The Liberal Hawks

I used to think I was a liberal hawk. After all, I considered the Soviet Union an Evil Empire, believe that the US involvement in Vietnam was defensible though ultimately a strategic mistake, strongly supported Desert Storm and the war against the Taliban and Al Qaida in Aghanistan and agree with Barack Obama that if the US has actionable intelligence about Al Qaida in Pakistan, the US should strike if Pakistan will not. That's pretty hawkish you must admit.

But Glenn Greenwald disabuses me of this notion:

[T]here is virtually no debate within the foreign policy establishment about whether the U.S. has the right to continue to intervene and attack and invade and occupy other countries in the absence of those countries attacking us. . . . [I]t is an implicit, unexamined belief among our foreign policy elites that the U.S. is entitled, more or less, to use military force even in the absence of being attacked or threatened with attack.

When the heck did this happen? Even Iraq was sold as a "growing and gathering threat." And that was the big debate about preventive vs. preemptive war. The idea of preemptive war is one launched in the face of an imminent threat. General Wes Clark explained it well in 2002:

The President and his national security team must deploy imagination, leverage, and patience in crafting UN engagement. In the near term, time is on our side, and we should endeavor to use the UN if at all possible. This may require a period of time for inspections or even the development of a more intrusive inspection program, if necessary backed by force. This is foremost an effort to gain world-wide legitimacy for US concerns and possible later action, but it may also impede Saddam’s weapons programs and further constrain his freedom of action. Yes, there is a risk that inspections would fail to provide the evidence of his weapons programs, but the difficulties of dealing with this outcome are more than offset by opportunity to gain allies and support in the campaign against Saddam. . . . Force should be used as the last resort; after all diplomatic means have been exhausted, unless information indicates that further delay would present an immediate risk to the assembled forces and organizations. This action should not be categorized as “preemptive.”

In January 2004, Clark said:

Let me be clear: I have always been against George Bush's war in Iraq. Not because Saddam Hussein wasn't a threat. But because Saddam wasn't an imminent threat. Not because it wasn't right to confront Iraq. But because President Bush failed to use every diplomatic weapon at his disposal before deploying our service men and women.

(Emphasis supplied.) Of course, Iraq was a strategic blunder of historic proportions not only because the niceties of international law were not observed. It was a blunder mainly because of the predicatble catastrophe that followed.

But let's not let this point of international law just be elided. The United States has at least honored the letter of that international norm because it was extremely wise to set that standard. To wit, it is in the best interests of the United States if the need for an imminent threat be the standard to justify the use of military force. and not just as a question of international prestige. It is common sense. Who does not agree that military force should only be used as a last resort? When is military force the last resort? When an attack has occurred or is imminent.

Now here is my question, when did it become foreign policy orthodoxy, as opposed to neocon insanity, that this is not the norm? Greenwald quotes one Michael Cohen to this effect. Is Michael Cohen insane? Is that now how we define liberal hawks? If so, that must be changed and people like Michael Cohen and Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack must be excluded from Democratic administrations, indeed, from the Democratic side of the foreign policy debate. Their views are extreme and dangerous.

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    pre-emptive war (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by FightforJustice on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 12:01:47 PM EST
    Let's get every Democratic candidate on the record about his or her position regarding the US launching a war when we don't face imminent attack. If it was wrong for Bush, it would be wrong for President Hillary or Barack.

    Great, although... (none / 0) (#25)
    by jr on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:17:33 PM EST
    ...what Obama's been taking heat for is a statement regarding a proposed response to the 9/11 attacks--namely, setting Westphalian sovereignty aside in favor of capturing or killing the leader of the group that staged the attack.

    I don't think the point of contention has so much been candidate stances on when they'd consider an attack, but rather whether an incursion into Pakistan to finish the response to the last major attack is warranted.


    Also to prevent future attacks (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:19:28 PM EST
    Are people really saying... (none / 0) (#29)
    by jr on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:27:36 PM EST
    ...we shouldn't preempt imminent threats?  That seems an odd development.

