War Without End: After 13 years committed to war, it is time to be alarmed.

The conflict in Afghanistan now stands as the longest war in American history. For this reason alone, as the United States approaches a decade of major warfare in a conflict that has shown little lasting progress, there should be a public debate that does not proceed from a blind commitment to “stay the course.” On an even deeper level, a sustained national dialogue about the war in Afghanistan is vital to the future of the United States because it touches upon a chilling prospect: the danger that major warfare has become not an exceptional necessity but an ongoing way of life.

The United States has now achieved the capacity to wage major warfare over many years without greatly burdening its economy or its general citizenry. Three factors have made this possible: 1) the sheer immensity of the American economy and its ability to float credit, which has made the costs of major wars like Afghanistan and Iraq a relatively small blip in overall government expenditures; 2) the creation of instruments of war through modern technology that minimize American casualties in warfare and greatly enhance American tactical superiority; and 3) the existence of a professional army, which limits the layers of American society that absorb the terrible trauma of casualties in war, in contrast to a general draft like that utilized in prior wars.


The result has been, as the historian David Kennedy of Stanford University notes, a situation in which “the army is at war but the country is not. We have managed to create and field an armed force that is very lethal without the society in whose name it fights breaking a sweat.” On a more ominous level, Kennedy warns, this achievement of a sustainable war-fighting capacity by the United States has created “a moral hazard for the political leadership to resort to force in the knowledge that civil society will not be deeply disturbed.” This moral hazard has become realized in a decade-long conflagration in Afghanistan and in an independent, elective major war in Iraq that lasted six years. Because the fractious commonwealth we have attempted to forge is fragile, the war in Iraq could re-erupt at any moment.

Invasion as Transformation

The moral hazard posed by America’s vast capacity to wage war is compounded by its idealistic tendency to cast war aims in transformational terms. The United States seeks to establish as the goal of war, for example, a stable democracy no matter how inhospitable to democracy the history, institutions and culture of the country in which it intervenes. In Afghanistan the original goal of intervention was clear and circumscribed: Al Qaeda was to be rooted out from its safe havens and destroyed, and the repressive Taliban government that had given protection to Al Qaeda was to be punished and removed. In Iraq, by contrast, the goals of war were from the outset extensive and ill-defined: the removal of Saddam Hussein, the destruction of Iraq’s capacity to use phantom weapons of mass destruction, the eradication of the hold that Saddam’s Baath Party had on Iraqi society, the erection of a functioning democracy in the Middle East, the elimination of a serious threat to Israel.

In both wars the goal of societal transformation and democratization came to dominate American aims and strategy, and that goal has limited the flexibility of the United States to withdraw early in the conflicts or to accept compromise outcomes.

The fear of failure deepens the moral hazard posed by U.S. power in the world today. Once committed to war, having cast the goals of war in transformational terms, the United States feels compelled to keep fighting in order to maintain its reputation for success on the battlefield and on the global stage. As a result, the United States suffers from a paralyzing inability to bring wars to a close.

In his recent book, How Wars End, the editor of Foreign Affairs, Gideon Rose, delineates the great human and material costs that have accompanied America’s inability to end war. Mr. Rose proposes that much of this cost can be attributed to a failure of U.S. policymakers to be realistic when going into a war about what can actually be achieved. Vague or highly optimistic notions of victory have crippled war planning at the beginning, middle and end of every major American conflict since World War II.

Today, the United States is again paralyzed by an inability to bring war to a close. Afghanistan is no longer the central location for the fight against terrorism in general or Al Qaeda in particular. There are no clear grounds for believing that the corruption-riddled government that the United States points to as the incarnation of democracy in Afghanistan will ever attain national legitimacy and long-term stability. Afghanistan’s deeply ingrained suspicions against foreign invaders are increasingly being directed toward the United States and its allies. Yet America fights on.

When the administration and Congressional supporters of the war recently pre-empted the promised debate on troop withdrawals scheduled for 2011 and instead focused on a long-term commitment lasting until 2014, the reaction was deafening silence. This can be explained only by the fact that the United States has entered into a new and radically different relationship with major warfare: even 13 years of ongoing major conflict do not constitute a cause for alarm or soul-searching. This indeed is a moral hazard, for the world and for the identity of the United States.

