I only got to watch the first 30 minutes of Up with Chris Hayes, but it was a good thirty minutes. We need more open discussion of war and America's foreign interventions. 9/11 has created a spirit of war that has to be reasoned out if we're ever going to make the 21st century smarter than the 20th century.
We've heard a lot in the last decade about the right to life, civil liberties, gay rights, liberty, fairness, etc, but, except for the antiwar movement during Bush's presidency, which now reveals more anti-Bush activity than anti-war activity, we've seen very little analysis of war and the efficacy of our mideast policy. To make this clear, I think pacificists are misguided, because self defense is necessary and moral. If an individual chooses a pacifist position, then that is admirable if the person chooses the consequences of such a position, but to urge a general pacific position for a nation is irrational. A country has a right and obligation to defend itself from attack. But unless there is a strict doctrine of non-interventionism except in cases of attack or when our national security is under imminent threat, we are susceptible to the powers that benefit from war.
The spirit of a country is important. A country such as America, which values life and liberty, should naturally promote peace and use its military only in extreme situations, and should never develope the spirit of war. The dearth of proponents for peace, and the great number of those who rationalize every US military intervention as warranted, is troubling. Once a Democrat became President, the anti-war movement dispersed. You have to look hard for a representaive in DC who takes a non-interventionist position regarding foreign affairs. There is much patriotic hoopla surrounding our military actions and very little objective critique regarding the wisdom of our interventions. We've been at war for a decade, and many recommend that we extend our military presence in the mideast -- some say for fifty years! If someone suggests a non-interventionist, strictly defensive doctrine, they are smeared as an isolationist.
In many ways, Americans are sheltered from our military interventions, because the wars are not fought in our cities. If we all had to suffer from the consequences of war like the families of dead or severely injured soldiers, we'd have a different perspective, and we would want to know that without a doubt the wars are vital to our national security. We wouldn't allow our government to enter wars so easily.
How many Americans have thought deeply about the mideast interventions? How many have simply accepted the decisions of our leaders? With polls showing the public has little faith in our government regarding the direction of our economy, when it comes to war the American people, for the most part, have unqualified faith that the wars are necessary and moral. The US has built the largest and most lethal military in history. War is a profitable industry for many large corporations, and, again, with so many people protesting the power of large, protected corporations, there is little mention of the military/industrial complex and the incentives it has to continue this geared up war on terrorism. Are we waiting on the war machine to tell us enough is enough?
Our soldiers are exhausted, and there is nothing to be gained at this point from troops remaining in Afghanistan. Yet, there is talk from the hawks that we should expand our interventions to Pakistan and Iran. Where does this all end? Is there an end, or are we in a perpetual war against a relatively small number of terrorists?
Have we really left Iraq? Hayes brought up some important points about war and the state of the State and America in 2011.