    Jeez, it IS weird to be among the hawkish again, isn't it?  The other day I was floored by that CNN poll saying a majority of respondents wouldn't favor military action in Pakistan to take out al Qaeda command and control.  Hell, the major reason I supported the war in Afghanistan and opposed the war in Iraq was that I thought one would be useful in crippling al Qaeda and the other would have the reverse effect.  

    Has it really become hawkish to think that capturing OBL, even if we have to cross a border to do it, is a good idea on the whole (especially when regime change is not on the agenda)?


    That seems tobe what they are saying (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:41:18 PM EST
    The dilemma.. (none / 0) (#35)
    by Roger Mexico on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:57:56 PM EST
    ... is, of course, to detect what is or is not an imminent threat. Greenwald's point is that the foreign policy establishment (and I agree with him) is exceptionally lazy when discussing this. They presume that the US can and should intervene, or threaten intervention, for a wide range of "threats," regardless of the real world consequences if such an intervention were to actually occur. In fact, arguing about those real world consequences is something that will get you accused of being "unserious."

    I agree with posters below that this is something that has been a feature of US foreign policy for a long time.


    It's a side effect (none / 0) (#43)
    by coigue on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 04:07:21 PM EST
    of the rampant abuse of the public trust WRT the use of military force.

    No Lets define "Hawk" (none / 0) (#51)
    by Fr33d0m on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 09:17:28 PM EST
    We have a group of self important "serious" people that actually think we should be in Iraq.  Do they deserve the label "Hawk" as most people define that label?

    Is a hawk someone in favour of war for war's sake or someone who, understanding the limitations on the use of military power, believes that the military is a key element of our overall foreign policy.

    What I'm suggesting here is that we define Hawk in a way that serves us rather than getting the candidates to give another sound bite.


    You may still be a liberal hawk. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by kindness on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:49:29 PM EST
    As Glenn's post points out, just because the Brookings Institute et al have prostituted themselves to the Masters of War in this world doesn't mean your views aren't aggressive and hawkish to some degree.  Contrarily, it just shows you have reasoned judgment and the O'Hanlon's of the world are just circle jerking each other at the expense of Americans that let them do the thinking for them.

    Stick to your guns guy.

    Now you see why the IWR is such a deal-breaker for (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Geekesque on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:49:59 PM EST
    some of us folks.

    Whoever voted for that pig of a bill explicitly voted to authorize a preventive war.  Hillary voted against most and Edwards voted against all amendments designed to restrain Bush's authority to wage war to situations involving an imminent threat.

    As much as they can hem and haw, apologize or blame Bush, they bought into the idea of invading a country that wasn't any kind of imminent threat to us.

    Help me here (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:29:20 PM EST
    I don't see how anyone can be as "liberal hawk."

    It's a contradiction in terms, like "moral neo-con."  You can't display both qualities.

    After all, being a liberal hawk meant you didn't pay any attention to the fact that everyone was lying about Iraq.  No matter what my political philosophy, the fact that Mr. Bush and Colin Powell were caught lying repeatedly would have caused me to question their motivation.  Since Mr. Bush already had a long record of being a liar and a corrupt incompetent, I integrated those facts, along with the fact that he was lying about Iraq, and I came to the obvious conclusion that it wasn't a good idea.

    It still boggles me that others couldn't do the math.  This isn't adding two and two, this is counting to four on your fingers. (To prevent the obvious troll talking point, I am aware that a number of prominent Democrats cough*Hillary*cough are similarly incapable of counting on their fingers.)

    If you are/were a hawk, please spare me the rhetoric about being "liberal."  You aren't.

    I was just using a phrase (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:34:06 PM EST
    But let's be serious, of course I could be a liberal hawk. It is ridiculous to argue someone could not be.

    Suppose, for example, I was a Nernie Sanders socialist on domestic issues but a Lieberman idiot on FP.

    What would that make me?

    What does the word liberal mean to you? Or hawk?

    What was Harry Truman?

    Your comment is quite silly frankly.

    As for this:

    "After all, being a liberal hawk meant you didn't pay any attention to the fact that everyone was lying about Iraq."

    I opposed the Iraq War. So what does that tell you?


    Easy (none / 0) (#41)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:51:22 PM EST
    I opposed the Iraq War. So what does that tell you?

    You're not a "hawk," which is a person who supported it.


