Pardon me if I seem a bit skeptical about the USA’s recent delving into war on a new front and the accompanying announcements that we are only going to war for a few days or to prevent some horrendous atrocity to the people of Libya. According to the President we have a “definitive” idea where we are going and what we need to do. Not an “exact one”; a “definitive” one. Once we accomplish our definitive goals we can put this all behind us and turn the pursuit of peace and justice over to others. In an era where vocabulary means everything, we should all be alarmed that this is something we have heard before and the less definitive they are, the more worried we should be.
Old Donald Rumsfeld told us that the people of Iraq would be greeting us as heroes and the Vice President said the war would be over in six months. Thus the words of our current President should do little to allay anyone’s fears nor will this war will be over soon our part in it.
On the other hand, one might have asked what other choices we had. I guess diplomacy doesn’t work anymore. Oh yeah, we didn’t even try to do that, given we are dealing with such a nut case. A nut case that has run the country for in excess of thirty years, who deals with rebellion like most dictators: he kills people. A dictator that we trusted when he said he ended his nuke program and supported to help the world maintain stability of the oil markets. A dictator whom we were perfectly happy with until his people tried to get rid of him? Oops! We had no idea he was so unpopular!
For sure the new conservative congress is upset! “We need more information,” they say! After all, who do you people think you are, Republicans? In actuality however every President since Reagan has committed our troops to being in harms way without going to Congress and asking pretty please. The precedent established that allows the President to use the Constitution as guidelines rather than law is seldom ever challenged, but in this case it certainly needs to be. Shame on you Mr. President, a Democrat should know better. This is the kind of thing Kings can do, that Presidents cannot
Some have actually argued this is not even a war. In this case are we saying our efforts are justified because we are only acting in accordance with what members of certain coalitions have asked us to do? Semantics again; need I remind you, launching over a hundred tomahawk missiles at a country is an act of war. Saying they are only at military targets are just words to soften what happens when those missiles hit!
I recently read where no nation that is constantly at war can not assure its own peoples freedom. President Madison said that, a long time ago. Bottom line, he knew that if a country is constantly fighting wars it has little time left at home for maintaining its own democracy. As we have seen in Wisconsin and in state capitals all over our country, Democracy is something that does not run on autopilot.
The battle over whether the United Sates should be the world’s policeman comes and goes among jingoists. The idea that we are the world’s largest promoter of democracy is a title we however cannot shirk from. We must be that promoter, following our own laws and constitution. If we don’t, we not only endanger our freedoms, but lessen those of the ones we seek to help.