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  • While the rumors of America's impending return to active hostilities in the Middle East have been getting louder by the day, I continued to hold out hope that the President would resist the headwinds and use his prime time address to educate the nation how it is impossible to defeat an ideology with bombs and missiles alone.
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  • America’s war in Afghanistan, which is now in its fifteenth year, presents a mystery: how could so much money, power, and good will have achieved so little? Congress has appropriated almost eight hundred billion dollars for military operations in Afghanistan; a hundred and thirteen billion has gone to reconstruction, more than was spent on the Marshall Plan, in postwar Europe. General David Petraeus, a principal architect of U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, encouraged the practice of pumping money into the economy of Afghanistan, where the per-capita G.D.P. at the time of the invasion was around a hundred and twenty dollars. He believed that money had helped buy peace during his command of American forces in Iraq. “Employ money as a weapons system,” Petraeus wrote in 2008.
  • It’s 1990. I’m a young captain in the U.S. Air Force. I’ve just witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I never thought I’d see, short of a third world war. Right now I’m witnessing the slow death of the Soviet Union, without the accompanying nuclear Armageddon so many feared. Still, I’m slightly nervous as my military gears up for an unexpected new campaign, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, to expel Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s military from Kuwait. It’s a confusing moment. After all, the Soviet Union was forever (until it wasn’t) and Saddam had been a stalwart U.S. friend, his country a bulwark against the Iran of the Ayatollahs.
  • The private military industry has surged since the end of the Cold War and is now a multibillion-dollar business. Today’s military firms are sophisticated multinational corporations with subsidiaries around the world and quarterly profit reports for investors. These companies are bought and sold on Wall Street, and their stocks are listed on the London and New York exchanges. Their boards consist of Wall Street magnates and former generals, their corporate managers are seasoned Fortune 500 executives, and their ranks filled with ex-military and law-enforcement personnel recruited from around the world. They work for governments, the private sector, and humanitarian organizations.