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Are War-torn

author
Daniel Brown
• Tuesday, 05 January, 2021
• 11 min read

Being the site of frequent or protracted military conflict. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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(Source: markbulahao.deviantart.com)

Contents

War-torn countries not only face high numbers of casualties and lost lives, but also destroyed infrastructure that can take years to rebuild post-war, alone during an ongoing conflict. In 2001, U.S. forces entered Afghanistan to eradicate the Taliban and help the country rebuild after years of conflict.

The United States has also provided troops to protect the civilians of Afghanistan from Taliban attacks and allow the government to rebuild and reestablish power. Despite these efforts, Afghanistan is still experiencing Taliban attacks and violence continues to claim thousands of civilians’ lives every year.

The Iraqi government has received aid from the United States, Iran and Syria to help defeat ISIS. All sides involved in the way, including the Syrian government, opposition rebel groups, the United States, Turkey, and Russia, have been criticized by international organizations for massacres and human rights violations.

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes to restore the former Yemeni government, an action that has been condemned by the international community because of the number of civilian deaths. It’s estimated that over 100,000 people have been killed in the Yemeni Civil War, including 12,000 civilians.

Since 1982, federal law enforcement has been reorganized five times to attempt to reduce cartel violence and control corruption. As of April 2020, humanitarian researchers are particularly concerned with the country’s ability to handle the COVID-19 pandemic due to the damage to its infrastructure and health care system.

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The conflict ended in October 2011 when the rebels took Benghazi and Tripoli and killed Gaddafi. It’s estimated that 20,000 people were killed an additional 50,000 were injured in the first Libyan Civil War.

Ethiopia’s northern Ti gray remains unstable as fighting continues in several areas, including the outskirts of the regional capital, Moselle, according to the United Nations. More than 4.5 million people in the war-torn region need emergency food assistance, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report compiled after two missions to the province last month.

Prime Minister Abby Ahmed declared war against the Ti gray People’s Liberation Front after blaming the region’s leaders for an attack on a federal army base. Eritrean troops have also been involved in the fighting, government denials notwithstanding, looting businesses and abducting refugees, according to aid workers and diplomats briefed on the situation.

While life in the southern towns of Alabama and Mekong as well as Moselle was “gradually returning to normalcy,” there is concern about the population’s access to health care, the UN body said. Regional facilities have been looted and vandalized, while those in the major cities are only partially functional amid a lack of equipment and workers, it said.

The conflict escalated into violence Nov. 4, when the TPL bombed the northern command office of the Ethiopian National Defense Force. National forces then launched military assaults on the TPL in response, before claiming to have regained control of the Trajan capital, Moselle, Nov. 28.

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A 34-year-old refugee from Ti gray who had just arrived in Sudan said pregnant women were among those pushing and shoving to access assistance from aid agencies. André ASU, director for Jesuit Refugee Service in East Africa, told NCR that his organization has been unable to even assess the needs of those still within Ti gray.

International humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch fear that there are unreported abuses taking place within Ti gray. Together with its local church partner, Bahia DAR Catholic Secretariat, CRS is providing food rations for up to two months to the displaced people in the Ethiopian regions of Northern Adhara and Western Ti gray.

Shumlansky said CRS and local church partners stand ready to move more supplies to those impacted within the region “when access is secured.” There are fears though, that the impact of the conflict on the humanitarian situation will be prolonged and that it could lead to further food insecurity and health issues beyond the crisis.

The current war situation in Afghanistan continues to claim civilian lives through bombings, crossfires, assassinations, and improvised explosive devices.

The ISIS militants, not limiting their actions to only Iraq, have also terrorized much of the world with their acts of extreme violence. A shocking study reveals that around half a million Iraqis, including those killed directly or indirectly, lost their lives to warfare between 2003 and 2011.

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Currently, the gravity of the civil war situation in Syria is drawing attention from across the globe. The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests swept across Syria, demanding the eradication of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The government’s forces meted out a violent response to these protests, which were heavily criticized by the European Union and the United Nations. The civilian protests soon transformed into an armed rebellion, and escalated into the Syrian Civil War of the present day.

Ukraine stands torn apart between the influences of the Russian government in the east and the European Union in the west. To make matters work, deadly attacks have also been carried out in Yemen by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or ISIS), as well as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (ASAP).

There are a number of ongoing conflicts currently happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), some of which have been going on since as early as the 1970s. Due to the presence of armed groups, the United States government currently warns against all travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Currently, the country is in the grip of an ongoing civil war being fought between the government forces and the Selena rebel coalition. The war, which started on December 10th, 2012, has witnessed the rapid growth of the Selena rebels who were held responsible for the wanton destruction of many towns and villages in the country and the murder of thousands of innocent civilians.

