Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 23, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

WAR AND FOREIGN POLICY....Atrios writes that looking at which wars a person has supported is a lousy proxy for how good their foreign policy judgment is:

There's this attitude out there where one's foreign policy abilities are judged by whether you supported the right wars, with people like Peter Beinart checking off their little lists.

....Wars are failures. A primary purpose of sensible foreign policy is to stop them. When wars happen, our foreign policy has failed. That isn't to say there's never a point when they're necessary or justified, but that point is simply an acknowledgment that the people in charge failed.

No argument: war represents failure. What's more, as he says in a later post, foreign policy has a lot of moving parts that can't simply be reduced to war vs. no war.

At the same time, I think that looking at someone's record of support for various wars is more meaningful than he suggests. The problem is that foreign policy, largely because it is so complex, is a domain of platitudes. Should the United States defend its interests? Of course. But which interests? Should war be a last resort? Publicly, nobody would disagree. But who's to say when every other option has been exhausted? Are there times when the United States might need to fight a preventive war? Yes. But under what circumstances?

Windy paragraphs often conceal more than they inform, and it's impossible to come up with a magic formula that answers these questions. But there's one concrete thing you can do: take a look at someone's past record. Bill Kristol has never met a war he didn't like. Theory aside, that tells you where he stands in practice. Al Gore thought it was in America's interests to fight in the Gulf War, in Kosovo, and in Afghanistan, but not in Iraq. That gives you an idea of where he draws the line. Nancy Pelosi supported Kosovo and Aghanistan, but opposed the Gulf War and Iraq. Her line, in practice, is a little bit different than Gore's.

In general, it's hard to fudge on war: you either support it or you don't. After you've examined everything, talked to everyone, and thought long and hard, you draw together everything in your experience and make a decision. The gears may turn in private, but the final result represents one of the ultimate tests of someone's foreign policy judgment.

So: which wars did you support? Any of them? None of them? Some of them? Does it make sense to support a politician who appears to have the same judgment about these things that you do? It's obviously not the only thing you should look at, but it seems like it ought to be one of the things.

Kevin Drum 1:14 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

No Iraq II.


Yes Afghanistan, Kosovo and Gulf War I.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Yes to the war on poverty, no to the war on drugs.

Posted by: tomboy on October 23, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Good havens. No Iraq II for sure.

No Granada either.

Posted by: gregor on October 23, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

I find Atrios's statement:

"That isn't to say there's never a point when they're necessary or justified, but that point is simply an acknowledgment that the people in charge failed.

To be quite childish. Does he think FDR "failed" in his foreign policy and thus we had to get into WWII? That Clinton "failed" and thus Kosovo was required?

Its one thing to say that diplomatic solutions are prefereable to military solutions. But the world quite often does give us a choice of a workable diplomatic solution. Recall that we tried diplomacy with Afghanistan - give up OBL (who was a clear and present danger to the US) and we won't bomb you. They didn't, and we did. This wasn't a "failure" of diplomacy - we made a good faith effort in complete transparency to avoid war, but when the Taliban decided that they beat back the Soviets so they'd rather roll their dice with us we had little choice but to pursue a military solution.

Posted by: sd on October 23, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Did Bill Kristol really support Kosovo? If so he was one of the few Republicans who did, which really irked me at the time.

I support wars for humanitarian reasons. I've never been so proud to see American planes as when I saw them over Somalia.

I did not support GWI, nor II, but I would have supported intervention in Rwanda.

Afghanistan pulled me in two directions. At the time I argued for it, but I disagree with how it was fought--by air, not ground.

See? This is actually very, very nuanced. No simple answers.

Posted by: KathyF on October 23, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

No to Kosovo. I don't think it's the job of American troops to defend Muslim Kosovars who were engaging in Islamofascist terrorist attacks on non-Muslim Serbians. I would've supported war in Kosovo if we had sided with the Serbians against the Islamofascist Kosovars.

Yes to Iraq I and II and Afghanistan. I think American troops should be spreading freedom and democracy by killing the terrorists at its source.

Posted by: Al on October 23, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Parody Al, it isn't even funny in an uncomfortable way anymore.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

I mirror Gore's list (I'm a cautious liberal internationalist when it comes to humanitarian interventions), except that my antiwarrior side took me over on the Gulf War.

And, in retrospect, I realize that I was wrong. We fought for all the principles in the first Gulf war (international law, a genuine, diverse coalitions, non-proliferation of WMD, drawing a line in the sand during a time where Saddam *did* bear a passing resemblance to Adolf Hitler -- and exercising the good, hubris-countering judgment of knowing when to stop) that we so grotesquely abrogated in the second Iraq war and occupation.

For the first week or so I posted on the NYT Iraq fora in the Fall of '02 I was legitimately spooked by Saddam's WMD capacity. But it took me only a week of reading links and the arguments to disabuse me of that notion -- and well before Judy Miller's Curveball stories.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 23, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

I kind of liked The War of the Roses. That Danny DeVito—such a scamp.

Posted by: dj moonbat on October 23, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

SD: It was just a blog post, not a white paper, and I think Atrios' general intent was fairly clear: war is what happens when every other option fails. I don't think that was meant to imply that every war is avoidable.

KathyF: I think Kristol did support Kosovo, though I guess I could be mistaken.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on October 23, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin has this right. The quote from Atrios reminds me why I only read him lately when someone else links to him.

Is it possible that Atrios doesn't know that Dems have a built-in disadvantage on national security because Repubs have been able to tag Dems as pacifists? Of course war represents a failure of diplomacy to settle peacefully a dispute. But the U.S. isn't omnipotent; sometimes the opponent is intransigent. Gulf I was like that. At least some elements of post WW II foreign policy was based on the notion that unilateral invasions were a bad idea. GWB seems not to know this.

I'll stand with Gore on Gulf I, even knowing that U.S. policy toward Saddam in the years leading up to that war was riddled with misjudgments, even up to the final meeting between Hussein and the U.S. ambassador.

A candidate who can distinguish between Gulf I and the present adventure is much more effective at communicating a foreign policy to voters beyond Atrios' readership.

Atrios really does represent the loser wing of the Democratic party.

Posted by: Ozoid on October 23, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

A bit of a false premise. The question is always posed as war or no war, when the real question is whether you want to fight a war NOW.

The tipping point...when war is necessary, is the question, not whether this or that war should be supported. Many who voted against Gulf I might have supported it later if things didn't change. Likewise, many who supported Gulf War II would not have supported it if they had waited and learned more info.

I'm not saying war or no war is a silly question, I'm just saying that when and how it is posed is very central to the debate. Kristol will always have the same answer. Others will not. Not supporting a war at a particular moment in history does not mean that you would not support a war in the future.

It turns out, of course, that those who wait for more info, or are less than enthusiastic about war as a policy tool, are usually more right than those who like to see stuff blow up. Likewise, when those who normally are doves support strong miliary intervention, there is something worth looking at. When the usual suspects clamor for military intervention, well, it is worth taking some time to see if the mental midgets have finally found a conflict worth fighting.

Still looking for that one.

Posted by: abjectfunk on October 23, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Count me in with Gore, although IIRC he was more enthusiastic about Iraq I than I ever was-- it didn't seem like a very good idea to my college-student self, but what with Kuwait being an ally, international support, etc., I thought we were obligated.

But Americans-- especially conservatives, of course-- tend to like wars if they don't have to actually experience them firsthand and won't be inconvenienced too much by them... it's like all the adrenaline rush and team identification of sports combined with all the fake existential wrestling of tent revivals, and with more real impact than either. Lots of emotional appeal there.

Posted by: latts on October 23, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Atrios really does represent the loser wing of the Democratic party.