When does a nation have a moral obligation to end its participation in a decade-old war that has no clear prospect of success? How has continuation of warfare become the moral default position for cases in which the United States is fundamentally uncertain how to proceed? Has the United States allowed its wealth and technological achievement to combine with its idealism to create a society in which major warfare is a permanent part of its national life?

Catholic Teaching on War and Peace

For the Catholic community, these questions cannot be addressed without reference to the church’s teaching on war and peace in the modern age. It should be a sobering reality for every believer in the United States that at the same time that America has come to a new acceptance of war as an ongoing part of its national life and identity, the universal church has grown increasingly skeptical of the legitimacy of warfare. The Second Vatican Council declared that “it is hardly possible to imagine that in an atomic era, war could be used as an instrument of justice.” Pope John Paul II declared that war is never an appropriate way to resolve problems and never will be, precisely because war creates new wounds and new, ever more complicated conflicts.

The United States has found in the cutting-edge technologies of war the foundation for its ability to wage long-term war without generating massive American casualties; the church sees in these same technologies and their massive destructive capacities a clarion call to limit radically any resort to war. In an interview as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that “given the new weapons that make possible destruction that goes beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a ‘just war.’”

While still recognizing a delimited right to defensive warfare in extreme cases of aggression, the church’s teaching directly challenges the embrace of warfare as a regular element of state action. This is not a challenge that occurs at the level of contingent prudential application of doctrinal principles to a particular war. It is a disagreement on the level of doctrinal principle about the legitimacy of the use of warfare as a regular tool of national policy.

Catholic doctrine does not permit war (or force of arms) to democratize other countries. There is no more pressing moral lesson for the United States to draw from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than that it is morally illegitimate to use the weapons of war, with all their lethal and dehumanizing consequences, to remake foreign societies in our own image. Only major aggression counts in Catholic moral teaching as a just cause for war.

Catholic doctrine does not permit the continuation of warfare in order to avoid the damage that will come to one’s reputation from defeat. The church’s teaching on right intention in war absolutely precludes starting or continuing a war out of this or any other political motivation.

Catholic doctrine does not permit the use of weapons and tactics that eviscerate the distinction between combatants and civilians. The use of drone aircraft for strikes that have generated increasing civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan represents just the type of “advanced” technology that lay at the heart of Pope Benedict’s skepticism about the moral legitimacy of warfare in the present day.

Catholic doctrine does not permit continuation of war based on a mere wisp of hope. If the principle of proportionality in Catholic doctrine is to have any meaning, it must require that, in the absence of any clear probability of success after 10 years of major fighting, war must end.

The Central Question

This year should be a time of intense national debate on Afghanistan and America’s approach to war. But almost certainly it will not be. In part this is a result of the nation’s preoccupation with the current economic crisis that has created so much suffering here and around the world. On a deeper level, there will be no searing debate about Afghanistan despite almost 10 years of warfare precisely because the moral hazard that David Kennedy has identified is real. America’s economy is too vast, its war-fighting skills too advanced, its ability to limit the number and social location of American casualties too successful for even 10 years of major warfare to burden the nation seriously. The country has truly learned to wage war “without breaking a sweat.”

This is a frightening reality. It raises the possibility that a decade that has not known a single day without major warfare involving the United States may be succeeded by yet another decade of continuing American warfare overseas. The countries involved may change, but the themes will be the same. The world will always be a dangerous place, and dictatorships will always be in need of reform and “regime change.”

The people of the United States need to engage in a deep and piercing national dialogue on the role of war in their national identity. U.S. citizens need to understand that this nation cannot transform the world by force of arms. They must recognize that war inevitably brings horrendous unintended consequences, like the persecution and destruction of the ancient Christian community in Iraq that is currently underway. The American people need to comprehend the human devastation caused by instruments of war that skillfully limit U.S. casualties but devastate cities and families and the lives of strangers. We the people need to recognize that good intentions do not constitute a just cause for war. If we do not, we may raise a whole generation of children who have never known an America at peace. And we may create a world that turns to war as easily as we do.