    Well (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:55:55 PM EST
    If you say so.

    How many people opposed Desert Storm? I supported it.


    "Imagination, leverage and patience..." (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 11:50:54 AM EST
    Three things absolutely and entirely lacking in American politics and diplomacy.  When we actully consider, not even elect, when we just CONSIDER the prospect of a genuinely creative and imaginative person as leader, then I'll think something is possibly going to change.  Until then, it's up to other countries to elect writers, artists, former dissidents, etc., in other words those who have actually had to sacrifice for their position, their mind's health and ability.  

    We have become a political body almost biologically incapable of thinking creatively.  

    That said, I don't really understand how you could have thought Vietnam defensible anymore than Iraq is.  Vietnam was even LESS of a threat to us than Iraq, which was almost none.  Vietnam had been colonized and had experienced the starvation genocide of the French, and we had less than no reason to think we could do ANYthing militarily successful there.  Again, creativity and imagination would've dictated we respond to all those letters from Ho Chi Minh with "We do not agree with the political system you want to go with, but we realize we have been on the side of terrible wrong for decades, and that you have no reason to trust us.  We wish to help you economically, intellectually, technologically, and will do our best to overcome our differences with you in a manner beneficial to both our people's."  

    Instead, we butchered our way to failure and disgrace.

    And supported a war against the Taliban is one thing, supporting THIS war against them, when you had no reason to believe Bush capable, well, you get what you support I suppose.

    Warfare is over for humanity.  It can only create worse problems than it attempts to solve.  In the long run, lacking the political and social imagination we so desperately need but are afraid of, we are doomed.  Period.  We may survive and even "prosper" by some definition, but we will have failed ultimately.

    Dadler (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 12:25:13 PM EST
    Ho was a commnist.

    We weren't on his.


    ....side. (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 12:25:32 PM EST
    There is a lot there (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 12:35:45 PM EST
    but I will focus on Vietnam.

    My view of Vietnam being defensible rest on two basic arguments:

    (1) North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. To argue that we attacked Ho Chi Minh is simply false.

    (2) North Vietnam was allied with our enemy, the Evil Empire the Soviet Union.

    Containment policy argued strongly for supporting the Siuth Vietnamese.

    The reason it was a strategic mistake was what you said, we could not win that war.


    a few pints (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Sailor on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 12:54:02 PM EST
    In 1941, H? returned to Vietnam to lead the Vi?t Minh independence movement. He oversaw many successful military actions against the Vichy French and Japanese occupation of Vietnam during World War II, supported closely but clandestinely by the United States Office of Strategic Services

    There was no excuse for france to occupy VN.

    We escalted VN on a WMD equivalent lie about the Tonkin Gulf 'attack.'

    We were also propping up a dictatorship in SVN and the people there didn't want us involved anymore than the iraqi people do.


    Whether you like it or not (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 12:59:38 PM EST
    South Vietnam was a sovereign nation.

    Ho Chi Minh was nto going to put himself up for election.

    I simply can not accept your idea that Ho was some benign nationalist.

    HE was a hardened Marxist-Leninist with no intention of respecting democracy or human rights in Vietnam.

    Today Vietnam remains an authoritarian regime. The victory of North Vietnam in the war remains a tragedy for the Vietnamese.


    Not sure about your last sentence. Yes, the (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:16:23 PM EST
    regime in Vietnam squelches human rights and freedom of speech but the economy is a China wanna-be.  Intel is going in soon near Ho Chi Minh City.  

    South Korea (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:37:44 PM EST
    could have been the model.

    The Vietnamese are very much (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:49:45 PM EST
    under the influence of China, whether they want to be or not.  The neighboring giant.  

    Perhaps now (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:57:26 PM EST
    But during the Vietnam War, N. Vietnam was in the Soviet orbit.

    When we were in South Korea (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:56:55 PM EST
    We toured the Korean War Memorial.  Now those guys know how to build a memorial.  Every soldier who died named on marble slabs bearing first the name of every nation who answered their plea.  I really hate war memorials but I walked through there with tears in my eyes because North Korea didn't leave them much to fashion a nation out of even after they had secured that nation.  A separate portion of the memorial honors the South Korean soldiers who went to fight with the South Vietnamese and a poem about fighting alongside their brothers that brought tears to my eyes again.  South Korean women also fought, they had their own uniforms and gear and different kits for use in the field.  These were people who meant to win!

    south VN was a dictatorship too ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Sailor on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:35:27 PM EST
    ... they were just our dictators.