Even if this is true, that doesn't mean America doesn't need to wake the hell up. War is a blunt instrument, and shouldn't be as heedlessly wielded as we've been doing for the last few decades.

Posted by: dj moonbat on October 23, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

I vote Yes on the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812

I vote No on the French & Indian War, the Mexican-American War, and the Spanish American War.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on October 23, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

latts:

Yep. There was much to feel really wretched about in Gulf War 1. I don't blame myself too much for hating it at the time, considering all the history that culminated in April Glaspie's awful mixed signals to Saddam about "not wishing to get involved in a border dispute."

But hindsight is always 20-20. 41's advisors only look like savants now because 43's are quite literally war criminals ...

BTW, have you read Michael Hedges' "War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning?"

He was a journo who covered the Balkan wars extensively. The book is gruesome -- and a very profound self-examination of what motivates wars and war supporters. The guy was also a divinity student.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 23, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

War is the failure of diplomacy, by its very definition. That is not to say there is always a way out if you only look hard enough and concede enough ground.

But it is bloody god-awful when war is rushed off toward with no honest diplomatic effort to avoid it, in fact the efforts to avoid armed conflict were actively derailed

And with that outburst, I say 'g'night all.'

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

It should always be the very last of t he very last of choices. Anyway for the record, my views at the time of conflicts I've been an adult for.

Proxy war against Nicaragua: no
Grenada: no
Falklands: a reluctant yes
Gulf War: yes!
Gulf War (continuing on to Baghdad): no
Rwanda: yes (but didn't happen)
Bosnia: yes
Kosova: yes (but wanted stronger ground presence)
Afghanistan: yes
Iraq: no! no! no!
Darfur: yes (but hasn't happened)
North Korea: no! no! no! (even stupider than Iraq)

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 23, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Nuances are for crap.

It's easy. You defend yourself when you get attacked. And you defend your allies when they get attacked. (Oh ... unless the allies are acting like dicks.) Oh yeah, and if someone *does* attack, you don't wimp out and do a half-assed job. You go on the ground, you go all the way, and you finish the job.

The attack on Kuwait? Duh. But our leaders (41) wimped out and didn't finish the job. Afghanistan? OF COURSE! But this time our leaders (43) chickened out and didn't finish that job either.

Iraq? Not even close! AMERICA DOESN'T DO THAT. (Well, at least not the America that NEVER used torture!)

What about the so-called "humanitarian" wars? You know what? We have a process for that and it's called the United Nations. (Unfortunately, we've pretty much screwed up any chance we had of calling the United Nations our "allies" any more.)

P.S. There's no gray area about torturing either.

Yeesh.

Posted by: curious on October 23, 2006 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

Are there times when the United States might need to fight a preventive war? Yes.

No. Never.

Please do not confuse a preemptive war - attacking a poised enemy before he strikes, with a preventive war - attacking a potential enemy before it is a threat.

Attacking another nation which is not a threat also has another name: aggressive war, which is a crime against the peace.

We hanged Germans and Japanese at the end of World War II for waging aggressive war. Was that rule of law, or merely "might makes right"?

Posted by: Wapiti on October 23, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Will those who support GWI change their mind if the theory about Kuwaitis' lateral underground oil drilling as Saddam's casus belli is somehow proved to be correct?

Posted by: gregor on October 23, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Curious - agree except for the part about finishing the job in the first gulf war. The power vacuum would have wrecked havok then just as it has this time.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Does he think FDR "failed" in his foreign policy and thus we had to get into WWII? That Clinton "failed" and thus Kosovo was required?

sd: yes, and yes. In the first case, the failure was not only FDR's; he, like other world leaders, failed to make sufficiently clear in the 1930s the US's commitment to support Britain, France, Czechoslovakia and Poland against Nazi Germany. This was also a failure that redounds upon those isolationist politicians in the US who refused to allow FDR to make a more explicit commitment against Nazi Germany in the '30s. It is possible, given the lunatic militarism of the Nazi and Japanese regimes, that no Western foreign policy could have averted that war. But it's also a truism that the foreign policy mistakes of Chamberlain contributed to the advent of war, and FDR was to some extent complicit in those mistakes.

It is also well known that the failure of the US to make clear its commitment to defending the borders of Kuwait against Iraq in 1990 played an analogous role in bringing on the Gulf War. Again, that's a foreign policy mistake.

The case of Clinton's foreign policy failures in the Balkans has been exhaustively documented by Mark Danner. The dithering and inaction of both the US and the Europeans in Croatia and Bosnia through 4 years of civil war and genocide obviously convinced powerful factions in Serbia that there would be no serious consequences to ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Milosevic's willingness to try the genocide/expulsion option in Kosovo was invited by the West's ineffective response in Bosnia; the Dayton accords, while laudable, were belated and surely signalled to Milosevic that the West would not intervene against the will of the parties on the ground while the genocidal territory grab was underway, but only as neutral brokers of a peace deal after the fact. There was little that Clinton could do by 1999 to convince Milosevic otherwise, and what he did do - bludgeon NATO into going to war to stop genocide - was exactly right. But he was reaping the harvest he (and Bush senior) had sowed with their failed Bosnia policies from 1991-95.

Posted by: brooksfoe on October 23, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Gore's list matches mine except for one absolutely glaring omission from Kevin's list: Rwanda. We should have absolutely put boots on the ground in Rwanda immediately and even Clinton acknowledges that that decision was his greatest disaster in office.

Posted by: reader on October 23, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

what's curious is that your list so coherently matches up to the list of so many other liberals, myself included. And yet liberals are constantly being accused of having incoherent or ill-thought-out views on foreign policy and on the use of force in foreign policy. In fact, what we believe seems to be pretty freaking simple, coherent, and well-thought-out.

And note that your list includes two wars waged by Republicans -- Gulf War 1 and Afghanistan -- and one war which a Democratic president failed to wage -- Rwanda. So accusations of simple partisanship don't fly. (Republicans, on the other hand, are still trying utterly incoherently to attack Clinton's interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, and so forth.)

Posted by: brooksfoe on October 23, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

When you think of who we consider to be our allies today--Britain, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Japan the only way to "vote" is for no wars ever.

Posted by: sanrus on October 23, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Pelosi.

About the Gulf War - I was against it because I thought that the United States was going to find itself mired in Iraq. Didn't happen that way, and I was happy to say that I was wrong not to support it after it was over.

I'm very sorry not to have been wrong about Iraq.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on October 23, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

Afghanistan is rapidly becoming a gigantic cock-up too. Most people seem to believe that the post-invasion *could* have been done sufficiently better that the country would not have reverted to the chaos and resurgent Taliban we see today. However, I have my doubts; as with Iraq, every other invasion of Afghanistan has turned out pretty badly. If one believes that there was no way for the post-invasion to go well, I think one is justified in being against the war in Afghanistan.

In addition, of course, they also screwed up the attack on Al-Qaeda per se, allowing Bin Laden to go free and operate fairly comfortably from the border region. Again, one might say "inasmuch as I could have done better, I supported the invasion." If, on the other hand, you think in the long run, it could never have gone much better--Bin Laden might have been killed, but Islamic-fanaticism-based terrorism would have been little changed--then, again, it would be reasonable to oppose the Afghanistan war.

I myself believe that the invasion has done little for either Afghanistan or the war on terror, that its effects will continue to underperform relative to other, less destructive tactics available to us in 2001, and that it could not have been done significantly better. Thus I am against the Afghanistan war.

(Additionally, I think all of this was predictable in 2001, and thus a. I was against the war then, and b. I was against it for the right reasons. If all of this sounds familiar, naturally the logic is the same as for those of you who opposed Iraq. Sense a pattern?)