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But wise dicta about the need for unity in foreign affairs, along with constitutional mechanisms designed to constrain as well as promote it, cannot by themselves prevent politics from sailing beyond the water’s edge. This is particularly true when, as over the past five years, partisans disagree bitterly about the aims and execution of the nation’s foreign policy and become convinced that their party has a monopoly on the proper understanding and effective exercise of it.

In this respect, and reflecting the spirit of the times, liberal hawks Will Marshall, president and founder of progressive Policy Institute, the think tank of the centrist Democratic Leadership Counsel, and Peter Bernard, former editor and now editor-at-large of then Republic, are in no mood for bipartisanship. They share much of their fellow Democrats’ anger and indignation, if not about the original decision to go to war in Iraq, then about the Bush administration’s handling of that as well as foreign policy writ large.

Convinced that the Bush administration’s conservative unilateralism can’t meet the urgent threat posed by Muslim extremism, Marshall and Roster offer progressive internationalism as a strategic outlook that “occupies the vital center between the neo-imperial right and the noninterventionist left, between a view that assumes our might always makes us right, and one that assumes that because America is strong it must be wrong.” This yields five national security imperatives, which their book is devoted to elaborating: Unfortunately, Marshall and Roster and many of their contributors handicap themselves with their determination to see nothing but setbacks to American foreign policy since2002and to place all the blame on the incompetence, ignorance, and ideological blindness of the Bush administration.

They argue as if Michael Moore, Howard Dean, Modern.org, the Daily Kos crowd, and the Democrats who support them contributed nothing to political divisiveness in America. As if fear and loathing of America in its role as the world’s lone superpower were unheard of before the Bush administration and have nothing to do with other nations’ envy of American power and ambition for theirs.

As if corruption at the United Nations, starting with the still unfolding Oil-for-Food scandal, were a minor matter that need not interfere with the creation of bigger and better roles for therein the pursuit of collective security and global economic development. As if the commitment to promote democracy abroad requires nothing less than a massive and undiscriminating campaign that refuses to distinguish between allies and adversaries and pays no heed to the geopolitical consequences of a headlong rush for regime change.

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Despite her blue-state profile, she came to the conclusion as a teenager in the early1990s that effective response by the U.S. to international humanitarian crises required it to maintain “a strong and just military.” Acting on her conviction, she enrolled in West Point. Although she believes that military culture fosters its own misconceptions about Democrats, and notes with concern the increasing tilt among officers and enlisted men and women over the past20 years toward the Republican Party, she urges progressives to overcome their prejudices and learn more about a world they regard warily and usually know only from a great distance.

Neither a work of grand strategy nor a compendium of policy proposals, Bernard’s book is a summons to fellow Democrats to put their house in order so that they can save America from the totalitarian threat posed by Islamic extremism, and, Bernard never lets the reader forget, from the smugness, self-satisfaction, and incompetence of the American right which, he argues, has led the nation disastrously astray in the war on terror. Laudably, he recognizes that reviving among Democrats the Cold War liberal belief in the ability of America to engage the world and change it for the better requires the setting aside of his party’s powerful norm, “No enemies to the left.” Unfortunately, Bernard continues to embrace the debilitating corollary, “No friends on the right.” And so he stokes the flames of hatred for all things conservative that afflicts the Daily Kos sensibility from which he wishes to save his party, and he departs dramatically from the broad-minded and bipartisan Cold War liberalism that he seeks to revive.

On one side stood the faction led by former vice president and then liberal icon Henry Wallace, which counseled a conciliatory attitude toward communism because of the conviction that communists could serve as “a powerful ally in the fight against imperialism abroad and for economic justice at home.” On the other side stood the faction led by President Truman, with diplomatic heft provided by Dean Acheson, George Marshall, and George Kennan, and intellectual heft by Arthur Schlesinger and Reinhold Niebuhr. Most fundamental was the understanding that in the middle of the twentieth century modern technology placed in the hands of dictators of both the left and the right an unprecedentedly powerful state apparatus that could be used to monitor and terrorize society and thereby make a credible threat to wipe out every form of individual freedom.

In Truman’s words, the U.S. would “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by outside pressures.” And specifically to block Soviet aggression in Europe, they championed the creation onto. This ambitious undertaking rested on two assumptions: a world of freer and more democratic nations made America safer; and liberty and democracy depended on a certain minimum of economic prosperity.

Third, Cold War liberals believed that the United States, the undisputed leader of the free world, had an obligation to exercise restraint in wielding its power. To honor this obligation, they sought to forge an international order based not on power but on law, and they strove to recognize forthrightly and work assiduously to rein in the propensity, common to all nations, for self-aggrandizing behavior.

