Mar
21

Open Thread: War

By

Heath Shuler wants U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. There are still 40,000 troops in Iraq. We’re shooting up Libya. We spend more on ‘defense’ than anything else. Our troops are stationed across the globe. Meanwhile, here at home our government is claiming poverty and the need to burden the working classes.

What are your thoughts about the state of U.S. international military interventions?

Comments

  1. Susan says:

    I believe we are now in four wars…. it is obscene, immoral, and stupid beyond belief.

    And it will not end well.

  2. Bill says:

    Not only will it not end well, the blowback is building! I have been involved in the clean up from terrorist attack on the trade center and given the present economy, we couldn’t handle it again. With joblessness at an all time high and health care benefits at their lowest we need to focus on the home front, not being mercenaries for the oil companies.

  3. Mister Smug says:

    Bush sucked and Obama blows.

  4. You’ll never get a better president that Obama. I’m not saying he is a good president, mind you. I’m just saying its all downhill from here.

  5. TJ says:

    In WWII, it was a “just cause,” although the military did not intervene at the instant they knew about the death camps.

    In Vietnam, many young people died believing in a “cause” the gov’t fed them.

    Clinton declared wars around the time his affair was exposed.

    Bush had to follow in his daddy’s footsteps, I suppose.

    Now, we are at war for oil?

    Of course, it’s always about the $. We want America to be the savior of the world, yet we care not for our own.
    There comes a time when every “good parent” says ,”no, we cannot afford that,” or “no, that is wrong.”

    Of course, those who make those decisions have proven themselves lesss than able “parents.”

    Sorry for the analogy, it just makes me wish someone WOULD give some lessons about basic humanity to the people running the country. It is a noble thing to want to stand up for the little guys, but it is beyond that.

    “Physician, heal thyself.”

  6. Tom Sullivan says:

    Absolutely nothin!

  7. Hazelite says:

    If you want to defund our bases and military actions around the world- call it foreign aid. Americans hate foreign aid, and want to reduce or eliminate it.

    Then maybe if you want to feed starving children, call it “America’s Awesome War Against the Really Bad Guys!” and if you need to go back “Kick Their Ass, The Sequel!”

  8. Gordon Smith says:

    SueTwo,

    Paul Choi isn’t running for anything. Errant rumor, I fear.

    While I understand your venom for those who would look past the errors of their Party Brethren, I am a strong believer in the importance and efficacy of political parties. Much like labor unions, they allow many people to pool their resources in efforts to achieve their common goals.

    As to Libya, I’m still trying to learn more about what’s going on. I appreciate any links you can provide that will help me learn more.

  9. Big Ivy says:

    1. I am very late with this but I wanted to say something positive about Shuler and his vote against de-funding NPR and his vote for getting our people out of Afghanistan. I was surprised to find him in a place that made sense to me.

    2. I realize that I will sound pretty bad to many readers but here goes anyway. I have sympathy for any and all people living where a war is being conducted. However, I am thoroughly sick of politicians and talking heads crying about other people and their suffering. When they can tell me WHY and HOW the situation is worth a 19 year old American boy’s life I’ll start listening.

    To hell with all of them and their bleary eyed sympathy.

  10. D.Dial says:

    I believe we are seeing a sea-change in the middle east…this in spite of our meddling, propping up dictators and despots for decades. In Iraq and Afghanistan, we (the US) did not have UN support. There is support for going against Ghadaffi and his mercenaries as they act unmercifully against legitimate demonstrations against Ghadaffis rule.

    For the first time in a long time, I believe we’re actually doing the right thing….I may be proven wrong…but i don’t think so.

  11. Big Ivy says:

    If Arab countries disapprove of what Khadaffi is doing, they have the means to intervene but they very obviously will not do so. (Similar to their lamentations about the Palestinians while never offering them refuge or support.) Why would any right-thinking, civilized Arab call on the west to intervene militarily in another Arab country? Don’t you wonder about that?

