Freedom isn’t free, but they have paid it for us; some in final full measure of devotion.
Whatever his personal issues may be my thanks go out to Mel Gibson for his part in a body of very American theater.
And God may forgive those in current positions of authority who are even as we speak actively purging our military of our most loyal Americans, but I sure as hell will not.
We’ve had one or two good wars, a bunch of stupid and/or evil ones, and several “good” ones that should have been avoided.
The older I get, the more I love the values of America’s Founding Fathers, and the less I love our history of militarism.
This isn’t to take anything away from the bravery and sacrifice of our heroes, but
* Spanish American War – pure aggression
* Civil War – fought to establish the principle that no one can ever opt out of American government ever again. Yes, slavery was evil…yet slavery disappeared everywhere in the Western World within 20 years. Why did millions need to die?
* World War I – a Progressive crusade of no value to Americans, helped to create and cement the Imperial American State
* World War II – the worst enemies we have ever fought, and we did insanely huge amounts of good work by fighting them … but why, exactly, did we step in to a fight between two left wing dictatorships in Europe? To save England, to some degree. And why did Churchill stick his nose in? In an alternate universe Hitler exiled the Jews to Madagascar, Hitler and Stalin bled each other white, and the US never created the modern military industrial system.
* Korea and Vietnam – would not have happened at all if FDR hadn’t propped up his good friend “Uncle Joe”, then handed the Soviets all of Eastern Europe.
* Gulf War I and II – accomplished what, exactly?
Bravery and sacrifice in defense of freedom and homeland is deeply American.
Sacrifice in pointless oversees empire-building wars is not.
On WWI, we largely got pulled into it by Germany. I believe the last straw was the Kaiser trying to incite Mexico to invade us. The real problem was we parleyed our post-victory position into the Treaty of Versailles.
I highly recommend The Guns of August, for background on how WWI got started. It was really a case of weapons grade stupidity on all sides.
You forget that Hitler, like Stalin wanted to control the _entire_ world. He understood, as do all too few on the Least and Left Coasts that as long as _anyone_ knows an alternative exists, tyrants are not safe. WWI came about because a group of Lunatics wanted to have no government at all. A series of treaty obligations caused it to spread.
The “Civil Ear” happened in large part because the Southern Slave owners wanted to protect _and_ grow spread the use of slaves. They refused to acknowledge that it was a dead end economic society. They were so in love with their power and prestige as slave owners that they wouldn’t even consider any other path. They recognized that the North was beating them as a society and manufacturing base, but couldn’t/wouldn’t accept it. The North, OTOH, wasn’t willing to accept anything but an industrialized society. Neither had clean hands, in starting or fighting the war. Finally, the requirements to _join_ the Union, imply the same to _leave_ it. Something the prideful South would never acknowledge.
The principles are very easy to understand. 5 people start a partnership, and go into business. One day, 2 decide they don’t want to be partners, and take 40% of everything and leave. Never mind that they take property properly belonging to _all 5_, instead of only what they actually own. Then, when the other 3 call police to get back the property belonging to all, the “leaving partners” start a fight. Whining about how their “rights were violated.” Never mind the rights of the other 3, it’s *their* rights that are all important. Just like The Least and Left Coasts are today. “We’re the only ones who count, and we can abuse the rest of you at will.” It doesn’t and can never work that way.
Korea, like GWI started because a *diplomat* said. “It’s not our problem.” That gave a power mad dictator “permission” to attack a victim. GWII was because Saddam Hussein didn’t learn anything from GWI. The kind of “thinking” that calls them “pointless” is where I part company with the Libertarian Party. I DO NOT need to wait until the abusive drunk/druggie down the street is assaulting _my_ family, or me, to take action. He, or she, Can and SHOULD have it made clear that she, or he’ behaves him/herself. IOW, “Act in a way that threatens me or mine, and you won’t act again.” Anyone not terminally stupid understands that. Especially, if they know that it isn’t an empty threat. You don’t have to “look for trouble,” but you must be willing to prevent it.
