Shifting Attitudes Toward War
I don’t share Duncan Black’s political pessimism about this: “We’ll never get there, but I’ll know that actual serious people are in charge when we seriously question just whether the proper response to a bunch of guys flying planes into buildings was a large invasion and decade-long occupation of a country none of them were actually from.”
I think it’s quite noteworthy that if you compare the Vietnam War to Iraq and Afghanistan combined that we’ve had strikingly fewer American soldiers killed and strikingly fewer foreigners killed by American soldiers. George W Bush was way to the left of Lyndon Johnson in terms of tolerable levels of devastation to hail down on other people. The events of 9/11 led to a surge in nationalist and pro-violence sentiment, but the trajectory here over decades is downward. I don’t think that’s a trend that will inevitably continue, but there’s no particular reason to think it won’t, and people should be encouraged to see this as an area in which enormous progress has been made and where more work will be rewarded with more progress.