Category Archives: war

Pentagon Lawyer Looks Post-Terror – The Wall Street Journal: Is the War on Terror winding down

The Obama administration to its credit has wanted from the start to dial back the ‘war’ in the War on Terror.  It’s about time.

When terror became an issue and stopping Al Qaeda a priority waging war seemed appropriate; after all our soil had been attacked and more blood spilled than at Pearl Harbor.  But even at the start their was and is a problem with this the war paradigm.

Wars normally happen over limited and demarcated dimension of time and space.  They begin and end and thankfully for American have mostly been fought overseas for more than the last century and a half.

The War on Terror was different.  While it had a clear starting date of September 11, 2001 (though in many ways it might have been earlier, the fall of shah of Iran maybe), what would signal it s end seemed much less clear.

This raised a lot of questions.  We have wanted to treat the captured fighters as prisoners  of War; but since this war may not end for a long time:  would we ever release them?   The front included not just remote lands but here at home to.  This has raised questions of how to protect our civil liberties.  We’ve tolerated a lot, and I would argue too much in this regard.  I dislike flying because of the heavy handed security that you must tolerate to do so.

The administration in the article that follows appears to be ramping the war down.

Enjoy full access to The Wall Street Journal Tablet Edition:

While this will be controversial, I think it is much better than an endless war.  The longer the War on Terror goes on, the more it endanger our liberties at home.  The longer we will hold detainee with no timely process to determine their culpability.  Both undermine the devotion of this country to the Freedom we purport to treasure.

The war paradigm has been overused to say the least.  We have a War on Drugs; and the War on Terror.  There may be others.  The War on Drugs has had costs in reduced freedom and increased power for the state as well.  The invoking of war as a motive seems to motivate a lot of people, so the politicians like it. 

Often time though, I’m reminded of 1984.   Global power waging endless war against one another, and using those wars to justify and maintain totalitarian control at home.  It’s an exaggeration to say that’s where we are now.  Given time though and the continuation of our wars and cultivation of fondness for that state of mind might get us there.  I’m glad to the extent we back away from war on at least one thing.


Bin Ladin

I think if Obama wants to run on foreign policy he should suggest: he will be more prudent than Mr. Romney or any other Republican would be, based on their public stances; not that he is or will be more of cowboy than Romney. This: ‘I killed Osama and Romney wouldn’t have’ seems an unproven conjecture at best, and doesn’t play up what I think is a sellable argument: ‘I am and have always been against dumb wars’. Obama has campaigned on that in the past to good effect.

With the exception of Ron Paul, every GOP candidate in the debates seemed out to suggest that he (or she) would be quicker than Obama to go the military route with Iran and maybe other adversaries. I think the coutry is still very war weary, and I think Romney and most Republicans are vulnerable to be accused that they support our troops by putting them in harm’s way as often as possible.

War? War.

How Conservatives Drove Me Away

via War? War..

Putting Words in someone’s mouth is bad, putting them in a Dead Soldier’s Mouth is much worse

I get a lot of right wing email forwarded to me.  Some I agree with, but mostly they annoy me.  The one’s I dislike the most put words in the mouth of people.  I’ve seen messages that attribute an angry xenophobic diatribe to Bill Cosby, he didn’t write it.  Attributing it Cosby who I associate with a message of tolerance is absurd.  Putting your words in someone’s mouth that they don’t agree with is more than dishonest.  I’ve seen similar things done to Robin Williams, and Lee  Iacocca.

Maybe worst of all is putting words in a soldier’s mouth, arguably dead soldiers too:


Subject: ACLU I’m not breaking this one
The first picture and the last picture are taken at the beach in Santa Barbara right next to the pier. There is a veterans group that started putting a cross and candle for every death in Iraq and Afghanistan. The amazing thing is that they only do it on the weekends. They put up this graveyard and take it down every weekend.

Guys sleep in the sand next to it and keep watch over it at night so nobody messes with it. Every cross has the name, rank and D.O.B. and D.O.D. on it.

Very moving, very powerful??? So many young volunteers. So many 30 to 40 year olds as well.
Amazing !

Did you know that the ACLU has filed a suit to have all military cross-shaped headstones removed?
Arlington West 1
And another suit to end prayer from the military completely.
They’re making great progress.

The Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus’ name in prayer thanks to the ACLU and our new administration.
Arlington West 2
I’m not breaking this one.
Arlington West 3
If I get it a 1000 times, I’ll forward it a 1000 times!

Please, let us pray…
Please send this on after a short prayer. Prayer for our soldiers Don’t break it!

‘Heavenly Father, hold our troops in Your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in this our time of need. Amen.’


So what message is the author sending here?   I think its:  that our soldiers are brave and these crosses are a tribute to that bravery and now, having used that tribute to incite patriotic feelings, let’s change the subject to this Godless administration and ACLU, so you can find another reason to take your country back.!

Unfortunately, what’s really going on is the use of someone else again to send a message that the person wouldn’t agree with again.  If you poke around to find out about the crosses you find out they’re the work of Veterans for Peace

I don’t think they support the jingoistic spin that I pick up in the email, and there is more.  The claim that you’re supposed to be enraged about having had your patriotic feelings stirred up is false also.  There is no movement afoot to eliminate prayer in the military.  The details are here

In fairness, I suppose the Veterans for Peace are using the dramatization of the number of their comrades in arms that have fallen in combat to make a political point also, but as veterans I think they have some right to do so.  The use of their work in this email is just another case of putting words in someone’s mouth they wouldn’t agree with, and the anonymous use of dead soldiers’ mouths to make point that at least some of them likely wouldn’t agree with.

American Citizens on U.S. Soil May be Indefinitely Detained, Sent to Guantanamo or Assassinated

The Big Picture

via American Citizens on U.S. Soil May be Indefinitely Detained, Sent to Guantanamo or Assassinated.

I hope the New Republic is right: Why The Romney Doctrine Won’t Resemble The Bush Doctrine | The New Republic

I hope the New Republic has this right. My greatest fear if Obama is defeate (as I think it possible though far from inevitable) it that war with Iran follows in short order. That would prove we learned nothing from the Iraq fiasco, and we’re repeating it.

The Republican presidential primary has provided ample display of the party’s penchant for bellicosity in foreign affairs, and last night’s debate was no exception. It’s a posture that’s understandably gotten many liberals worried about a reprisal of the famously interventionist Bush Doctrine. “God help us if any of these jokers makes it into the White House,” wrote Fred Kaplan of Slate after watching the previous GOP’s national security debate.

But maybe liberals shouldn’t fret so much. Yes, imagining any of the various Republican novelty candidates as the next commander-in-chief is a frightening prospect. But if we assume that the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney, wins the nomination, it seems unlikely that he’ll be inclined to reenact the presidency of George W. Bush.

via Barron YoungSmith: Why The Romney Doctrine Won't Resemble The Bush Doctrine | The New Republic.

American Empire: Do We Still Live in a Uni-Polar World?



Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc

This week’s Lexington column in The Economist discusses the eagerness of some people to brand the U.S.’s bilateral, backseat role in Libya as evidence of an Obama Doctrine. Libya hasn’t defined an Obama Doctrine, The Economist argues, so much as “repudiated an old one.” The old one being the Powell Doctrine, the centerpiece of the two-decade (and counting?) era of U.S.-led unipolarity, following its half-century Cold War period of bi-polarity with the Soviet Union.

Now, with the Group of 20 set to replace the Group of 7, there’s debate among political economists about what sort of global power structure will emerge next, or if we’re already in one. An obvious possibility is a bi-polar system between the U.S. and China. Richard Haas of the Council on Foreign Relations believes we’ve already entered into what he calls an age of non-polarity, in which nation-states compete with non-state actors for power: multi-national corporations, NGO’s, terrorists. That’s certainly close to what’s playing out in Libya. The first country to act was France, with its sizable oil contracts in Libya.

The closest thing to Haas’s vision of non-polarity in the last century was Europe during the lead-up to World War I. France, Britain, Germany, and Russia struggled for power — just as the British Empire was fading from the height of its Pax Britannica — which actually marks the last time a uni-polar global hegemony existed.

American Empire: Do We Still Live in a Uni-Polar World?
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 18:30:07 GMT

“David Broder Calls for War With Iran to Boost the Economy”

What a horrible idea.  There are better ways to spend money to stimulate the economy.  The only reason to do this is because the right might support it.  That’s not enough of a reason.


Economist’s View

via “David Broder Calls for War With Iran to Boost the Economy”.