subtribe of the Hypocrites, whose principal industries are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call “war” and “commerce.” These, also, are the principal industries of the Orient.

ONCE, adv. Enough.

PAIN, n. An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.

PALACE, n. A fine and costly residence, particularly that of a great official. The residence of a high dignitary of the Christian Church is called a palace; that of the Founder of his religion was known as a field, or wayside. There is progress.

PARDON, v. To remit a penalty and restore to the life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude.

QUEEN, n. A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is not.

QUILL, n. An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass. This use of the quill is now obsolete, but its modern equivalent, the steel pen, is wielded by the same everlasting Presence.

RABBLE, n. In a republic, those who exercise a supreme authority tempered by fraudulent elections. The rabble is like the sacred Simurgh, of Arabian fable — omnipotent on condition that it do nothing. (The word is Aristocratese, and has no exact equivalent in our tongue, but means, as nearly as may be, “soaring swine.”)

RADICALISM, n. The conservatism of to-morrow injected into the affairs of to-day.

RAILROAD, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.

SACRED, adj. Dedicated to some religious purpose; having a divine character; inspiring solemn thoughts or emotions; as, the Dalai Lama of Thibet; the Moogum of M’bwango; the temple of Apes in Ceylon; the Cow in India; the Crocodile, the Cat and the Onion of ancient Egypt; the Mufti of Moosh; the hair of the dog that bit Noah, etc.

SAINT, n. A dead sinner revised and edited.

SALAMANDER, n. Originally a reptile inhabiting fire; later, an anthropomorphous immortal, but still a pyrophile. Salamanders are now believed to be extinct, the last one of which we have an account having been seen in Carcassonne by the Abbe Belloc, who exorcised it with a bucket of holy water.

TARIFF, n. A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer.

TRUST, n. In American politics, a large corporation composed in greater part of thrifty working men, widows of small means, orphans in the care of guardians and the courts, with many similar malefactors and public enemies.

TZETZE (or TSETSE) FLY, n. An African insect (Glossina morsitans) whose bite is commonly regarded as nature’s most efficacious remedy for insomnia, though some patients prefer that of the American novelist (Mendax interminabilis).

UGLINESS, n. A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue without humility.

UXORIOUSNESS, n. A perverted affection that has strayed to one’s own wife.

VALOR, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler’s hope.

VANITY, n. The tribute of a fool to the worth of the nearest ass.

VOTE, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

WALL STREET, n. A symbol for sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven. Even the great and good Andrew Carnegie has made his profession of faith in the matter.

WIDOW, n. A pathetic figure that the Christian world has agreed to take humorously, although Christ’s tenderness towards widows was one of the most marked features of his character.

WORMS’ MEAT, n. The finished product of which we are the raw material.

X in our alphabet being a needless letter has an added invincibility to the attacks of the spelling reformers, and like them, will doubtless last as long as the language. X is the sacred symbol of ten dollars, and in such words as Xmas, Xn, etc., stands for Christ, not, as is popular supposed, because it represents a cross, but because the corresponding letter in the Greek alphabet is the initial of his name — Xristos. If it represented a cross it would stand for St. Andrew, who “testified” upon one of that shape. In the algebra of psychology x stands for Woman’s mind. Words beginning with X are Grecian and will not be defined in this standard English dictionary.’

YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)

YEAR, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.

YOKE, n. An implement, madam, to whose Latin name, jugum, we owe one of the most illuminating words in our language — a word that defines the matrimonial situation with precision, point and poignancy. A thousand apologies for withholding it.

ZEAL, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.

Other Literary Works By Ambrose Bierce

Despite the notoriety of The Devil’s Dictionary, most of Ambrose Bierce’s many other literary works have fallen into obscurity. However, there does exist a seven volume set of his work, if you decide to go snooping around on eBay or Amazon. The seventh volume consists solely of The Devil’s Dictionary. He was notable for his accomplishments in fiction and journalism, he also published several volumes and verses of poetry.

Books:
The Fiend’s Delight (1873)

Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (1874)

The Dance of Death (with Thomas A. Harcourt and William Rulofson, as William Herman) (1877)

Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also known as In the Midst of Life) (1891)

Black Beetles in Amber (1892)

The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter (1892)

Can Such Things Be? (1893)

Fantastic Fables (1899)

The shadow on the dial, and other essays (1909)

The Devil’s Dictionary (1911) (first published in book form as The Cynic’s Wordbook, 1906)

Collected Works (1909)

Write It Right (1909)

A Horseman in the Sky, A Watcher by the Dead, The Man and the Snake (1920)??

