I don’t normally write about politics here, and I don’t plan to do it again, but I am surprised at the anger and divisiveness in the comments to my previous post and I feel I should say something. This war is incredibly polarizing, and I’m sure that it will get worse as combat drags on and the casualties on both sides go up. For better or for worse, Operation Iraqi Freedom is a fait accompli, but it’s not too late to re-consider the policies that led to it.
The emminent historian and former aide to JFK, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., wrote very eloquently in Sunday’s LA Times about the issues raised by our new national doctrine of pre-emptive war.
NEW YORK — We are at war again — not because of enemy attack, as in World War II, nor because of incremental drift, as in the Vietnam War — but because of the deliberate and premeditated choice of our own government.
Now that we are embarked on this misadventure, let us hope that our intervention will be swift and decisive, and that victory will come with minimal American, British and civilian Iraqi casualties.
But let us continue to ask why our government chose to impose this war. The choice reflects a fatal turn in U.S. foreign policy, in which the strategic doctrine of containment and deterrence that led us to peaceful victory during the Cold War has been replaced by the Bush Doctrine of preventive war. The president has adopted a policy of “anticipatory self-defense” that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy.
. . .
“We must face the fact,” President John F. Kennedy once said, “that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient — that we are only 6% of the world’s population — that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94% of mankind — that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity — and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.”
Whether you are for or against this war, you should read the rest of his essay at Common Dreams. (There are many more thought-provoking articles on the site for those who are willing to consider dissenting opinions.)