The Catch-22 of Modern Wars

A U.S. military helicopter flies over the site of a suicide bombing targeting a NATO convoy in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2017 (AP photo).
A U.S. military helicopter flies over the site of a suicide bombing targeting a NATO convoy in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2017 (AP photo).
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Editor’s note: Guest columnist Sarah Kreps is filling in for Steven Metz, who will be back next week. In the book that introduced the phrase “Catch-22,” the novelist Joseph Heller outlined a fundamental paradox of a fictional war: To be qualified to fly a bombing mission behind enemy lines, an individual had to be sane. But while no sane individual would expose themselves to that kind of suicide mission, asking to be grounded—because you’re crazy and can’t fly—revealed the mind of a rational individual, so he would have to fly more missions. Modern American wars now have their own Catch-22 […]

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