A Vision of Doom: Poems by Ambrose Bierce (1980)

Short Stories:

The Haunted Valley (1871)
An Inhabitant of Carcosa (1887)
One of the Missing (1888)
The Boarded Window (1891)
Chickamauga (1891)
The Eyes of the Panther (1891)
Haita the Shepherd (1891)
The Man and the Snake (1891)
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot (1891)
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1891)
The Suitable Surroundings (1891)
A Tough Tussle (1891)
A Watcher by the Dead (1891)
An Adventure at Brownville (1893)
A Baby Tramp (1893)
Bodies of the Dead (1893)
The Death of Halpin Frayser (1893)
The Famous Gilson Bequest (1893)
John Bartine’s Watch (1893)
The Night-Doings at ‘Deadman’s’ (1893)
A Psychological Shipwreck (1893)
The Realm of the Unreal (1893)
The Secret of Macarger’s Gulch (1893)
The Damned Thing (1894)
A Vine on a House (1905)
The Moonlit Road (1907)
The time, The moon fought back (1911)
Beyond the Wall (1909)
A Diagnosis of Death (1909)
A Jug of Syrup (1909)
Moxon’s Master (1909)
Staley Fleming’s Hallucination (1909)
The Stranger (1909)
The Way of Ghosts (1909)
The Affair at Coulter’s Notch
An Affair of Outposts
The Applicant
The Baptism of Dobsho
A Bottomless Grave
The City of the Gone Away
The Coup de Grace
Curried Cow
The Failure of Hope and Wandel
George Thurston
A Holy Terror
A Horseman in the Sky
The Hypnotist
An Imperfect Conflagration
The Ingenious Patriot
John Mortonson’s Funeral
Jupiter Doke, Brigadier-General
Killed at Resaca
A Lady from Redhorse
The Little Story
The Major’s Tale
The Man Out of the Nose
The Mocking-Bird
The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter
Mr Swiddler’s Flip-Flap
My Favourite Murder
Mysterious Disappearances
Oil of Dog
One Kind of Officer
One of Twins
One Officer, One Man
One Summer Night
Parker Adderson, Philosopher
Perry Chumly’s Eclipse
A Providential Intimation
The Race at Left Bower
A Resumed Identity
A Revolt of the Gods
Some Haunted Houses
A Son of the Gods
The Story of a Conscience
The Tail of the Sphinx
Visions of the Night
The Widower Turmore
An Arrest
Revenge


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Old News ;-)