I used to live in Downtown Indianapolis, and use crutches. I would go walking at 2:00 A.M. in neighborhoods that even police went in pairs. I have NEVER been robbed/assaulted/bothered. My attitude was always. “If you want what I have, one, or both, of us is going to the hospital.” That’s why the Libertarian “non aggression policy” is a textbook policy of failure. Predators recognize *only* force used against them, *or the credible threat of such.*
Just like fighting a fire, the time to stop a predator, is before they are in your house. Hitler/Stalin/ Mao/Pol Pot, all could have been stopped before they got bigger. They weren’t because people didn’t want to _believe_ they were dangerous. Only a fool tries to argue with a lion or tiger. Yet that is exactly what too many will try to do. Instead of following a common sense approach.
The sensible LP approach is very simple, and not all theoretical. “Don’t mess with me or mine, and I will leave you alone. If you do, I will teach you a lesson.” Survival of that lesson is optional. I’ve had occasion to use that approach way too many times, dealing with people that didn’t want to do their jobs, or abused their power. In every case, they learned their lesson, at great cost to themselves. The sad truth is that too many wars happened because some politician, or troublemaker, didn’t get that message, and no one wanted to “offend” them, by making it clear. So, young men and women died to salve some idiot’s theories that have never, and _can never_ work.
Seriously? empire-building? I think you don’t understand empire-building at all… In every case, the people who fought and died were not empire building. The leaders? who knows… at the time they were supporting allies. We only read the after reports… many times we don’t see the actual decision making … or the fears. We see the sanitized version.
But the actions of America do not follow empire building if you read the history of China, Europe, and other true empire-building countries.
–and compare results and actions
Other than the fact that I look around and fail to see this empire we built…
I don’t disagree, for the most part, and have argued the pointlessness of WW2 (it’s actually not hard) but when I’ve done so it has been as a *device* to illustrate that the arguments against our recent actions in the Middle East could as well be made for other wars that are usually viewed as “Good.”
On some elemental, fundamental level… standing peacefully and dying will result in less overall tragedy and destruction. Letting the bad guys win, letting the oppression continue, letting threats grow, submission… subjugation… can we really *really* justify resistance even to that? Of course not. What difference does it make if it’s Saddam filling mass graves with his enemies, gassing Kurds, or wiping Marsh Arabs from the face of the Earth… or if it’s Americans dropping bombs and people still die? Dead people are still dead. The total destruction might even be much greater than it would have otherwise been. If Hitler killed every Jew, would the body count be greater than WW2 or would it be less? I’m betting that it would be less.
So let me share the reason for any of it. It’s to put evil on notice. When Patrick Henry said give me liberty or give me death, he put oppression on notice, that people would willingly pay MORE than any oppressor could ever consider reasonable. And it’s not reasonable. Would it have been so bad to remain under British rule? Was it worth a single life? How could it have been worth a single life? You see *reason* in the defense of freedom and homeland but there IS NO REASON. None. Not in defense of freedom and homeland.
You have to apply the same metric to all military conflicts. Or not apply it to any.
We NEEDED to attack those who attacked us on 9-11. We NEEDED to respond to Japan. We NEEDED to go to war against Hitler. We NEEDED to invade Iraq. Why? To put anyone who would attack us on notice. To put everyone ELSE on notice that ONCE WE START ROLLING we are a juggernaut… and we might not stop until they are crushed under the wheels of our tanks, too. Even if just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is not a GAME. Every time we wuss out, back track, retreat with our tail between our legs, leave our allies to swing in the wind… because someone became un-freaking-comfortable… we’re setting up the next hot-head who convinces himself that we won’t DO anything, that our own people will undermine our will and confuse our purpose, and it doesn’t even take a stupid *nation* anymore. All it takes is a few guys on airplanes or one fellow with a dirty bomb or vial of nerve poison and a cause.
When Gen Mattis talked to Iraqi leaders he didn’t say… “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll feel conflicted and rethink my purpose in life.” He said… “I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”
The purpose is to put people, nations, and evil on notice… to shape the shit up, because you’re not going to like what happens if you don’t. It’s to put anyone on notice that our response is going to be all way the heck out of proportion.
