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Paperback The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories Book

ISBN: 0765804875

ISBN13: 9780765804877

The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories

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The greatest accomplishment of Western civilization is arguably the achievement of individual liberty through limits on the power of the state. In the war-torn twentieth century, we rarely hear that one of the main costs of armed conflict is long-term loss of liberty to winners and losers alike. Beyond the obvious and direct costs of dead and wounded soldiers, there is the lifetime struggle of veterans to live with their nightmares and their injuries;...

Customer Reviews

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WAR-hunh-Good God Y'all... What is it Good For?

~The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories~ is a compelling and powerful anthology directed against the imperial psychosis of our times. It offers a sweeping indictment of the costs of war in terms of loss of life, the effect on morality in the aftermath, inflation, mounting debt, statism, the loss of civil liberties and economic freedom. A multitude of collaborators have contributed to this powerful anthology including John Denson, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, David Gordon, Paul Gottfried, Robert Higgs, Justin Raimondo, Murray Rothbard, Joseph Stromberg, Clyde Wilson, et al. In the words of Justin Raimondo, the "noninterventionist movement" has been "relegated to the margins of American politics, confined to pacifists and extreme leftists, on the one hand, and extreme rightists, including libertarians as well as members of the John Birch Society, on the other." Many of my nominally conservative friends have been of the mindset that a martial obsession is a novel conservative value. However, if they study history more objectively than they will find that there is nothing particularly conservative about being "warlike" and obsessed with "militarism," particularly within the Old Right conservative tradition at home in America. The neoconservative interlopers have led them astray. Notwithstanding our present-day abandonment of the non-interventionist tradition, its roots go back deep into America history. The founding fathers enshrined their commitment to non-interventionism in the Neutrality Act of 1793. "The Great rule of conduct for us," proclaimed George Washington, "in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible... It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." Thomas Jefferson further lauded the virtue of strategic independence, in proclaiming: "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." John Quincy Adams surmised, "America does not go abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." Some of our "monsters" in recent years whether Osama Bin Ladin or Saddam Hussain were actually considered our allies. Moreover, these "monsters" were foreign aid recipients and are actually "monsters" of our own countenance at one time. In my humble opinion, America's security lies in a foreign policy based on strategic independence and armed neutrality, not in reckless intervention abroad or in countless foreign entanglements, alliances, and commitments to international bodies like the United Nations. Many people see the Second World War as a defining case against non-interventionism, but if they studied history more objectively than they would see how American intervention in the so called war to end all wars, the Great War, in fact paved the way for the Great Crusade

How we got to where we are, and the price we've paid.

_The Costs of War_ thoroughly examines how the US has gone from being a peaceful republic to the empire it is today. From the Civil War to the Spanish-American War and the World Wars, the essays in this volume tell you about the individuals who deliberately turned the country against its long-standing isolationist tradition, and how and why they did it. More importantly, in keeping with its title, the book also describes the high price we've paid for the warfare state, not only in human lives, but also in damage to the economy, the culture, and especially liberty.This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand what's going on in the world today in the context of what has gone before. The information and ideas here are extremely important, now moreso than ever, and I give the book my highest possible recommendation.

Absolutely nothing . . . .

This work - originating in a conference at the Ludwig von Mises Institute - analyzes America's wars (and to a certain extent war in general) - in terms of Misesian and revisionist thought. While America has exerted enormous influence on the world through war and foreign intervention, their costs - in terms of lives, freedom, and prosperity - has been enormous. For those who are familiar with paleoconservative and libertarian thought, the essays will have a familiar ring. For those whose knowledge of "conservatism" is limited to the "conservative" talking heads and think tankers, these essays will be eye-openers.I enjoyed all the essays, but some deserve particular attention. Allan Carlson's "The Military as an Engine of Social Change" shows how war not only leads to an increase in power, but also is used by government to change the family. This aspect of war never seems to get much attention from the neoconservative hawks. Murray Rothbard contributes a typically brilliant essay on leftist intellectuals who pushed America into World War I. As usual, Rothbard sees the "big picture," integrating both the men and movements that led to U.S. involvement in perhaps the greatest tragedy in human history. His discussion of John Dewey is brilliant. Ralph Raico contributes an excellent "take down" of Winston Churchill. One essay I particularly enjoyed was Paul Gottfried's "Is Modern Democracy Warlike?" Prof. Gottfried points out that - for all his brilliance in economics - von Mises didn't understand American democracy. The seeds of big government are present in the democratic system, just as much (if not more) than in other systems. Hans-Herman Hoppe (another contributor) develops this theme in great detail in his book DEMOCRACY - THE GOD THAT FAILED.