[May 30, 2016] Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict

Wrapped in the flag neocon bottom feeders like Hillary (and quite possibly Trump, although this article is from Guardian which is a fiercely pro-Clinton rag) might eventually destroy this nice country.
Notable quotes:
"... the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing. ..."
"... Maybe they get away with it because we the people who keep voting them into office don't know anything about war ourselves. ..."
"... As long as we're cocooned in our comfortable homeland fantasy of war, one can safely predict a long and successful run for the Era of the Chickenhawk ..."
"... The author, like most Americans, is in denial about America's role in the world. The reason the US spends more on defense than the next 12 countries has nothing to do with self-defense. America wants to maintain its global military dominance. Both parties agree on this. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the war's purpose was to demonstrate American military power. Bill Kristol takes this a stage further and wants America to play the role of global hegemon and be in a state of constant war. This is a stupid idea. ..."
"... It is a simple an obvious fact that the people most eager to see the US go to war, in every generation, are not the people who will suffer and die in those wars. Today is our Memorial Day. This is an article suggesting we, as Americans, stop and think about the people who were wounded and those who died in service to our country. Set aside your partisan rage and consider those people and their deaths, before you listen to words from any politician calling for more of those deaths. ..."
"... And the hypocrisy of all this is how Hillary Clinton doesn't have a problem with war. She participated in toppling Libya and she was doing the same to Syria. So how is it all about Trump and what a war monger he is? ..."
"... The corporations that sell war materiel actively push their products, ensure the support of the government through political contributions, and engage in blackmail by spreading out manufacturing over many locations. In this manner, the only way to profit is by selling weapons, killing more people. What state or city will want to lose employment by letting a manufacturer close? It is incredibly difficult to close an un-needed military base for the same reason, whether here or abroad. War is a great racket, the US has it down pat. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton has started more wars, caused more death than Donald Trump....and yet....you don't mention that do you "We came, He died, We Laughed" ..."
"... Unfortunately we're in a position where the United States is a debtor nation, and the easiest way to keep the house of cards from falling is to maintain "full spectrum dominance" in the words of the Pentagon. There's no easy way to unwind this situation. It is, however, absolutely crucial to keep a known psychopath like Clinton out of the command chair. ..."
"... When congress votes to fund wars then [they need to] add 75% more for after care. As a combat veteran it pisses me off that [instead] charities are used to care for us. Most are run by want a be military, Senease, types. No charities, it's up to American people to pay every penny for our care, they voted for the war mongers so, so pay up people. Citizens need to know true costs, tax raises, cuts in SS , welfare, cuts in schools. Biggest thing, all elected officials and families and those work for them must use VA hospitals, let's see how that works out. ..."
"... we insulate ourselves in a nice, warm cocoon of "Support Our Veterans" slogans and flag waving. ..."
"... "Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict " How about Hillary and the fantasy of war, PERIOD. There hasn't been a war she didn't like. Did you listen to her AIPAC speech? No 2 State solution there. ..."
"... So easy to be the hero in your wet dreams, your shooter games, your securely located war rooms stocked with emergency rations and the external defibrillator. This sort of unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing. ..."
"... It is actually NOT Donald Trump who is advocating the endless global conflict and confrontation with Russia, China, India, Iran, Europe and North Korea. The candidate secretly advocating a never-ending war with the rest of the world is -- Madame Secretary, Hillary Clinton, in person. Aided and abetted - publicly - by her right-hand woman, another Madame Secretary, Madeleine Albright and yet another Madame Undersecretary, Samantha Power. All chicken hawks, all neoconservatives, all pseudo-democrats, all on Wall Street payroll, all white, and all women who will never see a second of combat for the rest of their lives. ..."
"... So, the very major premise of the article is flawed and unsustainable. Which, of course, then makes the entire article collapse as false and misleading. ..."
"... John Mearsheimer who is a history professor at the University of Chicago wrote a great book about American foreign policy. Mearsheimer explains how American foreign policy has developed over the centuries. He argues that it firs objective was to dominate the Western Hemisphere before extending its reach to Asia and Europe. The War of 1812 and the Monroe Doctrine was part of a plan to dominate the Americas. The U.S. stopped Japan and Germany dominating Asia and Europe in the 20th century. The U.S. continued to view the British Empire as its greatest threat and Roosevelt set about dismantling it during WW2. Once WW2 was won, the Soviet Union became America's new adversary and it maintained forces in Europe to check Soviet expansion. ..."
"... Mearsheimer argues that the U.S. is often in denial about its behavior and Americans are taught that the U.S. is altruistic and a force for good in the world. Measheimer states that "idealist rhetoric provided a proper mask for the brutal policies that underpinned the tremendous growth of American power." In 1991 the U.S. became the world's only super-power and according to Mearsheimer its main foreign policy objective was to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. ..."
"... Mearsheimer claims that America's foreign policy elite is still largely made up of people who want to keep America on top, but these days they usually prefer to keep their views under wraps. ..."
"... Trump is the only candidate I've ever heard question the cost of war, it's part of the reason he said we should flush NATO and we can't police the world for free any longer. ..."
"... I have no problem with destroying ISIS. I have a problem with fighting Russia over every former Soviet state on their doorstep ala Madam Secretary. The best way to remember the war dead is to work to ensure that their ranks do not swell. ..."
May 28, 2016 | theguardian.com

As America marks Memorial Day, politicians should spare us the saber-rattling and reserve some space for silence

... ... ...

The times are such that fantasy war-mongering is solidly mainstream. We've seen candidates call for a new campaign of "shock and awe" (Kasich), for carpet-bombing and making the desert glow (Cruz), for "bomb[ing] the shit out of them" (Trump), for waterboarding "and a hell of a lot worse" (Trump again), and for pre-emptive strikes and massive troop deployments (Jeb). One candidate purchased a handgun as "the last line of defense between Isis and my family" (Rubio), and the likely Democratic nominee includes "the nail-eaters – McChrystal, Petraeus, Keane" among her preferred military advisers, and supports "intensification and acceleration" of US military efforts in Iraq and Syria. Yes, America has many enemies who heartily hate our guts and would do us every harm they're able to inflict, but the failures of hard power over the past 15 years seem utterly lost on our political class. After the Paris attacks last December, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard suggested that a force of 50,000 US troops deployed to Syria, supported by air power, would crush Isis in short order, leading to the liberation of Fallujah, Mosul, and other Isis strongholds. "I don't think there's much in the way of unanticipated side-effects that are going to be bad there," opined Kristol – funny guy! – who back in 2002 said that removing Saddam Hussein "could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy".

