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Can we have war theater without fighting?

April 8, 2017

Phil Ebersole's Blog

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We Americans like the spectacle of war, but, since the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict, only a small minority of us has had an appetite for actual fighting.

President Donald Trump’s attack on Syria shows that he understands this.  It was a kind of minimalist attack.   The Syrian government was given a general notice that an attack was coming, and the Russian government a specific attack, so that casualties and damage were minimal.

Except for the unfortunate Syrian troops who were killed, this was war theater, not war.

Yet he got credit for acting decisively.    Deeply unpopular before, his action was applauded by the press, Congress and even Hillary Clinton, while Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren equivocated.

I fear Trump has learned a bad lesson.  When unpopular, rally Americans by attacking a designated foreign enemy.  But since these attacks won’t change anything, he’ll have do something…

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