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marygail ferris
7 years ago
THANK YOU. The nation needs to hear more and more of everything you have said.
Perhaps the young students at Fordham and other Jesuit universities might have a "seed planted" and begin to THINK. 
We can look back and see that President Eisenhower said something of importance when he spoke of the "Military- Industrial Complex"  It is alive and well today.
It seems the Defense Dept. is happy with the volunteer army but that's just what keeps the rest of the poplulation disconnected from the wars. 

The morality of this war is non-existent as there might have been a vague reason at the beginning but no longer.  Afganistan that is, but NOT  Iraq.  It doesn't fit the definition of a "Just war".  Sounds simple and of course it is not but time has past for the nation to wake up.   For those unconcerned about the morality they can concern themselves about the cost.  

How many of us try to understand what is "Gods Will" on the topic of these wars?

Mike Evans
7 years ago
This article and many like it are badly needed and should begin a universally heard shout for ending this war insanity. We are killing a huge number of innocents, fomenting more and more strife and only enriching the war profiteers and arms suppliers. Meanwhile the entire world has become a more dangerous place as others seek to strike back in retribution. What will it take - a nuclear terrorist attack in a major city to wake everyone up? And so we expend huge amounts of money in the hundreds of billions to just destroy and kill. That is our excuse why we can't afford decent health care for all or any way to preserve the safety net for the most vulnerable. We are a sick society.
David Smith
7 years ago
Excellent article.  Thanks both to the author and to the magazine.

Many points to discuss, many terms and concepts to consider.  One that occurred to me while reading it is that "war" has many meanings.  I'm not sure what the Church, in its various commentaries on war, has had specifically in mind, and the author doesn't make clear what he has in mind here, either.  In any conversation or debate, the meanings of words matter greatly.
7 years ago

Bishop McElroy’s article is cogent, prophetic and deserves to  be preached and published in every diocese and parish bulletin. Almost singular in that he has a much wider view of anti-life issues than the majority of other bishops in the U.S. Thank you Bishop McElroy & America for publishing it. Your getting your grit back.

