On Losing Wars

It’s been almost 70 years since America has won a war. We won WWII because we knew what our goals were and we ruthlessly pursued them. Since then, we’ve halfheartedly pursued ill-defined goals.

The Korean War is technically still ongoing. 1953 brought an armistice not a victory. We didn’t win in Viet Nam. Grenada and Panama weren’t real wars. Desert Storm freed Kuwait, but we had to come back and clean up the mess we made. If anyone thinks we won the cleanup match, I suggest they visit Fallujah. Bombing Serbia? Afghanistan?

But the two worst defeats were not overseas. We’ve also lost the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty. 50 years and 20 trillion dollars later, the percentage of American’s living in poverty is still around 15 percent. Back in the ’60s, most of the poor were working poor. They had jobs but couldn’t make ends meet. Now, we have created a new class of idle poor who make ends meet because of support from over 80 means-tested federal programs. 50 years ago, the poor were often hungry. These days, the poor are often overweight and suffering from diabetes.

LBJ’s stated goal for the War on Poverty was “to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities.”

We have failed.

8 thoughts on “On Losing Wars


  1. While I agree in theory that the supposed “War on Poverty” has not accomplished its goals, I am a person who has lived below the so-called poverty line, and I can attest that there are still plenty of working poor and plenty of hungry poor.


    • As someone who has worked through various church ministries to help the poor, I know that the working poor exist. I also know how their lives are made more difficult by many government programs allegedly designed to help them.


        • No, I didn’t.

          I believe that those of us who are better off have an obligation to help the poor. The War on Poverty has hurt more than it has helped. It’s time to admit defeat and do something helpful instead.


  2. Why should the .gov do anything different, they have an extremely successful jobs program employing the hundreds of thousands of drone workers who run the programs. The SEIU is the true client of the War on Poverty, not the people who are supposed to be assisted.

    Most of the reason 15% still live in ‘poverty’ is because that is the way the .gov defines the poverty level, not by any objective measure. No matter how much we increase everyone’s standard of living there will be a bottom 15% to justify spending even more money on assistance programs…

  3. Pingback: DeRP’s Views You Can Use 01.10.2014 | Dead Republican Party (DeRP)

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