Wither'd Garland of War

By David Gordon -- The contributors to this outstanding volume have grasped a simple but unfashionable truth: war is a great evil. It entails horrible suffering and death on a large scale and has served as the principal means for the rise of the tyrannical state. Why then, do wars take place? So far as the wars of the United States, the chief subject of the book, are concerned, the contributors place the main blame on intellectuals and power- hungry politicians, often in the service of "merchants of death." But a preliminary question first demands attention. Granted the manifest horrors of war, does it follow that all wars are morally forbidden? Such a course would quickly ensure disaster, since a people that totally renounced war would be ripe for invasion. As Hilaire Belloc's couplet puts it, "Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight;/But roaring Bill, who killed him, thought it right." Murray Rothbard answers our question with characteristic insight: "My own view of war can be put simply; a just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already existing domination. A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them" (p. 119). In order fully to bring out Rothbard's doctrine, one needs to add a corollary: "A people ought to fight only in just wars." (This corollary is needed because, in Rothbard's definition, a war can fit neither the just nor unjust class.) But an obvious objection arises to Rothbard's account; and we can see much of The Costs of War as a response to that objection. Few besides pacifists will doubt the justice of defensive wars, but many think that other wars also count as just. In particular, is not war sometimes needed to bring down tyrants who violate human rights? What of the Southern slaves in antebellum America, or the Jews persecuted by Hitler? Surely war was needed to rescue these oppressed groups. So, at any rate, conventional textbooks tell us; but our contributors dissent. Wars allegedly fought on moral grounds (other than defensive wars) fail to help the oppressed. Quite the contrary, they make matters worse for them. But how can our authors say this? Did not the Civil War, e.g., end slavery? Clyde Wilson, our foremost authority on the thought of John C. Calhoun, has an answer: "And of what did freeing the slaves consist? At the Hampton Roads conference, Alexander Stephens asked Lincoln what the freedmen would do, without education or property. Lincoln's answer: 'Root, hog, or die.' Not the slightest recognition of the immense social crisis presented to American society by millions of freedmen. The staple agriculture of the South, the livelihood of the blacks as well as the whites, was destroyed" (p. 165). Well, however badly off the ex-slaves, were they not at least free? No doubt; but very likely slavery would have soon ended without the nee

Denson might be right!

The sub-title of this book is "America's Pyrrhic Victories." In the introduction, it says, "In 280 B.C., Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, sent his army to invade Italy. In two glorious victories, at Heraclea (280 B.C.) and at Asculum (279 B.C.), Pyrrhus crushed the Romans, and sent them into retreat. However, in the course of his victories, Pyrrhus sustained immense losses. These losses later led to his defet and death, when he no longer could call upon an army that had died during his conquests. Thus, a victory won at such great costs that the losses outweigh the gains is referred to as a pyrrhic victory."That sums up what this volume means by "The Costs of War." The 18 contributors argue that in most of the wars in which the U.S. has been involved, the "costs" of the war were far greater than the "gains." Consider, for example, the Spanish-American War, generally considered a fun little war in which the U.S. kicked Spain's butt, and freed Cuba and the Phillipines. However, this book shows how the real outcome was that the U.S.essentially BECAME Spain--that is, the U.S. became an imperialistic nation with obligations, commitments, and headaches all around the globe--headaches from which we still suffer today.Some of the chapters cover broad ideas and the sweep of history (i.e., a chapter on the Classical Republicanism of Great Britain and the American colonies). Others cover specific wars (American Revolution, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II). Some chapters deal with specific individuals (Lincoln, Churchill), and some deal with the cultural effects of war (effects on literature, tolerance, geographic population mobility, and the general de-civilizing of the 20th century).This is an astonishingly powerful book. I was so impressed, I bought one for my father. He was so impressed that he actually read it!
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