Fran Ferder
7 years ago
I have often been critical of the American bishops for their handling of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, for their failure to promote the vision of Vatican II, and for their general lack of leadership in areas of social justice.  But here, Bishop McElroy gets my gratitude and praise.  His is a scholarly article steeped in the social justice teaching of the Catholic church and the knowlege of American history that surely challenges a sleepy society and confronts the real culture of death.  Thank you, Bishop McElroy, for your leadership, your prophetic witness and your courage. 
C Walter Mattingly
7 years ago
It is most interesting to follow the bishop's characterization of US goals in Iraq as "ill-defined":
the removal of Saddam Hussein, the destruction of Iraq's capacity to use phantom weapons of mass destruction, the eradication of the hold of Saddam's Baath Pary on Iraqi society, the erection of a functioning democracy in the Middle East, the elimination of a serious threat to Israel, the goal of societal transformation and democratization in the Middle East.
It is proving to be pretty close to a checklist of the hopes of President Bush and the Iraqi people being realized, granted at great cost and considerable bumbling along the way.
The removal of Saddam, A/K/A the Butcher of Bagdhad-accomplished.
The destruction of Iraq's capacity to use phantom weapons of mass destruction-as Wikileaks documents have recently revealed, US troops found mustard gas, nerve gas, and other WMD sources scattered in small quantities thruout Iraq, with likely storage of others in 3 locations in Syria. In any case, Iraq is ill suited and not inclined to continue Saddam's WMD warfare in the forseeable future.
The erection of a functioning democracy-limping along, not yet complete, far more successful than pundits were predicting.
The elimination of a serious threat to Israel. At least no more rockets being fired at Israel by Saddam.
The societal transformation and democratization in the Middle East-Tunisia and now Egypt coming to pass. Unlike Obama, Bush was publicly and consistently a champion of democracy and critical of the authoritarian/dictatorial regimes there, even to the point of supporting democratic elections in Lebanon when he knew it likely Hamas would prevail. (Obama thought such championing idealistic and unwarranted, perhaps premature. Recent events have proved otherwise.
President Bush's premature and regrettable statement on the carrier about Iraq, "Mission Accomplished," is far closer to reality today than it was when it was articulated. The democratization process is high-risk and will require skill and judgment, not the bumbling of recent US Middle Eastern diplomacy, but all Americans can take heart that President Obama is now consulting with former Secretary Elliot Abrams, who is highly competent on the Middle East, in the current situation.
richard benitez
7 years ago
of course i agree with the comments on this article. but all this was said at least a year before the US invaded Iraq. this is old hat. well known. Anemic in it's lateness. all christian groups failed miserably on the war issues. very pathetic. I remember two weeks into the war, i went around my office of two thousand fed workers to ask if the many christians heard anything in their church about the war. None that i could find had pastors that mentioned anything. instead, to this day Federal workers who are wonderful Christains gather more than once a week and clap their hands and sing songs of happiness that "I'm going to heaven and your not". totally disgusting. For 13 years i've been fully charged up with understanding of the awful truth that Americans are totally oblivious to the detrimental effects on them and society after years of war. now we have sadistic tasers in common use, police killing civilians and bears and deer at the whim, with crude and indifferent ameicans scratching for the american dream.  and these people think the war does not affect them. at st dominics (SF) after about 1 1/2 hears now i have never heard anything in the homily about the war. the idea is  that the homily must be on the gospels. The gospels are being misread. what happened to the social aspect of the gospel? i know. i'm an old man. my idea of what the mystical body is, is outdated. forgotten.  too vatican II. 
7 years ago
one would suppose that if we as a Christian community, would expend the same amount of energy and resources to pressure our government to become a champion for peace and reconciliation instead of retaliation as we have for the pro-life agenda, perhaps we may have some margin of success in ending this expensive life-destroying apparatus of war. Hence, if all were to follow the commandment of non-resistence, there would be neither retaliation or sacrifice of innocent lives. As a nation we must end the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Is is destroying us as a culture of Christians who care for our brothers.
ed gleason
7 years ago
I hope W. Mattingly's bad news that Obama is consulting Elliot Abrams is not true. Abrams' involvement in both fostering war in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 80s bodes badly for any future democracy in the Middle East. His career was with both Dems and Repubs which make him a hired gun in MHO. Abrams would have us make a name change to the Muddle East.
C Walter Mattingly
7 years ago
Too late, Ed. It was Elliot Abrams among those who in early 2010 advised the Obama administration that the situation in Egypt had been deteriorating since Mubarak stole the recent election there and was cracking down on various opposition groups, while food prices and the job situation there all combined to create a very volatile and unstable situation. Unfortunately, they weren't listening then and the administration was totally caught flat-footed and without a contingency plan as a result. And it was the Abrams- consulted George Bush who refused to have Mubarak appear in the White House because of his dictatorial record, unlike President Obama who has nice photo ops and totally uncritical praise for Mubarak right there in the Oval Office. President Obama felt that the Middle East was not ready for democracy. Elliot Abrams was ridiculed for his idea that the example of a democratic Iraq could inspire a movement from the people to insist on their own freedom in other authoritarian/dicatatorial countries.
No one is laughing any more.
And it was George Bush who had the truthfulness, candor, and committment to democracy who said in a public statement, "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe-because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export."
It was hard to watch the recent 60 Minutes interview with Wael Ghonimi, the Google executive leader of the Egyptian uprising who was briefly imprisoned by Mubarak. Asked what the US administration could do for Egypt in its struggle for democracy, Ghonimi said for it to stay away. I personally felt shamed for our country. But with the Obama administration's cowtowing to Mubarak, it is easy to understand why. He had no credentials as his predecessor did as a champion of democracy.
ed gleason
7 years ago
Walter your usual  spin is not only wrong but this time it's silly. Egypt made you ashamed of your country but Iraq made you proud?  Bush brought us the Muddle East, just ask the vets at Walter Reed.
C Walter Mattingly
7 years ago
Ed, your comment is reminiscent of what was said about Truman during and shortly after Korea, although we are talking about a tenth the US fatalities in Iraq compared to Korea.
That opinion was later revised.
But there can be little doubt about the number of lives saved by our sometimes bumbling war in Iraq. The UN estimated that the sanctions resulted in the death of 800,000 Iraqi children and elderly during their 13 years. And of course Saddam stole the Oil for Food money intended to alleviate the crisis (along with Kofi Anan's son and several nations). At that rate, simply removing Saddam and thereby voiding the sanctions saved over half a million lives. Not counting the 20-70,000 he killed by sarin gassing, cutting off water supplies, mass executions, etc, all the things genocidal butchers enjoy. The 125,000 Iraqi dead, including 20% who were allied with AlQaeda, Sadr, and other groups killed by US and Iraqi forces, is probably less than a fifth that we can predict from the record would have died. Bottom line, despite its at times clumsy execution, at least half a million Iraqi lives were saved by the Iraq incursion. And a democratic beacon there established for Egypt, Tunesia, and hopefully Libya, Iran, and the rest of the region.
You can argue whether saving half a million Iraqi lives, overthrowing a genocidal butcher despised by his people, and establishing a fledging democracy is worth the American sacrifice of 100s of billions of dollars and 30 odd thousand US casualties. That is for a nation to decide, before and after.
ed gleason
7 years ago
Walter, I know how much you love to have the last word, so I'll summarize your take. Iraq was a success, Egypt was a failure. Is that It?
C Walter Mattingly
7 years ago
Not quite, Ed. I don't call Iraq a success, except in the sense that the alternative, as outlined above, would have been far worse for the Iraqi people. As regards Egypt, the jury is still out, but to be accurate it is playing out as Abrams and certain of the neocons suggested it would. So far, so good. It is hopeful, but still very much undetermined.
For a recent total failure, there's the Tutsi/Hutu conflict which we and the UN basically avoided, pulling the troops out, resulting in an estimated 800,000 slaughtered and half a million women raped, a huge percentage, even a majority, now HIV positive. Clinton considered it the greatest humanitarian failure of his administration. Hard to disagree.
I neglected to respond to your suggestion to ask what the vets at Walter Reed think about Iraq. Several years ago, 60 Minutes interviewed those vets, as well as the wives of soldiers who had been killed, asking them what they wanted from this point on. The interviewer stated that almost to a man/woman, they asked that we finish the job in Iraq. And there not only Bush, but to a lesser extent President Obama, deserve some credit for striving to fulfill their wishes.
7 years ago