Posted by: Miller on October 23, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

With some wars, it's a matter of timing. Many who opposed the Gulf War wanted more time for sanctions to work; had sanctions showed no sign of working or had Saddam tried to move further (e.g. invading Saudi Arabia) the dissenters would have quickly switched sides.

Posted by: Joe Buck on October 23, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi supported Kosovo and Aghanistan, but opposed the Gulf War and Iraq. Her line, in practice, is a little bit different than Gore's.

I'm thinking maybe she just likes D wars and dislikes R wars.

So: which wars did you support? Any of them? None of them? Some of them?

Very lukewarm, hrmm, lukecool support for Libya, Grenada was trivial, Panama was silly, no to Columbian intervention, no to Gulf I, and in fact no to the policy of tilting towards Saddam against Iran, in fact, just rip out any messin' with Iraq-Iran at all, no to Somalia (what the fuck was that?), originally very lukecool support for Kosovo, that, on further review, changes to a no.

I could make a mild argument for support for the seceding members of the former Yugoslavia based on Yugoslavia being in Europe and near our bases, and based on the end of Communism. By the time Kosovo came along, all that shit was over.

I could likewise make arguments for supporting various insugencies (China? Darfur?), and make an argument for bailing out the Shi'a in southern Iraq at some point since we did encourage them to revolt.

Almost all of wars since Vietnam seem to be chosen with the idea of getting somebody re-elected. Reagan gets credit here: he picked minicule, trivial actions to get involved with instead of being an idiot and actually believing trivial involvements were serious.

Yes to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Does it make sense to support a politician who appears to have the same judgment about these things that you do? It's obviously not the only thing you should look at, but it seems like it ought to be one of the things.

As above: they pick wars that they convince themselves must be fought because to think otherwise would be to admit that mostly they just do that shit to get reelected, look important, whack off their ego, etc.

As a consequence, no politician shares my outlook on wars, excepting maybe Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders.

max
['That is all.']

Posted by: max on October 23, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ill be one of thee few to own up to not supporting Afghanistan. Heres how it SHOULD have played out.

After 9-11 we form an international coalition of nearly everyone to oppose terrorism. 9-II was so heinous that even Muslim countries would have joined. In the long run, the shutting down of terrorist networks and decreasing their desire for revenge would have worked better than feel-good invasions.

How it WILL play out. Afghanistan will grow tired of our occupation and want us out. (If they havent reached that stage already) Violence will increase. A couple of years from now we will be desperately looking for a way out, as in Iraq. Osamas crowd will be greatly strengthened by having outlasted US The Great and Powerful. Well be worse off than before, terrorism wise, with a many-fold increase in world heroin production..

UPSHOT. I wish we would learn the lesson that going to war when it can be avoided is the single dumbest thing a nation can do, then the lives of the thousands of dead wouldnt be totally wasted. But nah, well probably do it a few more times before the lesson gets implanted in our thick heads.

Posted by: James of DC on October 23, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

To go back to the original question about judging the politicians on their foreign affairs perspicacity on their support for various wars is much harder due to all the political variables that come into play.

gw's war against Iraq was a war of choice (for him) premised on a set-up (lies), and he used his position as preznit to the max to bring it on.

It was easy for me to see the shifting trip-wires on the road to war and say no. But I also remember the patriotic atmosphere, "with us or against us" blackmail, etc. The US populace becomes very singularly united behind their president, and it wasn't just the pols that lay down. What happened to media also?

That lack of debate, with some jingoism mixed in, is the atmosphere in which the worst decisions can be made. WWI, anyone?

As to FDR, I broadly agree with Brooksfoe, and would add that the US was also squeezing Japan's sense of security. Jack Kennedy, as US ambassador to London, and Charles Lindberg, visiting Europe and particularly Germany as an aviation expert, were advising FDR that Germany would win any war in a minute. There were a slew of industrialists, including Henry Ford, who were sympathetic at least to maintaining trade with Germany (if not more), and a bunch of politicians who were either (mostly) isolationist or sympathetic either to the industrialists' goals or Germany herself.

So it was a very difficult political balancing act for FDR. The lesson the US drew from that was to set up organizations that would keep the US engaged overseas and with broad consensus.

That included NATO and the UN. Two bodies gw's natural reaction is to thumb his nose at.

Well, actually any body that might in any way frustrate his will.

Posted by: notthere on October 23, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

James near the seat of powerBut nah, well probably do it a few more times before the lesson gets implanted in our thick heads.

..and then the lesson will stick as long as the generation that's learned this lesson is in power and perhaps for the time of their children's rule. It will then have to be relearned by their grandchildren and lives given for the grandchildren to learn what the grandparents knew.


brooksfoe, exactly. Four essential questions to ask:

1. Are their any other ways to achieve these goals? (If yes, take these)

2. If not, are the goals important enough?

3. If imporant enought, is the use of force doable? (what are likely scenarios, worst-case scenarios, what do we need to do to achieve our ends?)

4. And if it is doable, is it worth the cost? (including the cost to a nation's soul and including the likely cost of not acting).

Ideologues tend to breeze past 1, 3 and 4 and take the answer to 2 as a given.

(please, please, please, six months at the front for Billy Crystol, Max Boot etc.)

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 23, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

couple of quick thoughts:
GHWB43 couldnt 'go all the way' in gulf war (1) becouse he made a deal with our allies that we wouldnt. what is so disapointing is that we did fail to bring democracry. to kuwait. Iraq I understand. kuwait? did we have so obligation to the kuwaiti monarchy to put their asses back on the throne? I think not.

and afghanistan- lets not forget that WH press conference in the build up right before the invasion when a member of the foreign press corp asked the press secratary something like 'are you aware of the taliban offer to kick AQ out?' Its impossible to know in hindsight whether there was anything to this but its so tantilizing. considering the muck 43 has made of it, I cant help think of the missed opportunity. Imagine if instead of invading, we had instead convinced the taliban to surrender OBL, outlaw AQ, adopt democratic reform, and gaurantee human rights including the equal treatment of women. in return, we could have offered financial aid and entry into the family of nations... far fetched? unfortunately we'll never know.

Posted by: Aaron on October 23, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know which wars I would support, since I've really only gotten interested enough to really try to understand why we are fighting the last two, of which I suppose I support Afghanistan. But every American war has been so shrouded in propaganda that I'd say it's very hard to assess whether they were "necessary" or not. But after stripping away the propaganda, I think you would have to ask yourself the question: Would I have been willing to fight, or would I have been willing to send someone I love off to kill and possibly die in this war?

Posted by: Del Capslock on October 23, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

I hate this question because most people call me naive when I say that behind the scenes talks (going all wobbly) could easily have persuaded Saddam to leave Kuwait. I thought the war we fought was foolish because I expected the results we now have - Al Qaeda and Iraq 2. These were not inevitable results, but very likely results that did end up happening.

I didn't support Clinton's wars but I considered them tolerable pet imperial projects because the consequences wouldn't be intolerable.

I supported invasion of Afghanistan though I knew it wouldn't work out in the end because Bush/Cheney would find ways to pervert its purpose.

I opposed this Iraq war and can't believe anyone was crazy or lemming enough to support it.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on October 23, 2006 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

War is failure - a completely idiotic statement. Clauswitz dictum 'war is politics etc etc' basically confirms and accepts that reality - as does the entire corpus of historical reasoning since Herodotus! No utterance could better define differences between realism and left wing jibberish.

Posted by: saintsimon on October 23, 2006 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

Kosovo and Afghanistan yes.

Gulf war I, no. Kuwait had previously chosen not to sign a mutual defense treaty (which Saudi had signed), so fuck 'em. It doesn't matter to me which thugs own the oil; they'll still pump it, because they want the money, and because oil is fungible, our supply wouldn't have been thretened.

