In 1984, George Orwell’s novel about a dystopian near-future society, Oceania was constantly at war with one of its geopolitical rivals. The grandfatherly yet sinister O’Brien later admitted that victory over Eurasia or Eastasia was not the war’s objective – the ongoing conflict was simply an excuse for the totalitarian government to intervene in peoples’ affairs.

The United States is in the midst of several wars, many of which are against rather amorphous opponents. Case in point: the war on drugs. It’s not exactly like Oceania’s war against Eurasia/Eastasia, but there are some common elements. Both conflicts are seemingly endless, and both have political overtones. Perhaps most significantly, in both conflicts, bystanders are caught in the crossfire. Read More