... ... ...

"A night of waking," as Bierce tersely described it years later. The sheer volume and accuracy of ordnance made this a new kind of war, a machine for pulping acres of human flesh. Regardless of who was winning or losing, shock-and-awe was the common experience of both sides; Confederate and Union soldiers alike could hardly believe the things they were doing and having done to them, and when Bierce turned to the writer's trade after the war, some fundamental rigor or just plain contrariness wouldn't let him portray his war in conventionally heroic terms. In his hands, sentimentality and melodrama became foils for twisted jokes. Glory was ambiguous at best, a stale notion that barely hinted at the suicidal nature of valor in this kind of war. A wicked gift for honesty served up the eternal clash between duty and the survival instinct, as when, early in the war, Bierce and his fellow rookies come across a group of Union dead:

How repulsive they looked with their blood-smears, their blank, staring eyes, their teeth uncovered by contraction of the lips! The frost had begun already to whiten their deranged clothing. We were as patriotic as ever, but we did not wish to be that way.

... ... ...

Black humor sits alongside mordantly cool accounts of battles, wounds, horrors, absurd and tragic turns of luck. There are lots of ghosts in Bierce's work, a menagerie of spirits and bugaboos as well as hauntings of the more prosaic sort, people detached in one way or another from themselves – amnesiacs, hallucinators, somnambulists, time trippers. People missing some part of their souls. Often Bierce writes of the fatal, or nearly so, shock, the twist that flips conventional wisdom on its back and shows reality to be much darker and crueler than we want to believe. It's hard not to read the war into much of Bierce's writing, even when the subject is ostensibly otherwise. He was the first American writer of note to experience modern warfare, war as mass-produced death, and the first to try for words that would be true to the experience. He charted this new terrain, and it's in Bierce that we find the original experience that all subsequent American war writers would grapple with. Hemingway and Dos Passos in the first world war; Mailer, Heller, Jones and Vonnegut in the second world war; O'Brien, Herr and Marlantes in Vietnam: they're all heritors of Bierce.

It's not decorative, what these writers were going for. They weren't trying to write fancy, or entertain, or preach a sermon; they weren't writing to serve a political cause, at least not in any immediate sense. One suspects that on some level they didn't have a choice, as if they realized they would never know any peace in themselves unless they found a way of writing that, if it couldn't make sense of their war, at least respected it. Words that represented the experience for what it was, without illusion or fantasy. Words that would resist the eternal American genius for cheapening and dumbing down.

.... ... ...

...unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing.

Maybe they get away with it because we the people who keep voting them into office don't know anything about war ourselves. We know the fantasy version, the movie version, but only that 1% of the nation – and their families – who have fought the wars truly know the hardship involved. For the rest of us, no sacrifice has been called for: none. No draft. No war tax (but huge deficits), and here it bears noting that the top tax rate during the second world war was 90%. No rationing, the very mention of which is good for a laugh. Rationing? That was never part of the discussion. But those years when US soldiers were piling sandbags into their thin-skinned Humvees and welding scrap metal on to the sides also happened to coincide with the heyday of the Hummer here at home. Where I live in Dallas, you couldn't drive a couple of blocks without passing one of those beasts, 8,600 hulking pounds of chrome and steel. Or for a really good laugh, how about this: gas rationing. If it's really about the oil, we could support the troops by driving less, walking more. Or suppose it's not about the oil at all, but about our freedoms, our values, our very way of life – that it's truly "a clash of civilizations", in the words of Senator Rubio. If that's the case, if this is what we truly believe, then our politicians should call for, and we should accept no less than, full-scale mobilization: a draft, confiscatory tax rates, rationing.

Some 3.5 million Americans fought in the civil war, out of a population of 31 million. For years the number killed in action was estimated at 620,000, though recent scholarship suggests a significantly higher figure, from a low of 650,000 to a high of 850,000. In any case, it's clear that the vast majority of American families had, as we say these days, skin in the game. The war was real; having loved ones at risk made it real. Many saw battles being fought in their literal backyards. Lincoln himself watched the fighting from the DC ramparts, saw men shot and killed. The lived reality of the thing was so brutally direct that it would be more than 50 years before the US embarked on another major war. To be sure, there was the brief Spanish-American war in 1898, and a three-year native insurgency in the Philippines, and various forays around the Caribbean and Central America, but the trauma of the civil war cut so deep and raw that the generation that fought it was largely cured of war. Our own generation's appetite seems steadily robust even as we approach the 15th anniversary of the AUMF, which, given the circumstances, makes sense. As long as we're cocooned in our comfortable homeland fantasy of war, one can safely predict a long and successful run for the Era of the Chickenhawk

