“This is the American era of endless war.”

Afghan children play with plastic guns in Bagram. Massoud Hossaini / AFP/Getty Images.

On Sunday The Washington Post ran a harrowing story about the “era of endless war” that the United States is settling into—in its politics, its military, its society as a whole.

Today, radical religious ideologies, new technologies and cheap, powerful weapons have catapulted the world into “a period of persistent conflict,” according to the Pentagon’s last major assessment of global security. “No one should harbor the illusion that the developed world can win this conflict in the near future,” the document concludes.

Later on, after a discussion of veteran’s lives and video games, the article turns to what has become of what used to be normal:

“Peace” … has become something of a dirty word in Washington foreign-policy circles. Earlier this year, the House voted to cut all funding for the congressionally funded U.S. Institute of Peace.

Although the money was eventually restored, the institute’s leadership remains convinced that the word “peace” in its name was partially to blame for its woes. The word is too abstract and academic, said Richard Solomon, the institute’s president.


“Peace doesn’t reflect the world we are dealing with,” he said.

The kind of hubris that leads to this perverted view of the world is captured eloquently, of all places, in the video game Modern Warfare 2:

“We are the most powerful force in the history of the world,” an American general bellows at his soldiers. “Every fight is our fight.”

No, actually, it isn’t.