Iraq, God no.

Posted by: anandine on October 23, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

sd,

"but when the Taliban decided that they beat back the Soviets so they'd rather roll their dice with us we had little choice but to pursue a military solution"

While I am certain there were Talibani involved, I think you may wish to review history about the Talibani "beating back" the Soviets.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on October 23, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin overlysimplified Atrios' post. Atrios did not say that it was silly to use war support as a way to judge foreign policy expertise. He said that foreign policy is so complicated that it is not wise to use only the record of war support as a guide to foreign policy expertise. Quote a bit different than what was implied by Kevin in this post.

Posted by: Bill Hicks on October 23, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

War is the suspension of morality.

It seems that there are lots of people here who would simply prefer that morality be suspended virtually all the time.

The Biblical question "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?" translates to, "Hey, quit looking at me so that I can do what I want."

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on October 23, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

gregor:

It wouldn't change my support (I was certainly aware of the slant-drilling argument at the time, which played into my opposition of the war at the time). But the problem with the argument is that it assumes Saddam had no other recourse, and I don't know if I buy that.

You can say all you want about "tribes with flags" and the illegitimate nature of the governments of our putative allies in the Gulf -- but once you establish an international system of laws, you have to honor it or it disintegrates into power politics. Ultimately, I saw the "new world order" arguments for Gulf War 1 as the most salient.

In that war, we listened to our allies. We didn't march into Baghdad with a much larger force than we currently have. While many blame this decision for not finishing the job, it was manifestly the right decision in hindsight.

And that's why working with allies in the context of a global consensus is essential even for the last remaining superpower. Not only was our reputation enhanced by the able execution of that war -- but the Japanese paid for most of it.

Today, all our posturing and going it alone has done is create global anarchy and cause our most implacable adversaries to no longer fear our awesome military.

No two wars against the same regime could have had more diametrically opposite results.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 23, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

While I am certain there were Talibani involved, I think you may wish to review history about the Talibani "beating back" the Soviets.

True. The Taliban only arose in the mid-90s, a few years after the Soviets withdrew in 1989. They arose in response to frustration over the wanton lawlesness and violence of the various mujahideen lawlords.

(To be quite specific, the whole Taliban movement began after a warlord kidnapped two teenage boys in order to rape them; the local mullah, outraged, gathered the young men in his madrassa, armed them, and attached and overthrew the warlord's forces, hanging the warlord from the gun barrel of a tank. So, in short, we have an Afghan Mark Foley to thank for the whole mess....)

Posted by: Stefan on October 23, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Max, up thread, said that Reagan only picked miniscule and trivial actions. If that were only true.

Reagan sent Marines into Beirut to escort Arafat and his aides safely out of Lebanon. They succeeded and were shown very warm support from the locals.

However, he sent them back to be part of a three nation peace keeping force. Cap Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense also ordered the USS New Jersey and support vessels to stand off shore. He then decided to take sides in the civil war. The ships were ordered to provide fire support for the Lebanese Army. This action infuriated the Muslims. They retaliated by destroying the lives of over 240 Marines and soldiers. We pulled our troops out of Lebanon and tested our communication systems in Grenada.

We are still reaping the whirlwind of those actions in Beirut.

I voted for our actions in Bosnia, Gulf I and Afghanistan. Should have taken actions in Rwanda. Never in Iraq as an invasion.

However, I would hope that any future wars could emulate our "war" with Britain over the ownership of the San Juan Islands, called the "Pig War" - American and British forces faced off, but no shots were ever fired. In fact, the two groups set up camp on the big island of San Juan and joined in many events of comraderie and more than a bit of alcohol exchanged. To this day, our park service people still raise the Union Jack above the "British Camp".

Only casualty was a pig. And these heroic actions consummated by Wilhelm I of Prussia allowed Paul Allen to take over an island and kick the youth groups summer camp off the island.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 23, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

War is the suspension of morality.It seems that there are lots of people here who would simply prefer that morality be suspended virtually all the time.

There is a part of me that likes the sentiment but...

feeling morally righteous and doing good are not the same...

sometimes we have to get in the muck - not acting is worse (Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur are I think all examples of this).

I mean, the only way to be morally pure is to die... in life, in the muck amidst which we live, often the best we can do is to try to lean as far as we can in the right direction (and sometimes we're wrong). .

I have a lot of respect for principled pacifists - many were on the front lines helping evacuate wounded in both world wars - but I'm not one myself and I wouldn't ascribe my own struggle with the morality of each war (this one was excretable from the beginning) to a "suspension of morality." Of course, you could dismiss this as my own self-righteous rationalization (and I'd self-righteously disagree)..

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 23, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Did you see the NYT Mag yesterday on the Taliban and its twisted relationship with the Pakistani ISI?

We also have the Taliban because the secular-leaning Pakistani military elite needs an insurance policy to stay in power ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 23, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I supported the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War. I was highly skeptical of Kosovo and the Iraq Attaq.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on October 23, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush Administration has gamed the diplomatic process so that it ALWAYS appears to fail or look weak. They do this to make military solutions look like the only possibility for successful resolution of international disputes. Military = strength. Diplomacy = weakness. We're a superpower, those damned ?$*##&% can't tell us what to do!

Then, if you don't "support the troops" the GOP tries to make you look unpatriotic and treasonous. Even the generals think this is an idiotic way to govern. When Democrats advocate the use of military force (more recently in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia) the GOP tries to characterize management of these efforts as inept.

When there is no middle in Congress -- no bipartisan coalition on foreign policy -- diplomatic efforts inevitably fall appart, or even more sadly, are never considered as a viable option.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 23, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

"But Americans-- especially conservatives, of course-- tend to like wars if they don't have to actually experience them firsthand and won't be inconvenienced too much by them... it's like all the adrenaline rush and team identification of sports combined with all the fake existential wrestling of tent revivals, and with more real impact than either. Lots of emotional appeal there."

Except for the fact that those in the military are overwhelmingly conservative, this is true. Which makes it uh, not true. Basically since the 60s the conservatives go to war to fight for the country, and the liberals go to the campus to carry signs. Nothing much has changed really. If we go to war in Darfur, I wonder how long the lines will be to sign up for the army in bastions such as San Franscisco and Columbia University?

Posted by: Mike on October 23, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Peter Beinart is rewriting the history of Gulf War I -- it is simply not true that "the vast majority of the Democratic establishment was against it", there were numerous Dems in favor and numerous Republicans opposed -- and everyone here seems to be buying into that.

It's a minor point, though. What makes the Iraq war different from all the previous wars is that never before has the United States government deliberately created a reason for war out of nothing, for political purposes, and with so little thought of the human cost, including the cost of American lives. Never has a war been decided on so quickly and cavalierly. This is probably because of the worldview of the people involved -- as young men they supported the Vietnam War while at the same time getting out of fighting it. To them, the horror and the costs of war are not real.