Bierce survived his own war, barely. Two weeks after writing to a friend "my turn will come", and one day before his 22nd birthday, he was shot in the head near Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. The sniper's ball broke his skull "like a walnut", penetrating the left temple, fracturing the temporal lobe and doglegging down and around behind his left ear, where it stayed. Head shots in that era were almost always fatal, but Bierce survived not only the initial wound, but an awful two-day train ride on an open flatcar to an army hospital in Chattanooga.

He recovered, more or less. Not the easiest personality to begin with, Bierce showed no appreciable mellowing from his war experience. His life is an ugly litany of feuds, ruptures, lawsuits, friends betrayed or abandoned, epic temper tantrums and equally epic funks. He was a lousy husband – cold, critical, philandering – and essentially abandoned his wife after 17 years of marriage. His older son shot himself dead at age 16, and the younger drank himself to death in his 20s; for his own part, Bierce maintained a lifelong obsession with suicide. In October 1913, after a distinguished, contentious 50-year career that had made him one of the most famous and hated men in America, Bierce left Washington DC and headed for Mexico, intending to join, or report on – it was never quite clear – Pancho Villa's revolutionary army. En route, dressing every day entirely in black, he paid final visits to the battlefields of his youth, hiking for miles in the Indian summer heat around Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, Hell's Half-Acre. For one whole day at Shiloh he sat by himself in the blazing sun. In November he crossed from Laredo into Mexico, and was never heard from again, an exit dramatic enough to inspire a bestselling novel by Carlos Fuentes, The Old Gringo, and a movie adaptation of the same name starring Gregory Peck.

Late in life, Bierce described his military service in these terms:

It was once my fortune to command a company of soldiers – real soldiers. Not professional life-long fighters, the product of European militarism – just plain, ordinary American volunteer soldiers, who loved their country and fought for it with never a thought of grabbing it for themselves; that is a trick which the survivors were taught later by gentlemen desiring their votes.

About those gentlemen – and women – desiring votes: since when did it become not just acceptable but required for politicians to hold forth on Memorial Day? Who gave them permission to speak for the violently dead? Come Monday we'll be up to our ears in some of the emptiest, most self-serving dreck ever to ripple the atmosphere, the standard war-fantasy talk of American politics along with televangelist-style purlings about heroes, freedoms, the supreme sacrifice. Trump will tell us how much he loves the veterans, and how much they love him back. Down-ticket pols will re-terrorize and titillate voters with tough talk about Isis. Hemingway, for one, had no use for this kind of guff, as shown in a famous passage from A Farewell to Arms:

There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of the places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.
caravanserai , 2016-05-31 01:46:32
The author, like most Americans, is in denial about America's role in the world. The reason the US spends more on defense than the next 12 countries has nothing to do with self-defense. America wants to maintain its global military dominance. Both parties agree on this. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the war's purpose was to demonstrate American military power. Bill Kristol takes this a stage further and wants America to play the role of global hegemon and be in a state of constant war. This is a stupid idea.

Even if Saddam had WMDs, he still had nothing to do with 9/11. The politicians are very good at finding new scapegoats and switching the blame. A bunch of Saudis attacked the US on 9/11 so invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Bin Laden moves to Pakistan so pretend you don't know where he is. Some European terrorists kill other Europeans so Hillary wants to invade Syria. The assumption seems to be that all Muslims are the same, it does not matter where you kill them.

JohnManyjars , 2016-05-31 01:12:38
Fantastic writing...shame Murika won't listen to any of it.

charlieblue

Reading the comments and conversations below, I found myself sickened and saddened by how many of my fellow Americans can read a considered and well written article like this and imagine it is a partisan screed.

It is a simple an obvious fact that the people most eager to see the US go to war, in every generation, are not the people who will suffer and die in those wars. Today is our Memorial Day. This is an article suggesting we, as Americans, stop and think about the people who were wounded and those who died in service to our country. Set aside your partisan rage and consider those people and their deaths, before you listen to words from any politician calling for more of those deaths.

lattimote, 2016-05-30T13:08:53Z
"Endless war," but it's not only attacks against other nations, it's a war against civil liberties thus leading to a state in which, whistle blowers, folks who poke holes in the government's 911 theory or complain about military operations in the China Sea may be considered unpatriotic, maybe worse.
Dubikau
A friend recently asked, "What's the big deal about wars? I'v seen them on TV lots of times. They have nothing to do with me." Alas, a generation or two after a devastating conflict, it seems people forget. The lessons of history are unknown or irrelevant to the ignorant, the horror beyond imagination. That the clown, Trump, has made it this far is a living horror movie. As Emerson said about someone:

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."