    And the split to north and south happened because the french got their butts kicked at dien bien phu.

    If Pres Wilson had listened to Ho before WWII and backed independence instead of french colonialism the outcome would have been very different. And Ho did propose elections and based his call for independence on our Declaration.

    The Domino Theory was just as false an excuse as 'the terrerists are gonna follow us home.'


    Clearly the domino theory (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:37:16 PM EST
    was false.

    Nonetheless, containment policy was not averse to intervening on South Vietnam's behalf.


    South Vietnam was not a sovereign nation (none / 0) (#28)
    by sphealey on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:22:45 PM EST
    in 1945.



    Just a quick note ... (4.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Roger Mexico on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:38:45 PM EST
    This whole thread supports Glenn's thesis. People on both sides of the issue are arguing about the legitimacy of the governments in North or South Vietnam, or various versions of how we were either "fooled in to" intervening (Gulf of Tonkin), but nobody is really dealing with the base question - does the United States have the right to go to war based on a threat, rather than an attack. It is a legitimate question, but it's not being debated even by this crowd.

    So here's MY take. We don't have that right. We may have the right to make military or other (potentially violent) efforts to stop an attack that has been launched against us, but we can not morally justify attacking others based on the threat - we need MUCH more.


    I was asked about it (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:51:17 PM EST
    I mentioned it in my post merely to demonstrate my "hawkish" credentials.

    Surely you do not dispute that it was legitimate for theUnited States to aid an ally under attack do you?


    Actually, in this case, I do (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Roger Mexico on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 08:37:21 PM EST
    We should not have responded. Our foreign policy elite couldn't see how this was different from the Korean War, but they should have, since critics within the US and elsewhere saw clearly from the beginning what a quagmire would result. Even if we concede that the South Vietnamese government was a real, legitimate, representative government, they were dealing with an indigenous insurgency (supported by the North, but still indigenous). Under those circumstances our intervention could only be disastrous.

    As a country our willingness to stick to the letter of treaties has always been subject to the immediate political calculations of the day. We should do a better job of calculating than we have, and in particular we should be very, VERY cautious about shapeless "threats" to our interests. They are almost never a good reason to go to war.


    With whom did we side in Vietnam? (none / 0) (#53)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 10:47:33 PM EST
    I never said we attacked Ho Chi Minh.  I said we sided with the genocidal French (which also made us kindreds with the, at the time, maniacal Japanese), and these were our allies there in spirit tmuch much MUCH more than the South Vietnamese, whom we USED for our fantasical purposes.  To think we could side with genocidal forces and expect any success in the long run was as dumb as dumb gets.  Ho Chi Minh, whatever you choose to thing about the old man, was not Pol Pot, was not Mao, and he wrote letter after letter, begging for our help and we ignored him because we were stupid, unimaginative and malevolent.  Your failure to address this key issue is a tad mystifying, for it points directly to our earliest and most inexcusable failures.  The demonizing of ALL things called communist, wherever they arose, whatever they actually represented, is the same as with Muslims today.  And the result is stunningly similar.

    I especially like your line about Minh would've never put himself up for election.  Same was said about commies by the right for decades and you know what?  They were wrong, just as you are.  Come on, BTD, the right said for years communist regimes would never give up power without bloodbaths.  Guess what, many ended up doing just that.  Fall of the Berlin Wall and all that; hell, unless you forgot, even Daniel Ortega stepped aside when he lost, on the advice of the evil Jimmy Carter.  Minh and elections, please, BTD, you cannot predict a future that was never going to be allowed to happen by outside powers using smaller countries as their political toilets.   Not to mention that at the same time we were going around the world in places like Iran and assasinating "elected" leaders we didn't like.


    When the heck did this happen? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:16:07 PM EST
    [I]t is an implicit, unexamined belief among our foreign policy elites that the U.S. is entitled, more or less, to use military force even in the absence of being attacked or threatened with attack.