    I strongly believe it is for each country to settle its own hash and find it hard to believe that interference from another part of the world, much less a different culture and mindset, will ever have a positive outcome.

    Iran must be rolling about laughing. Is there a pile of dog mess anywhere that the U.S. doesn’t want to roll in?

  12. TJ says:

    “I strongly believe it is for each country to settle its own hash and find it hard to believe that interference from another part of the world, much less a different culture and mindset, will ever have a positive outcome”

    I would agree with the latter part, and even the first, to a degree. We have our own piles to worry about, to be sure, but I do not have a problem with “meddling” in cases where genocide is occurring. Unfortunately, America picks and chooses whom they deem worthy of “saving,” then proceed to do a half-a–
    job, proclaiming “victory,” when it’s no longer convenient.

    Then, there’s the matter of how all the vets I have known are treated (or, rather, not) upon their return to a “grateful nation.” (Usually more easily mouthed when informing a family of a death). Gratitude seems to stop when the bucks need to be dished out for illnesses, PTSD, etc.

    Okay, that’s my rant on war.

    There are MANY things I don’t understand politically speaking, but I CAN understand when people are sent to “serve” an often half-told “cause,” then are left to their own devices too often when they, in turn, need service.

  13. Ascend (of Asheville) says:

    Most of the time I feel reduced to the level of, to paraphrase Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fire burn, Tree pretty.
    The constant flux, the complexity and I fear, misinformation coming to us as standard rank and file citizens puts us in a position of not knowing the real reasons for any of our current or even past military adventuring.
    Is this the face of modern Imperialism, economic domination rather than actual occupation? Are we in Libya because France needs us to be there to help them with their own economic interests, and as a pay-back for helping us with our oil-country takeover in Iraq? Why aren’t the Egyptians or any other African or Middle Eastern countries helping in this effort?
    It’s sad that we can’t be trusted to be a part of the foreign policy of this nation, or even to know the reasons behind the decisions made. Think about that for a minute. We rail and scream and vote in who we think are the good guys and when the rubber hits the road on this new administration they do what they pretty well want to regardless.
    I see Obama talking, but I don’t hear him saying anything. By the time enough time passes that the historians could piece it together the bodies will be buried and the paths overgrown and the official American Realism version will be all that survives.
    Sad. Just sad.

  14. TJ says:

    ” By the time enough time passes that the historians could piece it together the bodies will be buried and the paths overgrown and the official American Realism version will be all that survives.
    Sad. Just sad”

    Well said. Misinformation. It IS sad that as US citizens we live with the knowledge that we are fed a steady stream of misinformation, that it’s just a given that we cannot trust information on the news spins, and that good intentions are infrequently followed up with action.

    Still, I remain an optimist, foolish perhaps. I believe people are capable of greatness-we have many examples of it-both on small and larger scales.

    That said, I don’t believe that anything someone has to die over is desirable in the long run. Violence has never morphed into a lasting peace that I know of. There is always another member of the “pride” waiting to challenge the king.

  15. D.Dial says:

    Unfortunately when you have a monster dictator like Ghadaffi, you have to meet him with like force. That is reality. He made no bones about his intent of totally crushing the protestors…and has a brutal, well documented history of ruthlessly destroying anyone who spoke out against him. Even when they left the country and settled in other countries. They would eventually be hunted dow and killed. Turning the other cheek to murders only emboldens them. Sometimes you must fight fire with even hotter fire.

    I’ve been following the messages being spread world wide from the boots on the ground and in the squares…this is the first time I am aware of where actual people are reporting on what is happening, unfiltered through the MSM. It’s worth tuning in to what is being said by the people.

  16. Gordon Smith says:

    “I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.”

    – President Obama, in a speech accepting his Nobel Peace Prize.

  17. D.Dial says:

    Thnkx GS for the posting of President Obamb’s words.

    Which is what I see happening here…I’m happy we stepped in early to put pressure on Ghadaffi. When the people decide it’s time for a brutal dictator to go, and that dictator has the means to dessimate the people, then the world must step in.

