Tuesday, June 5, 2012

America and War

You can deny it all you want and you can dispute my proposition here, but I am personally convinced that America is a nation enthralled with war.
by Charlie Leck

When Ronald Reagan sent troops into Grenada in 1983 I remember being embarrassed. Really! I was embarrassed.

“Well, perhaps,” I thought, “there is some explanation for this madman’s decision.”

“What the hell is he doing?”
The question was pretty universal in the states. Even Republicans were asking. Even very conservative Republicans were asking. To this day there has not been a meaningful and acceptable explanation for what Reagan did. I’ve written about it before on this blog site. I won’t go into again. I bring it up now to create the pattern I want to write about. America goes to war far too easily?

Earlier blogs touching on Granada….

Obviously, there are exceptions. The First World War (“the Great War to end all wars”) and The Second World War are the two clear exceptions. Perhaps, too, so was the Civil War or, as friends in the South like to call it, “the war between the states” or “the war of northern aggression.” Some have convincing arguments that the Korean War (which President Truman persisted in calling a “police action”) was also necessary. Historically, I am not so convinced.

The little skirmish with Mexico (the Mexican-American War) that preceded the Civil War, however, was a complete farce and should have embarrassed all Americans of that time. For the record, it did not.

Of all America’s wars, the most useless, wasteful, tragic and unnecessary was the war in Iraq. Remember why we went? Remember? WMD! Remember the expression? Weapons of Mass Destruction. It turned out to be one of the great fictions in the history of presidential flim-flam. Today, members of that administration (such as Colin Powell) are embarrassed about what happened (but do not include the Vice President, Dick Cheney, among those with red faces). Mind you, the war in Iraq only cost us a couple trillion dollars (trillion!). I’d be embarrassed, too. Come to think of it, I am embarrassed.

My Tea Party friends would respond to this by saying: “You must never be embarrassed to be an American!” My reply to that is to argue that such thinking is exactly what gets us into trouble.

What motivates today’s rant?
You are probably wondering why I want to go off on embarrassing American wars today. It’s nice out! The baseball season is in full bloom. The Twins even won a couple of games lately. I ate a lovely lamb stew last night (with tasty parsnips and turnips substituted for the potatoes). My children are all well. So are my grandchildren. I had a good report from my doctor yesterday. There are the cutest baby wild turkeys meandering around behind their mother in the yard this morning. Why am I in such a foul (fowl) mood?

The Karzai Family
I’ll tell you why. I sat down in a Starbucks this morning with a wonderful latt
é in front of me and a tasty blueberry scone right at hand. I opened the day’s NY Times and read about the Karzai family (in Afghanistan) and how they have profited to the tune of millions and millions by our nation’s involvement in the Afghanistan War. (It’s a remarkable report by James Risen: Intrigue in Karsai Family Clouds Afghanistan’s Fate.)


“Yes, I mean it!” The bastards have banked millions and millions and millions through utterly deceptive practices and they are not even red-faced about it all. A lot of what they’ve banked was intended to be aide money for the Afghan people or funds used to train their military.

Several of the Karzai folks have escaped to America. They live on comfortably in Maryland and Virginia.

Count it as one more worthless, stupid, irresponsible and unnecessary war! We went there to get Mr. Osama bin Laden. Instead we involved ourselves in a culture and political system that we don’t understand and that has problems to solve beyond our understanding and abilities. Count it as one more amazing American war without a mission.

There have been too many stupid, irresponsible and unnecessary wars in American history. You can trace the blame to leaders of both major political parties or to political parties that existed before the current political parties.

Is it the price that comes with being a super-power – a nation at the very core of global politics? It may. Yet, it’s been no fun and it has been too big a cost in human lives. Too many of our own lives have been disrupted and ruined. There’s been too much mourning, sorrow, pain and insanity caused by constant and horrible war.

Hasn’t civilization advanced far enough that we can find ways to settle problems without wars?

“We don’t want no war no more – no more – We don’t want no war no more!” [Wyclef Jeanelle Jean]

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1 comment:

  1. Right on! To make matters worse we're not even good at playing war. Haven't clearly won a war since WWII.