The Afghanistan Papers Make Clear that America Has a Repentance Problem

Author: Drew Christiansen

December 17, 2019

In an America online "Short Take," Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J., writes that a key takeaway from the Washington Post’s release of the so-called Afghanistan Papers is that Americans have not learned the lessons of their own past failures. He first argues that U.S. civic culture has lost the capacity for repentance. He also cautions against a shallow Niebuhrianism that uncritically legitimates the use of force. Christiansen concludes by insisting that politicians and military professionals must first learn how to lead with the truth to persuade the public of the rightness of the policies they promote and then be willing to accept the consequences of sharing bad news with the public.

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