  18. TJ says:

    “When the people decide it’s time for a brutal dictator to go, and that dictator has the means to dessimate the people, then the world must step in.”

    And, THAT is what is called a “just” war. The problem lies when such moments are chosen when it is politically or economically expedient, rather than strictly for the sake of the “cause.”

    Clearly, “good men” should NOT stand and do nothing. Beyond determining the point of the intervention, there is also the question of how long. Beyond that, I guess I am naïve enough to believe we should be able to take care of our own citizens as aggressively(financially and action-wise) as we do for other parts of the world. But, I guess it doesn’t help foreign relations enough (although, it would be nice if it were more impressive
    how well we treat the poorest of our poor, while we get kudos from others for all the “aid” we send others).

    I am not anti-war(other than preferring the concept of world peace). I am anti-let’s-see-what-we-can-get-and-how-good-can-we-look-jumping-in-as-long-as-it’s-not-too-inconvenient wars.

  19. TJ says:

    ” With joblessness at an all time high and health care benefits at their lowest we need to focus on the home front, not being mercenaries for the oil companies.”

    Unfortunately, wars are seen as opportunities to create more jobs. I’ve always heard that the economy rises as wars rage (other than the countries being demolished, I would imagine).

    By the way, thank you for all your efforts to assist with post 9/11.
    Clean up is not so easy when it comes to emotional pain from knowing someone whom died there.

  20. Management says:

    Absolutely nothin!

    Good God, ya’ll!

  21. Ascend (of Asheville) says:

    http://www.salon.com/news/libya/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2011/03/22/libya
    Glen Greenwald, who I’m not really a fan of usually, points out some of the problems in using Humanitarian suffering as the reason for “going in” on other nations. Like so many of our national justifications it is highly suspect that the reasoning resonates in some areas but not in others. It begs the question of what the standard of human suffering is and what level of suffering is acceptable versus what creates an inescapable call for action.
    Never mind that in most cases the intervention just re-directs the tide of human suffering rather than alleviating it entirely.

  22. Diogenes says:

    I’ve be torn thinking about whether I approve or support U.S. intervention in Libya.

    On the one hand, use of our military to liberate oppressed people, which Libyans, Egyptians, Bahrainian, &Yemeni people certainly are, is a good thing.

    Humanitarian motives I support. Too bad we weren’t more proactive at the beginnings of these righteous uprisings, too bad Obama et al. weren’t more vocal in showing support early on.

    On the other hand, I don’t trust the military to do or to say the right thing, I’m skeptical of the motives–Lybian oil is much prized. Past experience leads me to be very cynical about this adventure.

    So, on a beautiful spring day like today, I feel, and as Shad Marsh has elsewhere pointed out, ‘as the kids like to say’…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDOHEWMXXyk&feature=player_embedded

  23. Michael Muller says:

    I agree with you, Davyne. I think it was the right thing to do.

    MM

  24. Big Ivy says:

    We (U.S.) say we cannot afford to educate our children, provide medical services for our people, or continue Social Security for older people but we can intervene in Libya for humanitarian reasons. ??

    What rebel government are we dealing with in Libya? What plan do the Libyans have for forming a government if they are rid of Khaddafi? Will we intervene in other Middle Eastern (Arab) countries if things get ugly?

    WHY didn’t the neighboring Arab/Moslem governments handle the Libyan situation? You do know they have armies and air forces.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood all these years but I thought blood and treasure were to be spent only in the face of a direct threat to the interests and welfare of one’s country. If this is incorrect, I think I can safely conclude that armies and air forces make poor social workers when we exercise our humanitarian efforts.

    I certainly hope and pray this turns out well but I really doubt that it will.

  25. Jason Bugg says:

    “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” – Barack Obama

    Obama is being a hypocrite in this situation, even if it is a morally defensible use of force. Doing this under the UN flag does not make it a non US action, not at all, it is still US troops under US orders, the ships aren’t going back to some UN base later so the next UN member can use them.