    For about the past half century or so....

    "Ancient History": U.S. Conduct in the Middle East
    Since World War Il and the Folly Of Intervention

    Was Germany an imminent threat (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:27:06 PM EST
    to the U.S. when U.S. entered WWII?

    Japan, yes.  Treaties, yes.    

    Germany declared war on the US first (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:35:58 PM EST
    How do you remember all this stuff! Amazing. (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:50:38 PM EST
    How do you not know it? n/t (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 03:15:38 PM EST
    Actually, BTD's reply did not really address (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 02:22:54 AM EST
    whether Germany was a threat to the U.S. Yes, after Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the U.S. and vice versa.  But, the imminent threat to the U.S. was Japan.  

    It never happened, Greenwald is Dead Wrong (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:29:13 PM EST
    I think Greenwald mistook the bluff for the real deal.  America used to have a joker in its hand when it came to how the world perceived our military and it wasn't entirely all smoke and mirrors because we did have a remarkably schooled and supplied military at one time.  When we came to the negotiating tables holding our hand of cards it worked a lot the same way nuclear deterrence works......if we have to go to war with you it is going to be be ugly - and we seldom ever had to even talk about such things.  If America is ever involved in any sort of war where the nation is at risk I don't think we can be beat because the national will will swell the military ranks and we have the best overall training and the equipment to use.  Without a person's family and country being in danger though nobody is going to volunteer to die for anyone's "stunt" or "God like playacting" and then we just end up destroying our military and drastically placing our national security at risk.  I don't know why because it isn't like him, but Greenwald is talking out of his arse.  What has happened though since the Cowboy road in and also believed that the "There is virtually no debate within the foreign policy establishment about whether the U.S. has the right to continue to intervene and attack and invade and occupy other countries in the absence of those countries attacking us" bluff wasn't a bluff is that we have now shown the world our underoos and when an invaded nation HAS THE NATIONAL WILL we don't always win and in fact when we lose we lose big and it takes decades to rebuild our military card.  I can't believe Glenn Greenwald fell this flat on his face.

    I'm sorry but your post (none / 0) (#20)
    by kindness on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 01:51:54 PM EST
    makes absolutely no sense.  It doesn't track what Glenn said & honestly I've read your post 3 times and still can't quite figure out what you want to say.

    Greenwald stated this (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:10:52 PM EST
    "There is virtually no debate within the foreign policy establishment about whether the U.S. has the right to continue to intervene and attack and invade and occupy other countries in the absence of those countries attacking us"

    There exists lots of debate, just isn't listened to.

    The rest of my post is about what happens to our military and then in turn our national security when a "decider" chooses to act in such a way.


    Jimmy Carter also delivered a very (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:15:14 PM EST
    eloquent anti Iraq War speech where he directly addressed his opinion that America's military serves America and the world best when it comes from the position of deterrence and not attack.  It is an opinion that I fully agree with, but it's probably too late for military strength to be considered a deterrence these days.

    And my underoos thing (4.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:27:36 PM EST
    Sorry, I just hang with kids too much.  Seems to me though that when opposing forces are destroying our $7 million Bradleys and our $24 million Apache Longbows with approx $300 worth of black market mortar shells and rpgs that we have made it glaringly obvious to the world that under all of this STUFF all we have on are a pair of Superman Underoos that Santa Claus gave us.  I'd just really rather spend our money cultivating agreements with people some other way ;)

    But we've also made it clear... (4.50 / 2) (#32)
    by jr on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:32:26 PM EST
    ...that no state army on earth can successfully oppose us.  We're bad at asymmetric warfare with nonstate armies, but the guys who work for the government are pretty easy pickings for our 'stuff'.

    If only we would learn to spend more time deterring states and less time fighting guerilla wars against non-state actors.


    So true, now I think I'll cry while our (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 04:09:28 PM EST
    least favorite government officials still in power get scared and begin to feel the need to try to crank out nuclear weapons and also disperse them because hey, America is acting pretty crazy you guys so time to get some America deterring gear.  What a disaster and the whole time our military is running around a guerilla war to no place in their underoos.  I couldn't have destroyed global sanity and stability better if I had had the power and the inclination to do so.