If we were proportionate or rational, we’d prefer slavery to death.
Thank you. Where the Libertarian party fails is where they think that if we leave the world alone, the world leaves us alone. This is a sane view, but international politics is more like a kindergarten without a teacher than it is sane. If they’re not afraid of you they WILL take your cookies. And if you don’t have friends to help you defend your cookies (which means you defend theirs) then you will get defeated when you need help.
” Where the Libertarian party fails is where they think that if we leave the world alone, the world leaves us alone. This is a sane view, but international politics is more like a kindergarten without a teacher than it is sane.”
No, this is not a sane view, because it isn’t based in reality. A sane view, and what the Libertarian parties stance should be is; if the world leaves us alone, we will leave them alone. The only way to make this reality is to prove to the world (and this needs to be reproven periodically) that a) we are leaving them alone and b) when someone doesn’t leave us alone we make them pay in spades.
We haven’t done b) since Japan, and we have paid the price for it, because the world no more believes us when we threaten them than we believe our Commander-in-Chief when he says that if we like our health care plan, we can keep it… period.
Okay what I meant was “this would make sense if the world were sane.” I.e. if other countries didn’t want to take us down for reasons ranging from “look, they’re big and we can hit them” (9/11) to “they have money.”
Exactly. It’s a sane view. But the world isn’t sane.
And I don’t actually support willy-nilly military action. There’s lots of stuff I figure we ought never have stuck our noses into. There’s strong-men that we ought never have supported. There’s no end to patting ourselves on the back for fomenting and renting out our conflicts dishonestly and waging war through misery via sanctions… it disgusts me.
But honest war has a purpose. It’s horrific, but necessary. And I just wish that when we did it, we didn’t spend half our ordinance shooting our selves in the foot. Not only do more Americans die than need be, but more of *everyone* dies unnecessarily because of our failure of will.
(For the benefit of onlookers who might think it matters… yes, I’m a vet.)
Thank you, you put that into words better than I could have.
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“Civil War – fought to establish the principle that no one can ever opt out of American government ever again. Yes, slavery was evil…yet slavery disappeared everywhere in the Western World within 20 years. Why did millions need to die?”
As an aside: “millions” did not die in the Civil War. The estimated death toll is something like 700,000.
We can argue til the cows come home about why the Civil War was fought. It’s at least as accurate to say that the war was fought because the southern states wouldn’t leave well enough alone. Had they simply said “we’re leaving” and left, that might have been the end of it. Everything else might have been settled at the negotiating table. But instead, they fired the first shots, bombarding Fort Sumter and seizing all US federal property in Southern states. Those are acts of war, and in those days, “act of war” meant WAR.
As for why WW2: regardless of why England went to war against Germany, it _was_ an ally, and even then America’s leaders understood what a foulness the Nazi regime was. Taking England’s side against Germany was such an obviously right thing to do that I’m honestly surprised you would question it. You can justifiably quarrel with the _way_ that FDR chose to do it — we were effectively at war with Germany in the Atlantic three months before Pearl Harbor — but I don’t see any good reason to question why we did it at all. Then Hitler declared war on the US within hours of Pearl Harbor, and sent U-boats to attack American coastal shipping, and we didn’t have much of a choice anymore.
Hitler intended to ethnically cleanse Europe and kill or relocate millions to make room for the so called Aryan race. He regarded the U.S. as a dangerous nation, but was looking toward doing the same here.
In the end we would have to fight Hitler.
> In the end we would have to fight Hitler.
In the end we never fought Stalin.
The two are not comparable. WWII was a hot conflict, with the USSR nominally our ally, because if Hitler was able to unite all of Europe against them, they were screwed.
AFTER WWII, we had nukes. We could destroy them even if they hit us first. So the two situations cannot be compared with each other. Had we not countered them in other countries during the Cold War, they would have eventually gained enough dominance that they COULD attack us with impunity. Don’t know if they would, because by then, they would have been powerful enough to pretty much do what they pleased.