Posted by: captcrisis on October 23, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

免费电影下载 免费在线电影 看免费电影 免费电影网站 韩国电影 两性生活 性教育片 两性健康 性爱图片 免费激情电影 免费黄色电影 最新电影 成人性爱电影 免费小电影 性电影下载 成人电影下载 免费电影在线看 宽带电影 经典电影 恐怖电影 免费影片 免费影院 最新大片 十八电影网 美女写真 人体艺术 美女图片 美女走光 美腿图片 三级片 强奸图片 美女祼体图片 性爱文学 偷拍走光 漂亮美眉 泳装写真 乳罩内裤 成人贴图 情趣内衣 性生活电影 作爱自拍 艳情图片性交电影 做爱视频 性福电影 人体艺术 明星合成裸照 裸女贴图 黄色小说 成人小说 乱伦故事 强暴图片 轮奸视频 性虐待电影 迷奸图片 妓女日记 强奸小电影 自拍裸体 美女床上自拍 黄色电影下载 在线色情电影 裸露美少女 av美女贴图 色情电影下载 同志图片 性爱视频 明星露点 激情写真 女性阴部 美女乳房 美女裸照 性激情图片 激情小电影 性感图片 妹妹贴图 美女做爱图片 汤加丽写真集 全裸美女 淫荡小说 淫乱小说 淫书金瓶梅 舒淇写真 美女脱衣视频 裸体女人图片 人体写真 美女手淫图片 波霸美女 淫水美女鲍鱼 阴户阴道阴毛屁股 美女图库 口交肛交图片 A片下载 毛片 偷窥图片 裸体视频聊天室 成人网站 成人论坛 性爱论坛网站 性变态图片 淫女图片 日本女学生 美女下阴图 女性生殖器 操逼图片 美女激情 搞笑手机铃声 个性铃声 dj铃声 唱得响亮铃声 手机铃声图片 高频铃声下载 手机铃声格式 搞怪铃声 比特铃声 自编铃声 adp铃声 七彩铃声 经典手机铃声 最新手机铃声 手机铃声制作 诺基亚手机铃声 小灵通铃声 移动手机铃声 手机动画 手机彩图 手机铃音 手机铃声论坛 短信铃声 来电铃声 音乐铃声 歌曲铃声 铃声试听 手机壁纸 彩色铃声 v3铃声下载 手机待机图片 免费手机图片 三星手机图片 手机mp3下载 手机主题 如何制作手机铃声 真人原唱和弦铃声 qd铃声下载 经典铃声 联通手机彩铃 神奇铃声 最新铃声 另类铃声 联通铃声下载联通手机铃声 联通炫铃 中国联通炫铃 联通彩铃 联通彩铃下载 中国联通铃声 联通免费铃声 联通用户铃声 联通cdma铃声 联通和弦铃声 联通mp3铃声 联通特效铃声 联通炫铃下载 联通炫铃网站 联通炫铃业务 联通cdma炫铃 联通手机图片 联通手机炫铃 中国联通彩铃 联通手机彩铃下载 联通彩铃业务 联通彩铃网站 联通免费彩铃 联通cdma彩铃

Posted by: mmf铃声 on October 23, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Mike:

There wasn't a heavy leftist opposition to Bosnia and Kosovo; most of that opposition came from Republicans making classic isolationist arguments.

Clearly a difference in our intervention there is that the Balkans are on Western Europe's doorstep, and thus we weren't piddling around in a region we don't culturally understand. While every side committed atrocities -- clearly the Serbs did the most damage (though it's hard to say that Croatian ultranationalist rhetoric was any less toxic).

I don't seem to recall any campus protests against 41's Somalia intervention -- but I do recall a great deal of Republican grousing about it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 23, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

What makes the Iraq war different from all the previous wars is that never before has the United States government deliberately created a reason for war out of nothing, for political purposes, and with so little thought of the human cost,

Wrong. Liberals are always trying to find things wrong with our country. Being in Iraq is our manifest destiny. That's all the reason we need just as with our earlier glorious wars of territorial expansion and native extermination. And we have found just reasons for Iraq just as we did in those earlier wars.

Posted by: Al on October 23, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Wars are failures? What a nice view of the world these three words represent. This is a world view that our enemies are basically nice, so negotitaion ought to solve all international problems. Mr. Rogers would find it nice.

But, there's no evidence for the supposed truism. Maybe some wars are failures, while others are necessary. E.g., it can be argued that WW1 was a failure of diplomacy, but I don't see how WW2 was. The main "failure" of WW2 was that the allies failed to go to war against Hitler a lot sooner. Hitler was determined to conquer the world and had to be stopped militarily.

I see the war against Islamic fascism the same way. It has to be fought.

Posted by: ex-liberal on October 23, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The main "failure" of WW2 was that the allies failed to go to war against Hitler a lot sooner.

Whoa, there pardner. We (Canada) were up against Hitler 27 months before you. And for us it was a war of choice; we didn't wait for Tojo's invitation.

And Britain, for one, couldn't have gone against Hitler earlier. It needed the time bought by Munich to rearm to go up against the Germans.

Change that "allies" to "Yanks" please.

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 23, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

There's no such thing as "Islamic fascism." Karen Hughes and Condi Rice both read Bush the riot act when that phrase crawled off his lips, and he hasn't used it since. Fascism is a statist ideology; al Qaeda is stateless.

Al:

You're so cute and manly when you talk about "native extermination."

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 23, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Snicker-snack:

I think your four questions are exactly the right ones, which is why I think Kevin's question as phrased (So: which wars did you support?) only glances at the important issue he has raised (is war a failure of foreign policy and why do we support some wars and not others).

I would reduce your questions to these:

(1) What is the goal you are seeking to achieve?
(2) How committed are you to achieving it?

Clausewitz, who is often oversimplified and misquoted, wrote "war is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means." In other words, it is not an act in and of itself but rather another tool a state can use in pursuing its political objectives.

Inasmuch as it is fair to criticize firebrands who take a cavalier attitude towards war, it is also important to recognize that a similarly strident attitude towards avoiding war at any price (i.e. "war is not the answer") can be just as devastating. The bottom line comes down to how important the stated goal is to the nation.

Which is what makes the lists people have provided so interesting. If the goal in Bosnia was to prevent genocide, why not Rwanda or Darfur? If the goal is to eliminate UBL, why not act more aggressively to do so? The common theme among many of the folks here seems to be that war is an option only if its costs are incredibly low. What that tells me is that in these cases the goals were stated, but the commitment to realize them was pretty small. In other words, "I support war to stop genocide, provided we don't risk losing any American soldiers."

But that's not much of a commitment is it? As Rwanda and Darfur have learned.

Posted by: Hacksaw on October 23, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

snicker snack, Canada deserves praise for going to war when it did. Your excuse on behalf of Britain is OK as far as it goes, but one can argue that Britain (and the rest of us) ought to have begun re-arming much earlier.

Bob - Condi and Bush have to be diplomatic. I don't. I see a group with many of the characteristics of fascism, so I use the term.

As for al Qaeda being stateless, from their POV, statelessness is a temporary condition. They have said they want a new caliphate covering a substantial portion of the world. They are using ruthless force to try to create their caliphate. In this desire, they also resemble the Japanese and German fascists of the 1930's and 1940's.

Posted by: ex-liberal on October 23, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

perhaps looking at whether people supported so and so wars is a good idea, but not in the way benairt is looking at them.

You CAN say that not supporting the first gulf war was a mistake, but you wouldn't really be telling the truth. Just because you win a war doesn't mean it was a wide idea to fight it.

Nobody can say we got more from the gulf war than we lost from the Iraq war. If there is anyone here who thinks we'd have fought the Iraq wae without having first fought the Gulf War probably doesn't know what they're talking about. If george Bush had said "OMG Suddam Hussein has WMD!!! We must invade Iraq" without having fought the gulf war, American would have shrugged their shoulders and said "Who? Where?"

As such, it's diffuclt to pretend that you can seperate the Gulf War from the Iraq War, and claim the Gulf War was a good idea. It would be like Taliking about the start of WW2 without mentioning the end of WW1. Comforting to some, perhaps, but a recipe for tragedy.

Posted by: Soullite on October 23, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

War on Alcohol (Prohibition 1): Hell No
Cold War: Hell Yes
Vietnam: No
War on Poverty: Hell Yes
War on Drugs (Prohibition 2): Hell No
Gulf War on Iraq: Yes
Kosovo: Yes
Afghanistan: Hell Yes
Iraq 2: Hell No
War on Christmas: No
War on Iran: Hell No
War on N. Korea: No
War on France: No

Posted by: Curt M on October 23, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

The main "failure" of WW2 was that the allies failed to go to war against Hitler a lot sooner. Hitler was determined to conquer the world and had to be stopped militarily.