He's a liar and a joke. Neither friends nor enemies can take him seriously and he is unpredictable.

Bellanova Nova
Excellent article.

We must start talking seriously about Trump's pathology guarantees conflict and chaos, and should he get elected, an escalation of an endless war. The ramifications of his incurable and uncontrollable character defect in a political leader are dire and people should be educated about them before it's too late: https://medium.com/@Elamika/the-unbearable-lightness-of-being-a-narcissist-251ec901dae7#.xywh6cceu

Philip Lundt
As a veteran I have to ask you Ben: who gave you "permission to speak for the violently dead?"

A lot of people love Donald Trump. It's not because they are racists warmongers, ignorant, misinformed or stupid. Veterans overwhelmingly support Donald trump. Go ahead call us racists and warmongers too.

And the hypocrisy of all this is how Hillary Clinton doesn't have a problem with war. She participated in toppling Libya and she was doing the same to Syria. So how is it all about Trump and what a war monger he is?

villas1
Bravo. War is a racket.
olman132 -> villas1
As practiced in the US, certainly. The corporations that sell war materiel actively push their products, ensure the support of the government through political contributions, and engage in blackmail by spreading out manufacturing over many locations. In this manner, the only way to profit is by selling weapons, killing more people. What state or city will want to lose employment by letting a manufacturer close? It is incredibly difficult to close an un-needed military base for the same reason, whether here or abroad. War is a great racket, the US has it down pat.
Jim Given
When your'e putting your life at risk in a war zone wondering if you're going to make it back home, there's damned little discussion about politics. Whatever your reasons might have been for signing on the dotted line, all that matters then is the sailor, soldier, marine or airman standing beside you. It's discouraging, although painfully predictable, to read so few comments about veterans and so many comments about divisive politics.
Mshand
Hillary Clinton has started more wars, caused more death than Donald Trump....and yet....you don't mention that do you "We came, He died, We Laughed"
USApatriot12
Unfortunately we're in a position where the United States is a debtor nation, and the easiest way to keep the house of cards from falling is to maintain "full spectrum dominance" in the words of the Pentagon. There's no easy way to unwind this situation. It is, however, absolutely crucial to keep a known psychopath like Clinton out of the command chair.

talenttruth

For over 30 years, Americans have been carefully "programmed" 24/7, by deliberate Fear / Fear / Fear propaganda, so we would believe that the entire world is full of evil, maniacal enemies out to "get us."

Of course there always ARE insane haters out there, who are either jealous of America's wealth, or who (more sophisticated than that) resent America's attempt to colonize-by-marketing, the entire world for its unchecked capitalism. Two sides of the same American "coin." Those who are conscripting jobless, hopeless young men overseas to be part of an equally mad "fundamentalist" army against America ~ benefit hugely FROM our militarism, which "proves their point," from their warped perspective.

Thus do the (tiny minority) of crazy America-haters out there (who we help create WITH our militarism), serve as ongoing Perfectly Plausible Proof for Paranoia ~ the fuel for 24/7 fear/fear/fear propaganda. And who benefits from that propaganda? Oh wait, let us all think on that. For five seconds.

In 1959, Republican war hero and President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us against combining the incentives of capitalism with the un-audited profitability of wars: the "military industrial complex." But in we Americans' orgy of personal materialism since the 1960's, we all forgot his warning and have let that "complex" take over the nation, the world, all our pocketbooks (53% or more of our treasury now goes to "defense" ~ what a lying word THAT is).

Answer? It it the 1-percent, crazily Wealth Hoarder super-rich who (a) profit insanely from Eternal War and who now own (b) America's so-called "free press" (ha ha), the latter of which now slants all news towards Threat, Fear, and War, again, 24/7. And now that "their" Nazi Supreme Court has ruled that "money" = free speech, that same of sociopathic criminal class ALSO is coming to own politics. Welcome to fully blooming Corporate Fascism, folks.

bullypulpit

In his book "1984" George Orwell wrote, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Have we fallen so far that we are living that nightmare without question? When we hear the voices of politicians, with those on the political right being the most egregious offenders, clamoring for war, we must not forget the cost. Not just in terms of treasure, but especially of the blood spilled by our men and women in uniform. Ask, "Are the causes they are being asked to fight...and die...for, worthy of the sacrifice?"

