Okay, now the anti-war president is at war. This makes sense. Sure it does. Remember in 1964 when LBJ’s campaign included this nugget: “We are not about to send American boys nine- or 10-thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves?” Then Nixon got elected in ’68 with a secret plan to end the Vietnam War and escalated it to horrifically criminal heights by bombing peaceful, sovereign nations “back to the stone age.” Oh, and remember when George W. Bush spoke in the late-summer of 2000 of a “humble foreign policy?” They can’t help it. It’s all over them like feces, runs through them like a virus. War. Aggression. The heritage of the post-WWII generations—make trouble in some godforsaken region of the planet for cash, energy, unholy alliances and the always popular “face-saving” or as it is couched by the dumb, “World Leadership” and then get embroiled in the fallout. It is practically part of the job description, even if you maneuver your way through a Democratic Primary in 2008 overcoming the Clinton Machine bitching about Madam Shoo-In’s vote to allow presidents unchecked powers to wage war for generations—the very blank check used now to renege on a promise during the subsequent current presidency; get out of Iraq, for good.
10 presidents in my lifetime; eight of which were touched in some way by aggression and war, now this one; the reasoned, over-analyzing, “lead from behind” guy, with the Don’t Do Dumb Stuff foreign policy. I like that guy. I need him back. Only Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter failed to bomb a nation, colonize a nation, meddle in a nation. Ford was around for barely two years and Jimmy friggin’ Carter. Where’s Jimmy Carter? I want him. I’ll take all the other shit; false energy crisis, Iranian hostages, soaring inflation, malaise, whatever. Just, please… no more war.
And for the sake of Allah, please don’t insult our intelligence AGAIN with “imminent threat!” Imminent threat? Who’s buying that bilge? I’ve got a good idea; how about ramping up our security, use all that free-willy NSA lawless wiretapping and that massive boondoggle called Homeland Security and the billions we toss into nearly every country in the region and keep the wolves at bay. Is that too much to ask? Do I run around Paterson, NJ rounding up all the crack heads to ensure my safety?
So enough of the imminent threat talk, especially from an “enemy” that wishes first to create its own territory by some metaphysical manifest destiny with holy genocide. Isn’t that how this country was formed?
By the way, Americans only ended up dead once we got involved with “only a humanitarian mission.” My inner-cynic has me half believing this was a Rooseveltian two-step to force the potential enemy to respond and then gin up the masses for war, like Pearl Harbor, when in the summer of ’41 some 80 percent of the greatest generation wanted no part of Hitler’s Europe or whatever carnage the Japanese were pulling in the Far East. FDR had other ideas.
We are so reactionary, so myopic, that two-thirds of us sanely tell this federal government to NOT get involved in this patently obvious religious killing spree, then after two rogue journalists get beheaded on camera (two—less than the women beaten by NFL players or unarmed black men murdered by cops daily) we suddenly MUST stop the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL or whatever fancy crapolla 20 thousand marauders are currently calling themselves or being called by salivating hawks.
20 thousand? Maybe 30 thousand? That is less people than fit inside Madison Square Garden give or take a grand. This is why we’re ramping up for war? This is what the president has to solemnly roll out the rah-rah for? This is why we are discussing entering a bloody Syrian civil war, which has already taken the toll of our nifty one over 150 years ago (600,000 dead)? This is why we’re parading the state department around the Middle East to gain the support of nearly every country that hates us, most pointedly our greatest enemy/ally, Saudi Arabia—they of the Desert Storm damsels that got us in the tinderbox in the first place, Osama bin Laden, 15 of the 19 9/11 attackers that secretly funds anti-American sentiment across the region?
Speaking of this Fourth Century sinkhole; once you hear things like “stabilizing the region” or “supporting our allies” you know you’re being railroaded, as in, “enriched uranium” or WMDs, then it becomes Iraqi Freedom then “take the fight to al Qaeda over there,” and then the Surge and then the infinite mission of stabilization. If this is a true threat to the region, then where is Iran? Where is Saudi Arabia? Where is Jordan? Where is Turkey? The Iraqi Army doesn’t even care enough to fight, with our weapons and our training. Let’s not even begin to dissect the stupidity of arming “moderate rebels” in Syria. We know less about the rebels there than Dick Cheney knew about all those Iraqis accepting us as liberators or as the bungling Donald Rumsfeld so idiotically framed it the last go round: “We know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
Who knew that Rumsfeld’s slack-jawed babbling perfectly explained this nation’s foreign policy since 1945? Hell, nobody knows how this is going to turn out, but evidence of the past half-century gives us a pretty clear indication that if it includes our military then it won’t be good. And don’t believe a word of “no boots on the ground,” which is a classic “just sending in advisors” kind of thing that ends up with 40,000 dead kids and thousands more maimed and mentally ill, many of which we don’t even care for now.
This is our anti-war president.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey,” “Fear No Art,” “Trailing Jesus” and “Y.”