The main failure of WW2 was that Hitler was determined to conquer the world. It's not that there were too many pacifists in Britain and US. It is that there weren't enough in Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Posted by: apm on October 23, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

...foreign policy has a lot of moving parts that can't simply be reduced to war vs. no war.


It does???

Posted by: W The Clueless Chimp on October 23, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

War on France: No

No France? Okay, okay, okay.. But how about Richard Perle's vacation home in the south of the country?

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 23, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

The Revolutionary War, on principle, and WW2 because what else do you do when someone declares war on you?

I've mixed feeling on the Civil War. Stopping slavery was definitely a good thing but the war itself continues to haunt US.

Posted by: Emma Zahn on October 23, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I have supported contemporaneously the wars in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and the first Gulf War.

Afghanistan:

I supported it contingent on the premise that Bush and America would keep it's promise of not only deposing the Taliban and seizing AQ and Osama but also in their commitment to not forget to rebuild Afghanistan this time unlike after the end of the Cold War. The Taliban was clearly playing footsie with Osama and unwilling to surrender him after 9/11/01, which effectively signed their death warrants. I would not put much stock in their last ditch attempts right before they were deposed in suddenly claiming they would hand over Osama. My guess is that while they were negotiating the means to do so they would also have allowed him and his key leadership to get out of the line of fire. There simply was too close a relationship between the head of the Taliban and Osama shown in the years prior to those of us following international terrorism prior to 9/11/01 to think otherwise. Afghanistan was also clearly the home base for those that attacked America and the WTC/Pentagon which made it a legitimate target for military reprisal.

However, thanks to the lack of full resources committed from the outset and then the draining off of committed resources to prepare for the invasion of Iraq America botched up Afghanistan and left the NATO allies there holding the bag since only America had the resources needed to make this work both militarily and financially.

Kosovo:

I supported that because of the ethnic cleansing and the recognition that if it spilled any farther outside of the countries involved it could reignite western European conflicts and potentially trigger warfare within the European community, not something that would be good for global stability. There was also a need to send out a message regarding the unacceptability of genocide after the horrors of Rwanda and the failure of the western world to respond to that crisis and subsequent genocide.

GWI:

I supported that conflict well before any propaganda campaign got started on it, as I said the day Saddam invaded Kuwait that this had to be reversed. This was the first significant international conflict since the fall of the Berlin Wall and how it was dealt with could and would set the tone/pattern for the post Cold War global dynamic. The idea that one country could invade and assimilate another without challenge was just asking for repeats of this throughout the 90s all over the world with clearly horrendous results to global stability and the spread of the rule of law in international relations with the dampening pressures of global thermonuclear warfare being off the table. Indeed, I found it ironic that the rhetoric of Bush 41 was so moralistic and in more than a few cases wildly off the mark nearly pushed me out of supporting the mission, if I had not had as strong a conviction about it being necessary for the reason I gave already it would have.

I would add this, I remember critics of Bush41 before the start of Desert Storm saying he would not follow the parameters of the UN resolutions involved and would go all the way and destroy the chance of success. Then right after the end of the GW I heard about how he didn't finish the job by going to Baghdad despite the fact that to do so would have splintered the coalition and potentially undone the success of Desert Storm. What really made me wince though was when I heard some that said beforehand he wouldn't stick to the UN limits then afterwards complaining because he didn't finish off Saddam because he did stick to the UN limits. That never failed to irk me.

War is something that should never be entered into if the conflict can be resolved satisfactorily through other means. It cannot be shied away from though when there are not the other means. It should have a clear point to it, plan for success and plan for exiting afterwards. It should not be used for political maneuvering only, either domestically or by hoping that a military confrontation will bring about a political objective since that rarely if ever works out. I do not like violence and war, I do not like the costs to the innocent and guilty alike. War does terrible things to the souls of everyone caught up in it. That said though to pretend war is never a necessary option is to my mind to surrender to those that will employ force to get what they want and to hell with whomever it hurts. Since there are alas many human beings that will see this as an acceptable way of getting what they want then war cannot be dismissed as a never needed tool.

Human nature is what it is, and we have to deal with that. Anyone though that supports a war without appreciating the ugly realities/costs of warfare though should never be the one making such a decision. Anyone that fails to understand that the first law of war is Murphy's Law followed closely by the Law of Unintended Consequences should never be in charge of one. Which is of course why the wars under the Bush43 regime have been such complete and utter disasters, even the so called "good' war in Afghanistan.

I opposed Iraq from the outset because I knew we were being lied to about the nuclear threat, and anyone that would lie about a nuclear threat would lie about pretty much anything. There was also the timing as regards to Afghanistan, and there was the fact that Saddam and Osama were enemies/rivals, not allies, and this was well known prior to 9/11/01 when suddenly it got forgotten about somehow (very biting tone on the last seven words). That there was no threat and that Saddam was quite contained and that to invade an Arab/Muslim oil rich country without clear and pressing threat being posed by said nation was going to hand Osama the propaganda victory he had been laying the groundwork on since the mid 90s regarding America's true intentions in the region. Which is exactly the result we see today. Go look up what he was claiming America would do, invade an oil rich country under false pretenses so as to control the Arab/Muslim resource by taking their control away prior to 9/11/01, and this response is almost certainly what he planned the 9/11/01 attacks in the first place to trigger. Thanks GWB for doing exactly what Osama wanted, you are directly responsible for the spread of his phiolosphy into a broad based movement instead of just beign a fringe group/mentality, way to go (heavy sarcasm)

As to KD's post itself, while I think knowing which wars someone supported and did not can provide some insight into their judgment it cannot be the sole determiner. Take Kerry's opposition to GWI, I thought at the time he was making a mistake, but given his experiences in Vietnam and what he saw in the 80s during the Reagan years it is understandable why he did not trust Bush 41 to keep this a limited conflict and prevent the disaster that Bush 43 did create with his Iraq war. So it is always more complex than that. It can be a useful indicator though when you also have their contemporaneous reasoning to examine along with their support. Simply going on the basis of support alone though is too shallow a basis IMHO for real understanding of how a person sees war and the needs for it.

Posted by: Scotian on October 23, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

No France? Okay, okay, okay.. But how about Richard Perle's vacation home in the south of the country?

As long as you can make it look like an "accident", I've got your back.

Posted by: ajl on October 23, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I supported the Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan.

No support for Iraq or the War on Christmas.

Posted by: snark on October 23, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Then, if you don't "support the troops" the GOP tries to make you look unpatriotic and treasonous.

It puts me in a difficult position -- I support the war but wholeheartedly oppose the troops....

Posted by: Stefan on October 23, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, that was just bad.

Thanks!

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

My favorite war is the upcoming global thermonuclear war, triggered by accident when Russia's rickety and decaying early-warning system mistakenly identifies a flock of migrating geese as a pre-emptive US nuclear attack and the Russians launch thousands of hair-trigger alert ICBMs at the US, which leads the US to respond with a retaliatory attack of thousands of its own hydrogen-bomb ICBMs against Russia, plus a preemptive nuclear attack against China. Britain and France then join in the US attack on Russia, which in turn nukes much of Europe, while Israel launches nukes at all its neighbors, and Pakistan and India freak out and nuke each other, thus bringing an end to the sad history of the human species and its disgusting and appalling infatuation with war.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 23, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: Here is a link to a short video, The End of the World. Courtesy of Enozino @ We Torture. The end of the world never made me laugh so hard.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: My favorite war is the upcoming global thermonuclear war, triggered by accident when Russia's rickety and decaying early-warning system mistakenly identifies a flock of migrating geese as a pre-emptive US nuclear attack ...