    Thanks for the feedback. (none / 0) (#27)
    by kindness on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:21:55 PM EST
    In that context, it makes much more sense to me.

    I'm in a weird place in the (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 02:29:49 PM EST
    equation.  I'm a serving soldiers wife and tend to have "issues" with things that sometimes people don't easily understand at first.  I like Greenwald a lot.  I suppose I'm sort of shocked today that he put this out because it isn't what I want him to say and he is usually much better at saying what I want him to say ;)

    Does this mean (none / 0) (#45)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 05:18:18 PM EST
    you're going to abandon that slacker Dodd and take up the candidate who dares say this?:

    Does anyone seriously believe that the Iraq War is a defensive war against an enemy that struck us or would have struck us?

    Most Americans now realize that using 19 hijackers armed with knives or box cutters as a pretext for a war in Iraq or for trillions of dollars of additional defense expenditures makes no sense and is about as honest as was the case for war. The terrorists have no submarines, planes, or armies. Yet, a small group of fanatics with small arms has been used to justify some $5,000 per taxpayer per year in military expenditures. It is likely that the war in Iraq will cost each taxpayer about $15,000 above that.

    Militarism not only invites military solutions to diplomatic problems, but also destroys the economic dreams of countless families and ultimately sabotages our entire economy...

    Militarism invites military solutions to diplomatic problems. The key to everything wrong in current U.S. foreign policy.

    Don't follow your logic (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 07:52:17 PM EST
    The foreign policy establishment (none / 0) (#48)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 08:30:57 PM EST
    regardless of party is corrupted - directly and indirectly - by the vast sums of money at stake in continuing the course of militarism the country is on. The imperial presumptions that lead the U.S. to think it has the right to intervene militarily in other countries even when not imminently threatened need to be discussed broadly and publicly. But what are we getting from our candidates instead? The Serious candidates are all talking about rebuilding the broken military, or increasing military funding to take better care of veterans, or how we might need to attack still more countries, for heavens sake. And that's just the Democrats.

    The three candidates who are talking about actually pulling back from imperial adventurism (Kucinich, Gravel, and Paul) and ramping back the military to something approaching what it would actually need to be for a non-imperial, non-aggressive nation have all been branded Unserious as a result.

    This is some strange leap of logic?


    Question (none / 0) (#47)
    by Al on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 07:53:56 PM EST
    Now here is my question, when did it become foreign policy orthodoxy, as opposed to neocon insanity, that this is not the norm?

    When Americans became convinced that their country could do whatever they wanted because they could beat anybody up. Let's face it, if the invasion of Iraq had succeeded, in the sense that the US forces controlled the country, and successfully installed a puppet government that handed over the oil to US companies, there wouldn't be any of this soul-searching going on.

    Apparently the only way Americans can begin to think about cooperating with other countries, and negotiating with rivals, is when they actually try to beat someone up, and fail. Like now.

    Americans are going to have to learn to negotiate, and trade, and compete, and tighten their belts and stop wasting resources, and forget about world domination. It ain't gonna happen, and ignoring this fact just makes everything worse.

    Explains so much! (none / 0) (#50)
    by Marie on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 08:55:44 PM EST
    When did it start -- long ago.  Suggest you read "Overthrow" for a decent summary of the hundred years.  Before that there was Mexico.

    Carroll's "House of War" is excellent for how this all got ginned up over the decades after WWII.

    Chalmers Johnson's trilogy beginning with "Blowback" is also a must read.

    And you must get educate yourself on Vietnam.  How we paid to prop up the French colony after WWII, what we did when the French hung it up, like prevent the national reunification referendum in accordance with the Geneva Accords, the series of corrupt dictators that we supported and in the case of Diem got rid of when he didn't behave, ect.  Two million Vietnamese did not have to die because we had some pathological fear of communism .

    Bombing Japan and Germany to smithereens didn't make them like us, but even they could recognize that we were retaliating against their aggression.    And we helped rebuild their economies.  But both countries had been highly industrialized before the war; more like us.  That was unique and yet we keep trying to replicate that and don't understand why it doesn't work.