Blessings on Bishop Mc Elroy for his excellent article on War Without End.  Would that the Bishop would take the next step and clearly announce that the Afghanistan War (and the Iraqi one as well!) were clearly immoral.  Would that he would be the first American Bishop, like Bishop Carrol Dozier of Memphis was with Vietnam in 1970, to announce that the only moral alternative is immediate withdrawel of all American troops from both places.  Would that he would call for every diocese and archdiocese in the US be a beacon of light in the midst of the moral fog surrounding these wars.  Would that every Bishop in the US would provide guidance for our youth not to be part of a professional army.  So many Catholic religious leaders, from all sides of the theological perspective will share thoughts like Bishop McElroy has written down so cogently, but none to this date has clearly pronounced these wars as immoral.  Hopefully, Bishop McElroy will be the first to give the rest of his brothers in the episcopacy the courage to provide clear moral teaching on what is happening in our country.

7 years ago

It’s been a long time since I’ve praised a Catholic Bishop, but I've been wrestling with my own conscience about the endless wars we're involved in, and this article expresses my feelings in many ways.

  "The army is at war but the country is not. We have managed to create and field an armed force that is very lethal without the society in whose name it fights breaking a sweat." (David Kennedy, Stanford University Historian)

When we first went into Iraq, I got involved with "Soldiers' Angels" after talking to a local police officer who had just returned from his second tour as a reservist.  For two years, I wrote a letter a week and sent a package once a month to soldiers who received little mail and though I was warned not to expect responses and understood that they were a lot busier than I was, I found it difficult to know what to say to them.  I wanted to support them but couldn't support the government that sent them to Iraq.  So after two years, I didn't sign up for another soldier and just kept them and their families in my prayers.

Watching recent news reports of what wounded veterans and their families go through, I've been praying for a way to get involved again in supporting the men and women in the service while agreeing with Professor Kennedy's characterization that the United States has created "a moral hazard for the political leadership to resort to force in the knowledge that civil society will not be deeply disturbed."

As someone who grew up during the 2nd World War, I sincerely believe that if we ever find it necessary to go to war with anyone, everyone in our country must be involved - not just the military men and women and their families.  We should never have been told "just go shopping" and enjoy the tax cuts - and I blame Democrats as well as Republicans for the disconnect between the small number of people who are sacrificing their lives and the rest of us.

