The smell of war

Posted by dwlievert 4 years, 11 months ago to Politics
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On May 1, 2003 on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln then President George W. Bush, declared underneath an enormous "Mission Accomplished" banner that "major combat operations" in Iraq had been concluded, that regime change had been effected, and that America had prevailed in its mission to transform the Middle East.

This had followed an initial military response in Afghanistan wherein a combination of Special Forces and air power had obliterated and drove from the country, a collection of 12th century thugs that had been part of the inspiration and support for what had resulted in 9/11, and the death of almost 3000 Americans.

Following said obliteration, had we pulled up our limited “stakes” and returned home, announcing if you do it again we will be back, it would have been one of the greatest examples of retaliatory self-defense – with lasting impressions for all to morally understand, as imaginable.

Instead, we decided it was prudent to “nation-build” in Iraq, claiming the above “victory” in 2003. Well, as everyone perfectly well understands, it is now 2015. It seems both obvious and instructive to loudly scream “how’s that working out for ya (us!)?”

The current candidates for President, both red and blue, with the exception of Rand Paul, are again proclaiming the need to obliterate – now in Iraq, Syria, and wherever the latest manifestations of 12th century barbarism have arisen.

Now don’t get me wrong. If obliteration of those who have initiated carnage against American citizens is the goal, I am 100% behind such obliteration. I understand the reasoning and the morality of which said reasoning is a part (see Craig Biddle’s “10 steps to end Jihad” article in the winter issue of TOS). However, not one of the proponents of further engagement in the Middle East have displayed such thinking together with the proper moral values underpinning it.

In summary, properly destroying those who actively work to destroy us, and then announcing, “if you persist we shall return,” is instructive. Yes, these brutes, when we are no longer making ourselves a part of their insanity, may simply return to killing each other as they have been for 1300 years. Who cares – as long as they leave us alone! On the other hand, we may precipitate some sort of “enlightenment” or self – cleansing, by our responsible conduct.

In either case, and in response to those who clamor for war – without regard for PROPER conduct of same, I offer an article by one of my favorite authors, Bill Bonner, originally published in 2003.

A Dangerous Situation
“It is a dangerous situation,” commented a friend in Washington.

“I mean, the U.S. is the world’s only superpower. Not having any competition makes people arrogant and lazy…”

“Success is self-correcting,” we assured him. The greater the success… the bigger the failure that follows it.

Napoleon, you may recall, decided to attack Russia because it posed a security risk to his continental empire.

Along the Seine, the vapors of arrogance and complacency had gone to the little Corsican’s head. But his campaign against Russia slapped him in the face; it was a total disaster.

Later in the 19th century, Napoleon’s nephew, Napoleon III, declared war on Prussia for much the same reason: national security.

There was no time to wait, he argued: “We have to strike first.”

Napoleon III feared the growing power of Prussia and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s plans to unify Germany. So, he decided to make the first move, before the Germans could organize themselves and do real damage.

The French army was not exactly prepared for action… but even after Waterloo, the Seine still reeked with the lingering odors of a bull market in French power.

Like American investors today, the French believed “we will always manage somehow.” A few months later, Parisians still managed… just barely: They were eating rats… as the city was besieged by von Moltke’s army.

"With hindsight,” writes Paul B. Hatley, “historians realize that Napoleon III’s decision to go to war with Prussia ranks among the great military blunders in history." The French learned from this experience; they’ve attacked nobody since. The god of war, they noticed, turns his back on those who strike first.

But after the German victory, the stench of mindless pride drifted across the Rhine like toxic gas, where it remained in hollows, valleys, and shallow graves for many years.

Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to take the initiative in 1914 – sending his armies into action against Belgium and France. By 1919, there no longer was a Kaiser.

Then, in the late 1930s Adolph Hitler went on the attack, his nostrils flared with maniacal self-assurance.

He struck first to the west… and then to the east. In both directions, he enjoyed great initial success – followed by terrible catastrophes. By 1945, Hitler was no more.

Of course, we do not presume to know whether the Bush administration’s attacks will be more successful. We suspect they are shameful. But there is so much we don’t know, we hesitate to say so.

We don’t know if the people we meet are good people or bad… so we smile and say please and thank you, anyway.

We don’t know if stocks are going up or down – so we buy only those that represent real value for our money.

We don’t know if striking at presumed enemies will make the world a better place or a worse one. But in Dulles Airport on Sunday morning… we thought we smelled a strange and unsettling aroma wafting in from the Potomac…



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  • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 11 months ago
    The fedgov has repeatedly proven to me that the fall of the USSR was one of the worst things that could have happened to America. If the USSR had stood in spite of it foolish policies, none of the foolish American moves in the Middle East would have happened, America's reputation for fair play (compared to the USSR) would be in place, the fedgov would not have dared to crush liberty at home, and the blowback from neocon/socialist fedgov invasions of other countries would be non existent.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 11 months ago
      If the Soviet Union had remained propped up we could all be incinerated by now, and a lot more have been tortured in the Gulag and its equivalent throughout Soviet territory. It's collapse was not "one of the worst things that could have happened to America". The subsequent state of the world are due to the subsequent actions and responses to or ignoring the ongoing threats, not a lack of a Soviet Union. The ongoing statist decline in the US is caused by the ongoing spread of collectivist and statist premises and their consequences, not a lack of the Soviets.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 11 months ago
        I agree incineration would be a worse outcome, but a nearly-non-existant possibility. You sound like LBJ with his fear mongering against Goldwater.
        The Soviets were a balancing force that kept the statists from creating the "empire" that is the "new american century." The USSR had to die for the new world order to be created.
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    • Posted by Lucky 4 years, 11 months ago
      Interesting comment. The old Soviet was rational in the sense that they put some value on themselves as individuals surviving. This meant that some negotiation was possible. The current crop of antagonists from the green left to Islamists appear to be intent on sacrificing themselves (and us especially) to their causes.
      McCarthyism was not pro-liberty but the current PC trends are getting as bad or worse.
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