Jim Given -> bullypulpit

I'm afraid that yes, we actually have fallen that far. The Patriot Act is the quintessential example. Who could possibly oppose something called The Patriot Act?

Jim Given -> bullypulpit

The War on Terror, another fine example. What, you oppose fighting terrorists? The language stifles (reasoned) dissent. It's brilliant, really.

Tom Farkas

Every year I get an uncomfortable sensation around Memorial Day. I know why now thanks to this article. I didn't serve in the armed forces. Not for want. I was a post Vietnam teenager. The armed forces were a joke during the Carter years and the US was in the middle of detante with the USSR. Nothing to fight about and the word terrorist was still a few years away from being reinvented. My Dad was a decorated veteran of the police action in Korea. He lost his best friend there. He rarely talked about it. He and I sat on the couch watching the fall of Saigon on TV. He silently cried. It was all for not. All those lives, all that misery, all for nothing but power and glory. He knew it and I've known it since but just couldn't put a finger on it. Thanks for this article.

talenttruth -> Tom Farkas

Tom, what a beautiful post. My husband and I (recently married after we were finally "allowed" to, just like "real people"), are both Vietnam veterans (we had to "hide" in order to serve). And I had majored in college in "U.S. Constitutional History," then worked worked (ironically!) in the advertising "industry" (the Lie Factory) for enough years to see how America, business and our society actually works, INSTEAD of "constitutionally."

My self-preoccupied generation sleepwalked from the 1960's until now, foolishly allowing the super-rich to gradually make nearly every giant corporation dependent on military contracts.

Example? The European Union has openly subsidized its aircraft manufacturer, Airbus. But here, in the USA ~ that would be "socialism," and so Boeing was forced instead (in order to compete) to rely on military contracts ("military welfare.") They're both "government subsidization," but ours is crooked.

So what do we get when all corporations "must have" ongoing Business, in order to keep their insatiable profits rolling in? Eternal War. And its "unfortunate side effects" - maimed veterans, dead soldiers, sailors and airmen, and the revolting hypocrisy of "Memorial Day."

On that day, we pay "respect" to those who died serving the Military Marketing Department for America's totally out of control, unchecked capitalism, which only serves the overlords at the top.

Sorry to sound so grim, but I did not serve my country, to have it thus stolen.

Barclay Reynolds

When congress votes to fund wars then [they need to] add 75% more for after care. As a combat veteran it pisses me off that [instead] charities are used to care for us. Most are run by want a be military, Senease, types. No charities, it's up to American people to pay every penny for our care, they voted for the war mongers so, so pay up people. Citizens need to know true costs, tax raises, cuts in SS , welfare, cuts in schools. Biggest thing, all elected officials and families and those work for them must use VA hospitals, let's see how that works out.

Jim Given -> Barclay Reynolds

Failure to care for our veterans is a national disgrace. Thanks for your service brother.

SusanPrice58 -> Barclay Reynolds

I agree. While I'm sure that most of these charities try to do well, it always makes me angry to think about why the need for charities to care for veterans exists. If we are determined to fight these wars - then every citizen should have to have deep involvement of some sort. Raise taxes, ration oil, watch footage of battles, restore the draft - whatever. Instead, we insulate ourselves in a nice, warm cocoon of "Support Our Veterans" slogans and flag waving.

Tom Wessel

"Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict "

How about Hillary and the fantasy of war, PERIOD. There hasn't been a war she didn't like. Did you listen to her AIPAC speech? No 2 State solution there.

gwpriester
The obscene amount of money the US pays just on the interest on the trillions "borrowed" for the Afghanistan and Iraq adventures would fix most that is wrong with the world. Bush & Cheney discovered if you don't raise taxes, require financial sacrifices, and do not have a draft, that you can wage bogus wars of choice for over a decade without so much as a peep of protest from the public. It is sickening how much good that money could do instead of all the death and destruction it bought.
AllenPitt
"So easy to be the hero in your wet dreams, your shooter games, your securely located war rooms stocked with emergency rations and the external defibrillator. This sort of unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing."

EXACTLY!

