A Brief History
On September 20, 2001, US President George W. Bush addressed congress and the American people and declared a “War on Terror.” Initial attacks against terrorist bases went well, but the war soon bogged down in Iraq, diverting the effort, and the US ended up in a 20 year occupation of Afghanistan, only for the Taliban to take over when the Americans left.
Some other declared wars that did not go well for the initiator include The War on Poverty, declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, which saw massive federal spending and creation of programs to reduce poverty. It was initially successful but has stagnated or even regressed since the end of the 1960s.
In the War on Drugs, declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, the US has been fighting a losing battle against illegal drugs ever since, a battle often criticized as being racist and class warfare.
Russia’s attempt to take over Ukraine in 2022 is still failing at this time.
Question for students (and subscribers): What war failures would you include on this list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Bailey, Martha and Sheldon Danziger, editors. Legacies of the War on Poverty. Russell Sage Foundation, 2013.
Mayer, Jane. The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. Anchor, 2009.
The featured image in this article, a White House photograph by Eric Draper of President Bush pledges to defend America’s freedom against the fear of terrorism, is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.
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