There is a new normal in America: our government may shut down, but our wars continue. Congress may not be able to pass a budget, but the U.S. military can still launch commando raids in Libya and Somalia, and the military-industrial complex can still dominate the world’s arms trade.
Encouraging politicians to seek seemingly low-cost, Olympian solutions to complex human problems—like Zeus hurling thunderbolts from the sky—has fostered fantasies of illimitable power emboldened by contempt for human life. But the mortals on the receiving end have shown surprising strength in frustrating the designs of the air power gods. The fact requires explanation.