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War Generation: How Will a Culture of Permanent War Impact America's Future?

Thursday, November 29, 2012
6:00 PM

Featuring Thomas Duncan, Economist, George Mason University; Steven Kull, Director, Program on International Policy Attitudes and Senior Research Scholar, Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland; and Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; moderated by Malou Innocent, Foreign Policy Analyst, Cato Institute.

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Although America's all-volunteer military absorbs much of the burden of war, military conflicts impact our entire society. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are projected to cost over $3 trillion, have also led to changes in domestic politics that have curtailed civil liberties, expanded intrusive government practices, and bypassed congressional war powers. Over the past decade, America's post-9/11 wars have also transformed our political discourse, popular culture, and social relations. These changes have produced a generation of young Americans who are not only less accustomed to peace, but also more accustomed to ceding power to government.

Will the current state of U.S. foreign policy embed war-making in the DNA of the next generation, or will over a decade of perpetual war eventually be rejected in favor of a renewed preference for liberty and peace?

Drawing on his recent work at George Mason University, Mercatus Dissertation Fellow Duncan will describe the political economy of the military-industrial complex and the side effects of military spending. Steven Kull, the director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, will discuss the American electorate's changing attitudes toward U.S. military intervention overseas and America's role in the world. Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, will explore why the biggest increases in the size and scope of government power have historically been during times of war, and why perpetual war diminishes America's security, freedom, and prosperity.

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