Visions of War

On December 15th President Barack Obama welcomed home U.S. troops from a war he once had called “dumb.” His speech avoided the reasons why the Iraq War was fought and focused instead on honoring the American servicemen and women who fought it.  Inspiring words–“extraordinary achievement,” “honor,” “sacrifice,” “finest fighting force,” “unbroken line of heroes,” “progress […]

An Age without Surrender Ceremonies

Here’s a snippet from the book I’m finishing up this fall.  This passage is about what I think of as President Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment, and it raises questions about how to think about the role of wartime in American history during a period when wars don’t seem to end. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. […]

What Obama Might Learn from the Past: Bending History in the Direction of Justice

It is the nature of the political process that presidents campaign outside history and must then live within it. For Barack Obama, this meant promising a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, a stronger focus on defeating Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, firm but respectful relations with Russia and China, engagement with opponents like Iran, and progress with our […]