> AFTER WWII, we had nukes. We could destroy them even if they hit us first.
So you’re arguing that containment as a strategy only works if one has nukes?
Yet the strategy goes back to antiquity. For one relatively recent example, see The Great Game. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game
Choosing containment over confrontation (or vice versa) has nothing to do with the weapons technology.
The Assertion that the Nazis were seeking world domination is not, IMO, supportable by the evidence. Certainly it wasn’t achievable. Given that they were explicitly anti-capitalist, waiting for them to implode – the way we waited out the USSR – would have been an entirely reasonable strategy.
No it doesn’t require nukes, what it does require is the ability to annihilate the opposition, and for the opposition to believe you will do so if they cross the line. Nukes accomplished that for us for quite a while, but currently a large portion of the world doesn’t believe we would actually pull the trigger on the nukes.
I disagree with you on your view of most of the wars except the Civil War, I would really like to agree wholeheartedly with you on the Civil War. Unfortunately the South did fire the first shots, now I believe that they did so because they didn’t believe the North was going to allow them to secede, but because they did so the rights of states to secede will always remain murky at best, at least until some more states attempt it.
The Confederacy intended to expand into the American Southwest, Mexico and Central America, carrying slavery along with them. You could look it up.
It is insufficient to assert slavery is an inherently noncompetitive economic strategy in the modern industrial world. That is a) unsubstantiated by evidence b) overlooks the possibility that the competitive disadvantage may not be so great as to outweigh the benefits derived by the slaveholders and their allies c) is refuted by China.
Not arguing that they didn’t intend to expand, it is well documented that the did so intend. Whether they would have attempted to do so by force if they had seceded peacefully I don’t know.
The civil war was fought over states rights, one of those was the right to choose slavery, but another was the right to ‘opt out’ if the states disagreed with the federal government. I have stated before that I believe states have a right to secede rather than bow down to a federal government, but that we already fought a war over that and lost; so obviously I am wrong.
I don’t believe the North would have allowed them to secede peacefully, but the South fired the first shots preemptively, so we’ll never know.
On a generally forgotten thread, all of that was preceded by a Supreme Court ruling that effectively meant that if some states were slave states, all states had to be slave states, thus breaking down the great compromise that had kept things from boiling over prior to that.
They didn’t start by seceding; they started by trying impose their laws on the rest of the states, and when that failed, then they seceded.
Those advocating containment over confrontation must address the failure of containment in Iraq and Iran.
That the Nazis were seeking world domination is, IMO, amply supported by the evidence and there is no evidence refuting that thesis. Waiting for them to implode would have been a disastrous strategy condemning 100s of millions to death. You overlook their success with rocket delivered warheads and the nearness to success of their own efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
You completely misunderstand the argument. For “nukes” substitute “decisive tactical and strategic advantage.” Or simply strike “only” from the summation, as that is a contribution wholly of your own construction and is not implicit in the argument presented.
Wikipedia is an unreliable authority and has zero dispositive weight
The Assertion that the Nazis were seeking world domination is not, IMO, supportable by the evidence.
If that is the case your opinion is ignorant and, where not ignorant, ill-informed. Any extensive review of the history of the Third Reich represents convincingly otherwise. Anyone holding the opinion that Nazi Germany did not pursue world domination “is a ass—a idiot.”
> Anyone holding the opinion that Nazi Germany did not pursue world domination “is a ass”
I respect the way you argue. You have convinced me with your footnotes and citations and I now agree with you.
I beg your pardon — based upon your contribution to date I was under the impression that footnotes, citations, facts and evidence were irrelevant to you and therefore I did not perceive any need to offer any from the wide selection of such available. That is why I quoted Dickens’ Mr. Bumble for you.
I now understand that logic and literary reference are also unimportant in the informing of your views and apologize for making your head hurt.
As my husband, a navy veteran, says, “we (meaning those fighting) don’t get to choose our wars.” Thank you Sarah for remembering those who fought and continue to do so.
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