    While none of us actually know for sure, I guarantee that when the powers that be were talking about military action the oil companies were in the next room, probably closer than the OAS and definitely closer to the table than the International Red Cross or Amnesty International.

    If Oil markets are destabilized for a while and supply is “limited” the Oil Co’s make more money. They all had banner years when supplies were disrupted last time remember? Not to mention high gas prices gives added volume to the “drill baby drill” screams.

    How many countries should we be bombing on any given day? It’s four right now: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.
    If you ask your self “what would W do?” I bet the answer would be: bomb Libya.

  26. Hattaway says:

    Y’all complain too much. It is as though you still cannot come to terms with what drives the country and economy. It is not up to you or the people of Asheville. If you want change, do something other than complaining. Try electing those who are not driven by the drive for “more” (ie, money, ego, stuff). Asheville people have a great ethic, but it does not drive national policy. I hope y’all can take thi initiative and learn how to make change. Hint: blogging here isn’t enough.

  27. Diogenes says:

    As is often the case Jon Stewart explains the American foreign policy.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-march-21-2011/america-s-freedom-packages

  28. Tom Sullivan says:

    We’re broke!!! Launch another $170 million worth of cruise missiles.

  29. nathan ramsey says:

    This is why our Presidents often take office looking very young with no white hair (may be thanks to grecian formula) and after their term in office, they have aged for more than their years of service.

  30. TJ says:

    “We’re broke!!! Launch another $170 million worth of cruise missiles.”

    See? I KNEW wars create a job market! Of course, it’s no fair if another country decides WE’RE the enemy and want to fight here. But, of course, our gov’t’s okay with taking that chance.

    “This is why our Presidents often take office looking very young with no white hair (may be thanks to grecian formula) and after their term in office, they have aged for more than their years of service.”

    SSsooo–MAYBE they should more thoughtfully step into the role of the world’s “peacekeeper” (a descriptive irony, if ever I’ve heard one), leave a more stable and honorable legacy, and enter into conflicts with a clear conscience (free of trickery and greed).

  31. shadmarsh says:

    I think there is a tendency among some on the left to see war in terms of morality. War is amoral. Sure wars can, and are, fought for both moral and immoral reasons, but the activity of war itself is outside of those terms, and I think a certain tension arises when trying to view the act of war in terms of morality, and I think a lot of those on the left unknowingly get caught up in conflating the action with the cause.

    And of course the MSM loves war, it’s good for ratings, and watching our technological dominance play out on the boob tube turns it all into a warped fetish where we are free (or at least it seems that way) of the direct consequences and are filled with the false sense of superiority. It’s good for morale.

  32. Diogenes says:

    Neocons and liberal interventionists stampeded Obama into imposing a no-fly zone against Libya—despite the absence of vital U.S. interests there. Leslie H. Gelb on the hypocrisy among world leaders and how the experts abuse historical analogies.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-21/the-horrible-libya-hypocrisies/?om_rid=Dc1N-$&om_mid=_BNiJVmB8Zzy9sC#

  33. Diogenes says:

    “I think there is a tendency among some on the left to see war in terms of morality. War is amoral.”

    Let me be the first:

    What about Hitler? Or, Pol Pot, or the American revolutionaries, the Anti-Slavery North, the IRA?

    War is always a nasty business, but morality is always relative. That’s why terrorism works.

  34. shadmarsh says:

    Like I said, war can be used for a “moral cause” but war itself is amoral. The cause and the action are not the same thing.

  35. Jason Bugg says:

    @Dio

    I’ll give you Hitler, but we didn’t give a fuck about Pol Pot, or the IRA or slavery.

  36. TJ says:

    “’ll give you Hitler, but we didn’t give a fuck about Pol Pot, or the IRA or slavery.”

    And, actually, the US did not care about the death camps when they first learned about them. Documents were brought to the US by refugees long before they actually stepped in and made it “their business.”