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One might have thought that a commitment to making foreign policy as bipartisan as possible also deserves to be regarded as a defining feature of Cold War liberalism, but Bernard omits it, and his book’s index does not so much as mention Truman’s important ally, Republican Senator Arthur Brandenburg. Yet you would never guess from Bernard’s account that communist infiltration was real, that the tremendous growth of the federal government raised significant constitutional and policy questions about the distribution of power between Washington and the states and local communities, and that Eisenhower Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had a point in regarding the Cold War as a struggle between “good and evil.” In addition, the1950s were also a decade of great intellectual ferment in conservative circles, with James Burnham, William F. Buckley, and Russell Kirk, among others, advancing provocative critiques of America’s regnant left liberalism.

Today’s Democratic Party descendants of Henry Wallace, whom Bernard calls the “anti-imperialist left,” are inclined to see in George W. Bush a greater threat to global peace and security than the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Moreover, they threaten to acquire a controlling stake in the Democratic Party and to erase from its collective memory the proud tradition of the antitotalitarian liberalism that Bernard is dedicated to reviving.

Yet it does not occur to Bernard to inquire whether the persistence of the temptation on the left to discount the savagery and the threat to freedom posed by America’s totalitarian enemies has a source in the liberal tradition. Reason to doubt that Bernard’s study of Cold War liberalism has equipped him to reach sound political judgments is provided by his public confession of error, first in the pages of then Republic while he was still its editor and now at length in his book, for having backed Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In January2003in then York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner John Burns reported that “Accounts collected by Western human rights groups from Iraqi émigrés and defectors have suggested that the number of those who have ‘disappeared’ into the hands of the secret police, never to be heard from again, could be200,000.” On March12,2003, Walter Russell Mead, writing in the Washington Post, observed that, “Based on Iraqi government figures, unicefestimates that containment kills roughly5,000Iraqi babies (children under5years of age) every month, or60,000 per year.” The terrorizing of Iraq’s general population and the ravaging of Iraq’s children to prop up his military dictatorship must always be, but rarely are, taken into account in considering the case for removing Saddam. For America, Great Britain, and other coalition partners to have failed to proceed militarily would have been to collaborate with fellow Security Council permanent members France, Russia, and China in demonstrating to the world the worthlessness of the United Nations and the emptiness of international law.

Bernard is certainly correct that the administration was grievously unprepared for the challenges that it faced following the coalition’s lightning military campaign, which liberated Baghdad in three weeks. But in assessing the reconstruction of Iraq, Bernard adopts a skewed, historically uninformed viewpoint unworthy of one who purports to carry on the best traditions of Harry S. Truman.

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For example, in1947, leader of the opposition Senator Robert Taft decried Truman for his failure to consult with Republicans and for the “imperialism” of his “busybody” foreign policy. Yet from a historical and long-term perspective, the jury is still out, and in the meantime, despite the initial disarray and continuing violence, the coalition partners and Iraq have accomplished amazing things, including a courageous democratic experiment, against vicious opposition, that is without local precedent.

In line with respectable progressive opinion, his liberalism demands more forthrightness about America’s imperfections, greater efforts to promote equality at home and to foster democratic engagement among ordinary citizens, and more multilateralism abroad. The centerpiece of Bernard’s prescriptions, as it was for the contributors to Marshall’s book, is the call for extensive new programs for the economic and political development of the Middle East.

In fact, we still have a great deal to learn about how to promote liberty and democracy abroad, and billions of dollars have been wasted in past decades because of our inattention to the details of how aid is spent. Like his premature apologies for supporting the war in Iraq, Bernard’s calls to throw great sums of money at development projects in the Middle East have a familiar feel.

Having begun promisingly by undertaking to show that liberals could be strong and savvy in confronting the challenges of American foreign policy, Bernard’s critique ends disappointingly in irresolution and profligacy. In drawing a moral commensurateness between the jihadists and the Bush administration and its supporters, Bernard recklessly trucks with the hatred that has poisoned the liberal spirit among Democrats.

Bernard believes that he honors the teachings of Reinhold Niebuhr by observing how the conservatives he opposes fail to come to grips with the impurity of their and their nation’s conduct. In the last lines of his book, Bernard expresses the wish that one day it may be said of contemporary Americans what Arthur Schlesinger said of Americans after World War ii, that they “began to rediscover the great tradition of liberalism.” Among the salutary consequences of such a rediscovery would be the rebirth of an appreciation that the great tradition of liberalism does not in the first place put forward a partisan creed but rather proclaims principles which, when well understood, provide the ground on which partisans in America can unite.

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