7 years ago
Bishop McElroy has written cogently on the need for Americans to reexamine the role of war in our society and in the world today.

I have one question for Bishop McElroy and his fellow bishops in the US Bishops Conference:  Why does an aritcle such as this appear only in America Magazine and (to my knowledge) American Catholics in the pews each Sunday hear nothing but a deafening silence from their deacons, priests and bishops on the subject?

It is my contention that all American Catholics must hear the doctrine of their church on war in their Sunday sermons and be challenged by the faith that they express to reexamine their own position on war.  It is only after we do this in our churches that the full cross section of Americans can be challenged to enter into this reexamination of our country's use of war.
Eileen Ford
6 years 10 months ago

I just want to thank you for your magazine, especially the article by Bishop McElroy "War without End" that inspired the following  article in the Gloucester Daily Times.

Thank you,


Eileen M. Ford

25 1/2 King Street

Rockport, MA 01966

(978) 546-7488



GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA
April 7, 2011

Insights and Outbursts: Must war be our ongoing way of life?

Insights and Outbursts
Eileen Ford

    What is it about the word "peace" that irritates some people?

    They seem to assume that anyone who prays, hopes, or works for peace in any way is an enemy of the United States.

    I believe it's a case of blind trust in partisan media versions of issues vs. knowledge of a truth discovered from a variety of sources, including life experiences.

    Life is much more complex than labeling people as patriotic or unpatriotic because of their stance on the wars in which we're currently involved. Ask combat veterans who continue to serve their country as "Veterans for Peace," or the families of reservists serving multiple tours in Afghanistan or the relatives of severely injured veterans.

    While Congress cuts spending so future generations won't inherit our debts, few seem concerned about the price already paid by military men and women and their families, or wartime tax cuts that continue to bankrupt this country.

    As someone who grew up during the second World War, I believe that if we ever find it necessary to go to war, everyone in our country must be involved in the cost — not just military men and women and their families.We can't "just go shopping" and ignore the disconnect between the small number of people sacrificing their lives and the majority of Americans more concerned about the economy.

    I felt that eliminating al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan in 2001 was justified, but not the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In an effort to support the troops, however, I got involved with "Soldiers' Angels" after talking to a reservist who had just returned from his second tour in Iraq.

    For two years, I wrote a letter a week and sent a package a month to soldiers who received little mail, but eventually found it difficult to know what to say to them. After they returned home, I didn't sign up for another soldier but continued to pray for our troops and their families

    As a police officer in New York City in the 1960s, I was more concerned with the damage done by anti-war demonstrators than the Vietnam War. At that time, I lived with my sister Dale, a social worker and peace advocate. While our conversations were often heated, we never lost respect for one another and our lives were enriched in spite of our differences.

    Is that possible today with conservatives listening only to right-wing media outlets and liberals to those on the left? We all have a point of view, but seem unaware of just how limited that view is.

    Not long ago, I read "War Without End" in the Feb. 21, 2011, edition of the Jesuit Magazine "America" by Robert W. McElroy, auxiliary bishop of San Francisco, and I urge others to read it. (www.americamagazine.org)

    Bishop McElroy urges "a public debate that does not proceed from a blind commitment to 'stay the course.' On an even deeper level, a sustained national dialogue about the war in Afghanistan is vital to the future of the United States because it touches upon a chilling prospect: the danger that major warfare has become not an exceptional necessity but an ongoing way of life."

    He quotes historian David Kennedy of Stanford University: "the army is at war, but the country is not. We have managed to create and field an armed force that is very lethal without the society in whose name it fights breaking a sweat" creating "a moral hazard for the political leadership to resort to force in the knowledge that civil society will not be deeply disturbed."

    Bishop McElroy concludes that: "Once committed to war ... the United States feels compelled to keep fighting in order to maintain its reputation for success on the battlefield and on the global stage. As a result, the United States suffers from a paralyzing inability to bring wars to a close."

    And he warns: "We the people need to recognize that good intentions do not constitute a just cause for war. If we do not, we may raise a whole generation of children who have never known an America at peace. And we may create a world that turns to war as easily as we do."

    I respect and admire our military men and women, including a young nephew in the Navy, but fear that "major warfare" has already become "an ongoing way of life" for our nation.

                                Eileen Ford is a Rockport resident and a regular Times columnist.



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