OZGODRK

It is actually NOT Donald Trump who is advocating the endless global conflict and confrontation with Russia, China, India, Iran, Europe and North Korea. The candidate secretly advocating a never-ending war with the rest of the world is -- Madame Secretary, Hillary Clinton, in person. Aided and abetted - publicly - by her right-hand woman, another Madame Secretary, Madeleine Albright and yet another Madame Undersecretary, Samantha Power. All chicken hawks, all neoconservatives, all pseudo-democrats, all on Wall Street payroll, all white, and all women who will never see a second of combat for the rest of their lives.

So, the very major premise of the article is flawed and unsustainable. Which, of course, then makes the entire article collapse as false and misleading.

MOZGODRK -> arrggh

But you are missing the entire point. Trump is NOT advocating the conflict; he is advocating that we TALK to our enemies, so his lack of combat experience is a moot point.

On the other hand, the Clintons, the Alzhe...er, Albright, and the Samantha Power-Tripp are all totally kosher with sending millions to die, knowing that they themselves will not experience a nanosecond of hot cognitive experience.

caravanserai

John Mearsheimer who is a history professor at the University of Chicago wrote a great book about American foreign policy. Mearsheimer explains how American foreign policy has developed over the centuries. He argues that it firs objective was to dominate the Western Hemisphere before extending its reach to Asia and Europe. The War of 1812 and the Monroe Doctrine was part of a plan to dominate the Americas. The U.S. stopped Japan and Germany dominating Asia and Europe in the 20th century. The U.S. continued to view the British Empire as its greatest threat and Roosevelt set about dismantling it during WW2. Once WW2 was won, the Soviet Union became America's new adversary and it maintained forces in Europe to check Soviet expansion.

Mearsheimer argues that the U.S. is often in denial about its behavior and Americans are taught that the U.S. is altruistic and a force for good in the world. Measheimer states that "idealist rhetoric provided a proper mask for the brutal policies that underpinned the tremendous growth of American power." In 1991 the U.S. became the world's only super-power and according to Mearsheimer its main foreign policy objective was to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. Following the difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the U.S. is less certain of its global role. Mearsheimer claims that America's foreign policy elite is still largely made up of people who want to keep America on top, but these days they usually prefer to keep their views under wraps. Trump seems to be proposing something completely different.

Rescue caravanserai
Trump is not proposing anything different. His foreign policy is the same as the establishment. He is not anti-war, nor more hawkish than Obama or Clinton. Trumps FP is unilateral i.e. The US will go it alone without the UN or anyone else, attack any country he feels is threatning, without paying attention to intl. law, or "political correctness" as he calls it, i.e. the US will kill and torture as many ppl as it feels like to feel safe, and pay no attention to the Geneva Conventions. Other statements about his intended FP, that the msm calls shocking, has already been done, i.e. bomb the crap out of people, kill families of terrorists, waterboarding and much worse. These have been common policies since 9/11 & before. Another policy is to steal Iraq's oil. This has been de facto US FP in the Middle East since Eisenhower. The difference is that Trump says it outright. He makes subtext into the text.
Falanx
I agree with the overall point of this article... but focusing on the GOP and Trump, detracts from its otherwise valid points. What about Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Clinton, Obama and Hillary? Especially Hillary ("We came, We saw, He died") who evidently considers herself a latter day Caesar. The plain fact is that the US was conceived as a warmongering nation. Everyone else in the world understands this.
DanInTheDesert
Wow. What a fantastic article . This is what we need in the era of twitter journalism -- a long think piece. Thank you.[*]

Having said that I have disagree with the conclusion -- we have just a little over a week to avoid a forced choice between two hawks. The chances are slim but not impossible -- be active this weekend. Phonebank for Sanders. Convince a Californian to show up and vote.

PrinceVlad

Trump is the only candidate I've ever heard question the cost of war, it's part of the reason he said we should flush NATO and we can't police the world for free any longer.

Kenarmy -> PrinceVlad

"Donald Trump would deploy up to 30,000 American soldiers in the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State, he said at Thursday night's debate."
http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/trump-iraq-syria-220608#ixzz49yJWQras

30,000? More like 300,000! The 30,000 will be the dead and wounded. But hey, Trump went to a military academy high school, and thus he has a military background ("always felt that I was in the military" because he attended a military boarding school)- http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-military-service-213392#ixzz49yKU9awC

PrinceVlad -> Kenarmy

I have no problem with destroying ISIS. I have a problem with fighting Russia over every former Soviet state on their doorstep ala Madam Secretary. The best way to remember the war dead is to work to ensure that their ranks do not swell.

[*] and if anyone is reading who deals with such things -- y'all need to accept paypal or bitcoin so I can subscribe. Who uses their credit card online anymore?