    I agree that war itself it amoral, but its’ use by anyone turns it into a moral question as soon as the first shots are fired or bomb dropped-for a whole array of reasons. An action in use cannot remain neutral by virtue of being involved as a manner of reasoning(for a “cause”).

  37. Diogenes says:

    Mr. Bugg,

    Upon reflection perhaps you will agree that many people who travel and read widely, are not provincial or lack empathy, gave a fuck, a big fuck, about abolition, independence from foreign domination, and murderous despots.

    For you to so authoritatively reject the facts reflects poorly, IMHO, on both your knowledge and judgment.

    But then, that’s what blog comments are for.

  38. D.Dial says:

    Dio said: “For you to so authoritatively reject the facts reflects poorly, IMHO, on both your knowledge and judgment.”

    Some folks live in a very small world.

  39. shadmarsh says:

    If you enjoy Mr. Bugg’s in your face no holds barred savvy insights, be sure to tune into http://www.ashevillefm.org today at 4pm EST as he will be guest hosting with me!

  40. Big Ivy says:

    Just a reminder… Germany declared war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941. America’s declaration of war on Germany was a response to Germany and Italy.

    Our (American) record of taking in Jews before and during WWII is nothing to be especially proud of. Roosevelt encouraged accepting more European Jews but the immigration policy was not changed until 1948. The problem European Jews faced was not well known as American newspapers at the time were either did not believe the reports or were not particularly interested in the stories or consciously chose to suppress the stories.

    I have a general impression that real information about the death camps was not widely available until the end of the war. That doesn’t mean that there was no information at all but that specific factual information and reporting was limited.

  41. TJ says:

    “But then, that’s what blog comments are for.”

    For what? To express things that reflect poorly, or to learn a wider range of ideas and experiences? I know (I) have a lot to learn, and that is one thing I enjoy about the variety expressed here.

    “Some folks live in a very small world.”

    Yes, that is accurate. Some as small as what’s in front of their face, and even then, some walk by blindly.

    “he will be guest hosting with me!”

    What’s the topic? I can’t get that link on my mobile device.

    Speaking of war, cleanup, etc., if anyone’s interested:

    Clyde Fire Dept obtained two beams from the 9/11 devastation and will be taking the next couple of months to form ideas for a memorial. Meanwhile, they are housed at their station and the public is able to see them if they wish.

  42. Dixiegirlz says:

    @ TJ

    Following the 9/11 attack there were some high beamed lights focused up into the dark sky, to symbolize the two buildings and the ascent of the souls that left the bodies of those that perished. Due to costs (I believe) this was only a temporary memorial.

    I think erecting the beams straight up and lighting them at night would be symbolic of the buildings and the lives that were lost. And a fitting reminder of our place in the world and how actions have consequences.

  43. Jason Bugg says:

    @Dio

    A lot of people did, and the war was about slavery. But what was the Lincoln quote about freeing slaves to save the union?

    My point is, if you were too stupid or emotional of a woman to realize it, that wars are never fought for good reasons. Wars are fought for petty alliances, economic reasons and the want of land.

    Anything to make rubes like you think that the cause is just so that you’ll sign up and die so that the elites won’t have to.

  44. TJ says:

    “That doesn’t mean that there was no information at all but that specific factual information and reporting was limited”

    Friends of mine who emigrated after surviving the camps bore documents pre-dating what most people are aware of. I see it as an example of spin, and that it was too disturbing for most people who knew to believe until they saw with their own eyes. More could possibly have been rescued sooner than later.

  45. TJ says:

    ” And a fitting reminder of our place in the world and how actions have consequences.”

    A very good idea. And a good lesson to remember and I hope the memorial encompasses both those thoughts.

  46. Franko says:

    The United States didn’t give a shit about Hitler on a moral level. We sat back and allowed him to destroy a good bit of Europe before we finally put and end to the Nazi advance. We also sat back and allowed them to develop nuclear weapons for years without doing a thing about it. The US only came to Britain’s rescue after they knew they could control the World stage. Morality Schmorality. War is big business.