Tag Archives: War

Ready, Set – Surrender!


Holy Cow

warWars can drag on forever. History tells of the Hundred Years’ War, the Eighty Years’ War and the Thirty Years’ War. For us, the 2001-2014 Afghanistan War was America’s longest conflict. (Although it’s often hard to tell when a war is really a “war”; click here to learn about some of Uncle Sam’s undeclared wars.)

Yet sometimes wars wrap up with surprising swiftness. Take history’s shortest war. How long do you think it lasted? A year? A month? A week? Not even close. Continue reading

The Pig War: How a Hungry Swine (Almost) Caused An Armed Conflict

PigOver the years, America has gone to war for a variety of reasons. The Revolution was about winning independence. In the War Between the States, it was ending slavery or defending state’s rights, depending on your point of view. World War I was “making the world safe for democracy,” and World War II was triumphing over some truly Bad Guys.

But never in our nation’s 239 year history have we ever gone to war over an animal.

Yet we came frighteningly close to a trans-Atlantic conflict over one in 1859. Continue reading

The War That’s Always Nearby

 Civil War

So there they were at 96 Wentworth Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina last Wednesday morning. A construction crew on the College of Charleston campus, busily preparing the site of a new vegan and vegetarian cafeteria (to each their own, I guess) due to open next year. Then something unexpectedly turned up, and everything stopped.

It seems an unexploded Civil War ordnance shell had been peacefully resting on the grounds of The Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center for a century and half without anybody knowing it was there. Continue reading

When is a “War” a War?

“Everybody says this here thing we’re involved in ain’t a real war. Congress says it ain’t a war. The President says it ain’t a war. ‘Course the guys over there getting shot at say it’s the best damned imitation they ever saw.”     -Will Rogers

2014America’s men and women in uniform are once again in harm’s way. Last week, the U.S. launched a series of deadly attacks on terrorist targets in Syria. Some in Washington are going out of their way to avoid calling it a war; others are almost enthusiastically using the same word. I’m not getting into that debate. But it does raise an interesting question: at what point does an armed conflict become a war? Continue reading