Saturday, August 31, 2013

War and Reason

One of the most expensive and wealth-destroying activities of a government is war.  It can wreck the economy of a country and bring sorrow and death to its best people. If we are going to commence a war, it ought to be worth the sacrifice and expense of the soldiers and taxpayers who will bear the burden. That's why the founders made a Declaration of War a Congressional prerogative.

James Holmes, the Naval Diplomat, had posted "On Syria, Don't Bark Louder Than You Bite."  By continually making threats with the hope that your opponent will change, you leave yourself with no option but to carry out the threat or lose important credibility.  This is ordinary common sense, but common sense in this regard (and others) has eluded every Administration since 1941.

In the cover story of the January/February 2007 issue of The New Individualist magazine, Sherrie Gossett used our involvement in the breakup of Yugoslavia as an example of "The Democrats' Model War:"

Observe that while most liberals (and many conservatives) recoil from any self-interested projection of American military might abroad, they fall all over themselves to demonstrate “pure, selfless motives” by launching military actions like those in Kosovo, where America had no vital interests at risk, but precious lives and treasure to sacrifice.

For such people, the hideous real-world consequences of their altruistic crusades pale in the face of their “idealistic” motives. For them, in truth, “good intentions” are the only reality—with “good” being defined as “selfless.” The logic of the selflessness ethos is inescapable: We should engage in warfare only when we have nothing to gain from it.

The moral self-deception continues to this day. Even as the brutal ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s minorities by racists and fascists goes on, the Clintons—former president and presidential aspirant alike—continue to tout the military adventure in the Balkans as a victory for “democratic values” of humanitarianism and multicultural tolerance. Their selfless war, they insist, stands as an idealistic model of how a future Democratic administration should and would employ American military power abroad.

Consider that fair warning
Allowing tyrants to arm-up, especially in an unstable area where war is likely, is a risk to regional if not world stability; and there is some merit to ensuring sufficient stability in regions where our oil supplies originate.  But selflessly making war to export "democracy" has never resulted in the kind of democracy we had hoped to benefit us -- witness Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc.  War for that reason is just plain stupid and it  exposes hypocrisy so patent that it confirms the third world's view that the U.S. has imperialist designs that threaten their independence. That in itself is destabilizing.

If our government is too embarrassed to openly state that it is protecting its oil interests and declines to secure Congressional approval for making war on another country, perhaps it should stop wasting our money on war and start using that money to encourage us to have oil self-sufficiency. Better yet, it should stop impeding our oil self-sufficiency, get out of the way, and use our tax money to return our government to solvency.