Last time that almost happened we were lucky that Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was on duty. Next time, well ...

Posted by: alex on October 23, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

As Bomber Harris is an equal opportunity "Mad Bomber", he would like the coordinates of that Villa in France, "Le PouleFalcone"

Posted by: stupid git on October 23, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

My husband was a SAC officer in 1983. Petrov is revered among those guys.

Never in history has so much raw power been at the fingertips of so few people, who willingly and thoughtfully practiced restraint to a degree it had never been practiced before and probably will not be again.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

We hear talk of America 'losing' the Iraq War. But, in reality, is there really any possibility of America losing any war these days? Think of it, tiny Iraq insurgency groups overthrow America and install a theorcracy. Not gonna happen. That's what 'losing' would really mean. All this talk of losing is just b.s. meant to irritate the patriotic Bush supporters whose pride is hurt when they don't get what they want. REALLY LOSING isn't even a consideration. In fact, except for the thought of thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union there hasn't been any possibility of America losing a war since about 1812. Of all the other wars...some were necessary, like WWII, but most are just a way to expand the empire, make war profits and re-elect presidents.

Iraq II just seems to be the nexus of all the worst possibilities.

But, don't forget Bush I pushed Iraq into invading Kuwait and precipitating Iraq I. Don't for a second presume America is a passive objective observer without our finger in every pie.

Last night I watched a very interesting show from the Carter Center. Former President Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn and the former ambassador to Korea (S.) discussed their 1990s trip to North Korea. They made it perfectly clear that our government was against it, our CIA had bad or completely wrong intelligence about it and they didn't want to hear of Carter's successes when he returned. It can only give the impression of willful ignrorance on the part of our government (not just Clinton's admin either) and perhaps a sense that someone here wants to provoke N. Korea into developing weapons in order to give us reason to spend mega-bucks on a missile defense system or potentially on a real war with N.K. Does this sound familiar? Does it sound similar to allowing AQ Khan of Pakistan a free hand to spread nuclear technologies to Libya, North Korea and other places? Doesn't it sound similar to allowing Saddam to invade Kuwait, just to have reason to have a war for the Bush re-election campaign?

Don't believe we're innocent just because it isn't plastered all over the t.v. or newspaper headlines.

I heard a speech by Karl Rove yesterday too. He somehow manages to not smile while telling the biggest lies. It's pretty amazing. He's a better speechifier than Bushie, but of course, he's not rich like a Bush, so he couldn't be that party's leader.

In his speech he said they (the Democrats) won't win (control of Congress). How does he know that? Is the fix in? I wonder what the press would report if the Repubs actually held the House. All predictions now indicate a 20+ gain for Dems. If they only gain 14 (Repubs hold control), then would the press just say, "Oops, we (and the polls) were wrong again." or would somebody begin to wonder if the electronic voting machines were perhaps being used by Repubs to steal elections?

How far would the press be willing to go to ignore realities?

Posted by: MarkH on October 23, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I support the war on the GOP.

Of course, that's metaphorical, like the War on Drugs, or the War on Stupidity.

Posted by: craigie on October 23, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

And remember, when it comes to the GOP, Just Say NO!

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 23, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

As for al Qaeda being stateless, from their POV, statelessness is a temporary condition. They have said they want a new caliphate covering a substantial portion of the world. They are using ruthless force to try to create their caliphate.

And I've said I want to sleep with Rachel Weisz. But frankly, I have far more chance of success at my goal than they do at theirs.....

Posted by: Stefan on October 23, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a link, courtesy of thethirdpaul, The Pig War.

If you don't go read it, here is the most relevant passage

Undoubtedly, these two bloated nations had great hunger for land. For these proud nations, the entire world was, effectively, a big pie eating contest . . . and San Juan Island was the final bit of berry pie at the end of a very long geographical fork.
The silliness and futility are all encapsulated in one dead pig.


Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I see the war against Islamic fascism the same way. It has to be fought.

I believe ex-liberal hit "Post" before finishing the piece above. In its completed form it should read "It has to be fought...but by other people, not by me."

Posted by: Stefan on October 23, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

you either support it or you don't.

Bullshit.

This compartmentalizing of a complicated issue serves only to cheapen the debate. Maybe it plays to our advantage at this point now that the tide has finally turned, but its still stupid.

I have always been passionately against the war. I saw through and wrote about these absurdly transparent lies that the administration was telling from 9/12 on. It was clear what there rea agenda was.

Now that there are no good solutions, I am still against it and in favor of a immediate removal of U.S. Troop... with a caveat....as long as the fools that have gotten us into this mess are in the decision making loop.

Remove Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, wolfowitz, Feith, Rice, ....all of them from maing any decision concerning Iraq and I'll be willing to talk about how best to utilize our troops to stabilize the disaster they created.

I'll stick to nuanced debates rather than stupid black and white arguments that only serve to cheapen the debate and disrespect the sacrifices made.

Posted by: Simp on October 23, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack 10:37 I agree with your basic point on WW II : but to pick the nits Roosevelt played both ends against the middle on "Lend-Lease" : one of the few partial justifications I can think of for the Japanese planning on staging a surprise attack based on playing with a technicality on the timing of an official declaration of hostilities.
captcrisis 10;19 "created a reason for war out of nothing" makes a lot more sense if you think of the war as a pretext for usurping the powers of government and don't care who pays what cost to get there
scotian 11:25 What can I say ? A lucid and thoughtful outline.

Sorry guys. When I first quipped this government as the Fourth Reich I thought I was pushing it. The more I look, the more reasonable the possibilities seem.

Posted by: opit on October 23, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Great post. As one poster said, the statement "are there times when the United States might need to fight a preventive war? Yes. But under what circumstances?" needs elaboration. The answer indeed could be no. War is a foreign policy failure- why is this so hard to understand- it does not necessarily mean our side is at fault. I think what is missing in the piece and the conversation- is the no war approach- as the pressure builds and the winds of war blow- the no war approach is presented as dangerous amd damaging while the war approach is muscular and authorative. As time progresses, the pressure becomes impossible to stop. Meaning that people would argue "the current approach" is not working. But the reality is that that represents a speculative view, and chances are overwhelmingly that as even more time passes, the causes of war will diminish on their own. Afterall, to sound simplistic, we will all be dead. And if the concern is future generations, there is no doubt that money, materials and people are better spent here than abroad. One final point about the ME and oil. Oil is a fungible commodity that will be bought and sold in the open and ME countries do not have that much poltical sway over the world. What, Iran is not going to sell its oil? Yeah right. And they are going to extort high prices-short term they can- long term, no.

Posted by: raoul on October 23, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

It is not that Iran would suddenly stop selling oil. It is, however significant that the west is no longer a monopsony on oil purchases. China and India have voracious energy appetites, and the Iranians are not beholden to western markets any more.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Since you're asking, I was with Pelosi: supported Kosovo and Afghanistan, and opposed Gulf Wars I and II.

I still consider my opposition to Gulf War I to be justified. We'd come nowhere near exhausting the diplomatic options. Just before Christmas 1990, Saddam had unilaterally released the 3000 Americans who had been trapped in Iraq when Saddam invaded Kuwait; this was NOT the gesture of an adversary who was unwilling to negotiate. Bush I did a quick bit of moving the goalposts - when the January 15, 1991 date was originally made a red-letter deadline, it was for the beginning of initiatives to resolve the matter, not their conclusion.

I agree that if Saddam could not have been persuaded to abandon Kuwait, then we needed to push him out. The community of nations doesn't have a whole lot of hard-and-fast taboos, but invading other countries without the support of the U.N. or a well-established regional international body should be one of them.

