Tag Archive for World War I

Obama’s Risks of Escalation

President Barack Obama announces U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State and other targets in Syria in comments at the White House on Sept. 23, 2014. (Screenshot from White House.gov)

As President Obama launched the first waves of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State and other targets in Syria, the risks of further military escalation or other expected developments abound, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Learning Little from World War I

Trench warfare during World War I.

Looking back on the century of war and slaughter that has followed the start of World War I, one is reminded of Pete Seeger’s classic lyrics: “When will they ever learn?” Today, major world leaders behave with much the same thoughtless hubris as their forebears in 1914, as Gary G. Kohls recalls.

The Wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, a British intelligence officer who recruited Bedouin tribesmen during World War I.

A century ago, during World War I, a British intelligence officer known as “Lawrence of Arabia” deeply understood the Mideast and saw hope for rational politics, but Western imperial ambitions intervened to ensure regional instability, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recall.

Reasons for Intellectual Conformity

President Woodrow Wilson.

In theory, many people hail the idea of independent thinking and praise the courage of speaking truth to power. In practice, however, the pressure of “group think” and the penalties inflicted on dissidents usually force people into line even when they know better, as Lawrence Davidson notes.

America’s War-Weary Public

Coffins of dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2006. (U.S. government photo)

A new wave of neocon opinion is pounding President Obama for failing to keep troops in Iraq and resisting wars in Syria and Iran – claiming U.S. prestige and power are in decline – but these bellicose appeals are, for once, getting little traction with a war-weary public, as Lawrence S. Wittner observes.

One ‘Silent Night’ in the Trenches

Trench warfare during World War I.

Dehumanizing the enemy is a key part of modern warfare, bolstered by the modern art of propaganda, often with the blessing of religious leaders. That was why the Christmas Truce of 1914 was so seditious, as Gary G. Kohls explains.

The Day When War Was Outlawed

When George W. Bush launched an aggressive war on Iraq in 2003, he was violating a host of treaties and international laws, though he would face no accountability. One violated law was a U.S.-sponsored treaty, signed in 1928, that renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy, as Steve McKeown recalls.

How Lying Causes Casualties of War

Lying and warfare have long gone hand in hand, a reality that continues today with a U.S. news media that opts for simpleminded storylines about good guys vs. bad guys, the pro-U.S. side against the America-hating side. Such nonsense has caused much death and destruction, notes Gary G. Kohls.

Stumbling into Disastrous Wars

The pundits say America’s economic angst will trump worries about war in the Nov. 6 election. However, as Americans learned a decade ago, careless foreign policies can have disastrous consequences, a lesson that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar also traces back one and two centuries.

The Christmas Truce of 1914

It might seem odd to anyone who understands what Jesus taught that the U.S. presidential candidates who most stress their Christian devotion are often the same ones urging more wars. But this defiling of Jesus’s message of peace is not new, as Gary G. Kohls recalls from an inspiring moment in World War I.