LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

War! What is it good for?

President Obama and his staff are spending many sleepless nights struggling to come up with ways to stop the carnage in the Middle East.  How in the world has the United States managed to get itself mired down in such a seemingly unending quagmire?   Surely a few past United States statesmen had some insight into what happens when one goes to war-especially a war in an area that knows nothing but war and welcomes it.  The mess this nation finds itself in was unnecessary.  No doubt the nation that allowed Ben laden to launch attacks from its soil had to be dealt with. Once Ben laden and his henchmen were chased out of the country or killed a troop withdrawal should have taken place. But no, warmongers and war profiteers seized the opportunity to convince many Americans that a prolong war was necessary to spread democracy in Afghanistan.  Incidentally, many talking heads, especially Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News network who talk about spreading democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries will proudly proclaim that the United States form of government is not democratic. They maintain that the US has a republic form of government.

I reached back into my little library to see what some of our statesmen had to say about this thing called war- Some by Generals who led and fought wars.  Statements by former leaders of this nation, including presidents paint a dim and painful picture of this thing called war.

James Madison said the following:  Of all the evils to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debt and taxes, are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few. In war too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people! No nation could conserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

General Douglas McArthur said the following: I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.  Dwight Eisenhower amplified what MacArthur offered.  He stated the following: When people speak to you about a preventative war, tell them to go fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.

Herbert Clark Hoover said the following: Older men declare war. But it is our youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.

With the exception of Dr Paul, all of the republican candidates for president of the United States see a need to take actions against Iran that are tantamount to war.  Why they insist on opening another war defies logic. Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News Network augment the claim that a strike against Iran Nuclear plants must take place soon.  Republican lawmakers see this action as inevitable. Andrew Bonar Law had this to say about an inevitable war: There is no such thing as an inevitable war. If war comes, it will be from failure of human wisdom.  When a nation constantly prepares for war, it makes sure it goes to war under some pretense.   David Lloyd George said the following: You are not going to make peace with millions of armed men. The Chariot of peace cannot advance over a road littered with cannon.  William Graham Summer had this to say about making war a part of a political campaign: In the forum of reason and deliberation, war can be anything but makeshift… A statesman who proposes war as an instrument admits his incompetency: a politician who makes use of war as a counter in the game of parties is a criminal.

Sometime nations good fortunes can be a source of many problems. Huge oil reserves create a problem for some of these nations. Middle East nations have oil- lots of it. The United States uses oil-lots of it. United States oil giants want access to and control of a significant portion of that oil.  All options are on the table when it comes to control of a significant portion of this oil-including war. The US may suggest other reasons for having a significant presence in the Middle East; however, oil is the overriding reason. Human rights, Regime change, Taliban, and a whole host of other reasons for interfering in Middle Eastern affairs are alleged; the fact remains, there is something in that region that the United States wants, needs and feel entitled to.  Talk Radio and Fox pundits often speak about the United States having a moral obligation to be at war in the Middle East. What’s next? Africa.

William E Woodward said the following about the US willingness to take action against a nation that possesses something the US feel it needs. : We Americans cannot conceive of a war without a moral background. …it may now be accepted as the principle that any weak saddle-colored nation that happens to be sitting near us and happens to possess a lot of mahogany or hemp or cocoanuts’ or gold mines had better look out.  We have our moral eye on such people and are likely to introduce American morality at any moment.

There is a history in this thing called world domination. Many nations and nationalities have tried it with some success. None managed to dominate the world forever. What makes US policy makers think the United States is an exception and the same things that wrested power from other dominant nations will not befall the US?  There is ample written history going back generations that details the rise and fall of nations. What will cause the eventual downfall of US world domination is anyone’s guess. Some suggest it will be our greed. Some say the US quest and appetite for much of the world’s mineral resources (mainly petroleum) will bring the US to its knees.  Still others point to the United States debt.  I dare say it will not be one single issue. All of the above mentioned possible crisis will serve to eventually have a crippling affect on the US ability to continue its world dominance. Some scholars and politicians suggest that the United States has already lost a lot of its ability to tell other nations what to do.

I am struck by the number of times the history of this nation is mentioned by talking heads, especially those with conservative leanings. These folks appear well versed as it pertains to the US, fail to make any effort to really understand the history of other nations-especially the history of other nations that at one time dominated most of the world. They were the superpowers of old. What happened to cause these nations to lose their status as a superpower? What caused them to become a ruled nation rather than one that ruled other nations?  One would think that there is a lesson to be learned regarding what brings an empire-building superpower to its knees.  If one looks at the successes of dominant and empire-building nations and the terrible price they pay in actual dollars and human sacrifices to maintain this status; it begs to be understood why nations stand in line, just waiting to be the next big boss.  Never mind that every other nation that tried it eventually lost the ability to dominate the rest of the world.  The US seems to be the only nation that sincerely wants to continue trying to dominate the rest of the world. It certainly has met with some success.  However, one has to wonder if the gain has been worth the pain.

People of many nations having a genuine dislike for the US and this dislike are manifested in many ways. Has our behavior brought on this dislike?  The US behavior probably mirrors those of past dominant nations.  Why in the world would any nation chose to follow a path fraught with danger and unforeseen consequences?

William Somerset Maugham had it right when he penned the following: I remember what the English were like before the First World War; we behaved the same way on the continent. We had taken responsibility for the world for a hundred years from the Napoleonic Wars. Our people got use to it at last and were above themselves. We made ourselves very disliked. America will probably do the same thing. No one learns from anyone else’s experience. They just have to go through it.

March 20, 2012 - Posted by | Crude in theGulf, crude oil in the Gulf, Results of war, World Affairs

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