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Questioning the Cycle of War | The Nation

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Questioning the Cycle of War

The Obama administration is frustrated with the Pakistani government's inability to quell the Taliban. Who is the United States to be frustrated?

The answer to the frustration's apparently a stepping up of the pilotless drone campaign. The term "CIA drone campaign" has embedded itself in the coverage. You know the one: this last month's been the heaviest for attacks—and civilian deaths—from drones. It's the war we haven't declared and only have tacit Pakistani approval to be waging.

In other news, a NATO raid killed four Afghan children already this week. And the horror keeps on coming from the trial of five US soldiers, part of a kill team. At the trial, 22-year-old men keep testifying about saving severed fingers of Afghan civilians as souvenirs. Is "kill team" another new word in our lexicon? Do these young men really need souvenirs to remember?

Quelling the Taliban is clearly tricky. For the darnedest reasons, poor people half a world away still seem motivated to take up arms against us.

It's not as if the answer's not there in this week's news. But that would require asking the question.

Ann Jones notes that wars don't end, they live on, permeating the culture of the warriors and the warred-upon. Violence done tends to repeat. Misogyny especially, she writes, once ignited, burns off its own fuel.

We can see evidence of this in all these articles. We send drone attacks to quell violence that is stoked by drone attacks and violence; we send soldiers to war and then prosecute them for forming "kill teams."

In our longest war, we have yet to even begin to grapple with the whys of war and the what-war-really-is questions. What we are getting, however, is a pretty good sense of what the twenty-first century's going to be like, if we don't do something fast to stop this.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.

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