It's always appeared to me that (once we'd parked a half-million troops on his doorstep) if we'd presented Saddam with a face-saving way out of Kuwait, he might well have taken it. Unfortunately, Bush I, like his son 12 years later, was a bit overeager to go to war before the justification for war dissolved, and my theory went untested.

The fact remains that war, um, kills people, and that's generally a bad thing. Accomplishing one's ends through a credible threat of force is far better than going to war. The combination of diplomacy and a credible threat should be given room to work, if time isn't of the essence.

Posted by: RT on October 23, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Basically since the 60s the conservatives go to war to fight for the country, and the liberals go to the campus to carry signs.

Interesting, then, that at least among the political leadership in this country, Democrats are something like three times as likely to have actually served, while the Republicans are the party of deferments, National Guard escape hatches, and lame excuses. Must be some sort of weird coincidence, especially considering how many former Republicans seem to have come back from Iraq II as-- get this-- Democrats.

The current military is quite right-wing-- the brass likes the huge budgets that the GOP gives them for weaponry (not personnel), and the rank and file are skewed toward rural types who joined as a ticket out of their opportunity-free hometowns (like mine!), with a noticeable smattering of testosterone-fueled gun nuts. However, since the military is not a democratic institution, I don't defer too much to their judgment these days anyway, since their opinions are too likely to be filtered by their immediate objectives and their leadership... and before you start squawking about that, let me note that I learned it from my lifelong Republican (even FDR-hating!), career Army, WWII-vet grandfather, who always made it clear that the military was and should be separate from the norm for American civilians, in both structure and priorities.

Posted by: latts on October 23, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, regarding the War on Christmas, I don't believe it actually exists, but since the idea seems to bring Bill O'Reilly increasingly into stroke territory, I'll go ahead & sign up for it, even as I cheerfully bake and shop.

Posted by: latts on October 23, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite war...

Another war has begun that humans have not yet recognized: the Sting Ray War. String Rays have taken it upon themselves to save the planet. God Bless Sting Rays.

Posted by: Hostile on October 23, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite war...

would have to be The Milagro Beanfield War.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 23, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a very long list of American military actions so where to start, post WWII? In the 80's?

A very few like GWI Somalia, Kosova and East Timor seem well-intentioned; others like Grenada, Panama, and Iraq II seem to have been designed solely to quell domestic policy failure.

In any event, a war should not be undertaken unless and until the public is fully informed about the threat and purpose in a realistic manner. Iraq II was classic in the way it was sold in purely propaganda terms because every rationale was discredited prior to the launching of the attack. It reminded me of Reagan's talk of the threat Nicaragua posed to the US, i.e. none but the talk of Nicaraguan invasion was on nightly despite the fact that the notion was laughable.

I suspect that the full extent of American military actions and actions to subvert independent movements in Latin American as well as other places is still unknown.

I agree with most on Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, but what was the point of reinstating the Kuwait monarchy or attacking Afghanistan before negotiations with the rulers were completed?

It is a shame that the Bust regime is not exerting any leadership in Dafur and certainly some action should have been taken in Rwanda.

Posted by: Mike on October 23, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

oh and though it's late in the thread, it needs be said (well, okay, I just want to say it)...


Peter Beinart is an utter airhead. He's shown himself to have an appalling lack of judgement. He should show some humility and shut up.

(why is it that those that are so often wrong are so often the loudest of the screechers?)

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 23, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

G C ... The Milagro Beanfield War ... that one was righteous. As for all the others, Korea and Gulf 1 o.k. the rest not so much. The older I get the more I agree .... jaw,jaw,jaw is better than war, war, war.
The way this lot is so enthusiastic about the proposal you'd think they might have some interesting new way of putting it on. Schwartzkof came through. Funny how that was the end of the even close to good news.

Posted by: opit on October 23, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

"War is the suspension of morality."
___________________

Emphatically, no. Morality remains very important, both collectively and individually.

War is the (usually massive) use of force for political objectives. How that force is used can be immoral or moral, depending upon the ethics and discipline of those who created the conditions for war and those who wield the forces involved.

Posted by: Trashhauler on October 23, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

captcrisis wrote:

What makes the Iraq war different from all the previous wars is that never before has the United States government deliberately created a reason for war out of nothing, for political purposes, and with so little thought of the human cost, including the cost of American lives. Never has a war been decided on so quickly and cavalierly.
__________________

Almost certainly the prize for the most deliberately initiated war goes to the Spanish-American War. The Spanish colonies and possessions were definitely misruled, but so too were those of other countries. And that war was poorly planned as well, with little thought to what would come after hostilities with Spain ended.

Posted by: Trashhauler on October 23, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Is it too late to request U.S. Civil War II?

A modern day Sherman and a march to the Rio Grande would cripple our enemies capability to make war. Millions of lives would be saved as a result.

Harry Turtledove anyone?


Posted by: Whack a NeoCon for Christ on October 24, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Stephan wrote:

"(Quoting someone) 'As for al Qaeda being stateless, from their POV, statelessness is a temporary condition. They have said they want a new caliphate covering a substantial portion of the world. They are using ruthless force to try to create their caliphate.'

And I've said I want to sleep with Rachel Weisz. But frankly, I have far more chance of success at my goal than they do at theirs....."
____________________

That rather depends on how far back we redeploy, doesn't it?

Posted by: Trashhauler on October 24, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

I turned against the idea of GW1 after having one of the sons of the royal family tell me I had to liberate his country. The little bastard never even fired a shot at the Iraqis but wanted to pay me to do it for him. Wonder how much Kuwaiti money flows to Al-Qaeda and wahabism these days?

Posted by: not an emir on October 24, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler is a paid to post here. Ignore him.

Posted by: Haul Trash on October 24, 2006 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

Haul Trash, why would anyone be paid to post here - or anywhere, for that matter? If there is such a such a thing, could you hook me up?

I'm curious, though. With which of my posts in this thread do you disagree? The one that says maintaining morality is important in war; the one that tells of a previously badly planned war; or the last, that reminds us our troubles won't end when we pull out of Iraq?

Posted by: Trashhauler on October 24, 2006 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Remember the book "Friendly Persuasions" about Quaker life in the 19th century? As a Quaker, you are an avowed pacifist but when the bad guys come (civil war renegades in the case of this story) and they are going to steal everything, rape your wife and daughter, kill you and your son, burn down your home, etc. Your faith is put to the test. The Quaker dilemma. As a pacifist, do you fight or let them do what they will? I don't have that dilemma. I would prefer to be a pacifist but given that circumstance I'm going to fight to protect all of the above to the best of my ability and my last dying breath. Most of us are like that I think. So, extrapolate that concept of self defense thru the layers of social structure from village to city to state to country, even global community and decide when and where you draw the line. When you will have to put aside your civility and defend. That is how we reason out the justifications for going to war. Everything else is crazy making. U.S. Politicians make war because they want to get elected (again), they suck at domestic governing and foreign policy (primarily war) is how they try to impress the electorate into thinking they are adequate enough to re-elect. Pitiful! They also get into wars to increase their wealth. War is easy for they are dishonest and amoral verging on sociopathic. And lie! These bastards lie about the reasons every single time. Some of us get the picture, some of us remain delusional to the end of our days. If you support America's history of war and military incursions (pick just about any event), you are not describing U.S. national defense interests and the defense of our Constitution, you are just part of something dangerously insane.

Posted by: Dennis on October 24, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry's foreign policy people were all Peace Corps Volunteers. So was KOS and Plame's Wilson. So, is Atrios and, yes, that's why Kerry lost.

Posted by: Jp on October 24, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly