Friday, June 23, 2006

The untimely war

There are often times when I wish that I had begun this weblog sooner than late 2004. If I had, many of you would be able to make a note of the fact that before the Iraq War had begun, I was absolutely opposed to the idea that the United States needed to enter combat there. I warned of the mounting losses that would occur, and I constantly reminded some very good friends of mine who were determined to march to Hell and back with the President on this issue that since the Truman administration, U.S. involvement in Near Eastern affairs has been tainted by partiality toward Israel, and this is the root of nearly all American difficulties in the region. Much of the reason we are assailed by Arab terrorists from without and found both Iran and Iraq to be our enemies (as well as being extremely unpopular with the "man on the street" in the Arab world) is because it is perceived that we are not a friend to Arab people-not just Muslim Arabs but Christian Arabs also-because we will support the Israelis at all costs and ignore their manifold human rights abuses while we attack Iran, Iraq and other Arab countries for their human rights abuses. It should also be pointed out that it was a Democrat, Harry Truman, who first recognized the State of Israel over the objections of many Congressional Republicans and his own State Department.

In making such a recognition, the U.S. showed a willingness to take sides in a dispute that was destined to create enemies where none had previously existed. Some of you are saying "but Oatney, Israel is our friend." Yes, but had we taken the opposite side, all of the Arab states would have worshiped us-that doesn't mean we should have. We entered into business that was none of our concern, and we are still paying the price for it. The deed was done, however, and being people of our commitments, we are bound to carry through with that recognition and all that comes with it.

Israel has an old enemy in that part of the world-Iraq. Iraq's defeat certainly would help the Israelis a great deal, yet we do not see them sending large numbers of troops and money to support this effort. I warned many people over and over again that our men and women would bear the brunt of the burden, and that our so-called "friends" would abandon us like men leaving a jobsite at 5:00pm on Friday. I warned that the war was unwise, untimely, and unnecessary. Unwise because our forces were already deep into a war in Afghanistan. Untimely because despite repeated promises, the administration had done little to increase American troop strength or peacetime military spending-certainly nothing like the Reagan era-and we weren't ready for a two-front war. Unnecessary because the fact was that because we were already aggressively policing the region (no fly zone, anyone?) Saddam was well-contained. I also remember telling several people who asked my opinion in the days leading up to the outbreak of war that it could cost the Republicans control of part or all of Congress, and if the war was not brought to an end in 2008, it could cost the GOP the Presidency.

However, I also believed that if war came, we must then give our men and women in uniform our full support to carry out their mission. I still believe this today...and the war did come.

Unfortunately, things have panned out in much the way that I thought they would. I did not wish this to be the case, because I do not wish calamity upon our forces, but victory after victory. I do not wish for the Republican Party to lose control of Congress, because I believe it will lead to terrible domestic policy decisions that could wreak havoc on the constitutional framework of the Republic itself. However, we cannot expect that poor decision making and support for bad policy will not come back to bite us at some point, whether this November or at some future time. Our own President spends and often governs as if he were a liberal Democrat, yet people who have reputations as champions of conservatism just shrug their shoulders, turn their backs, and continue to prop up his ineffective leadership.

If Al Gore were President and he was governing the way that President Bush presently does, Republican leaders in Congress would be calling for his head.

We need to re-examine the way we do foreign policy business. No, I don't mean we need to consult the United Nations more-to Hell with the U.N. What the conservative movement, the Republican Party, and America as a whole need to do is to return to the time-honored principles of the Founding of this country as it relates to foreign policy. What are those principles?

From George Washington's Farewell Address:

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.

You could substitute "Europe" for any region of the world in those words, but the principle is the same. Defend American interests first, put America first, and do not entangle yourselves in the political and military affairs of others. Nearly all of our foreign policy difficulties in the world can be traced back to 1917 when Woodrow Wilson decided that a European War was America's business. Look at the international mess we have created by not doing something as simple as following the advice of the Father of our Country.

Many years ago, it used to be the custom on February 22nd (Washington's Birthday) to read the Farewell Address alound in the House and the Senate. Is it any wonder why that custom ceased to be?


At Friday, June 23, 2006 11:05:00 AM, Blogger Chucko said...

Good morning Dave... this issue and post are items I fundamentally disagree with you on, and will respond in kind later (hopefully today). It's a very lengthy, well thought post and I'd like to collect some links and info before I fire my opening salvo. :) I may post on my blog about the disagreement between conservatives on this issue as well. Anyway, good post.

At Friday, June 23, 2006 1:31:00 PM, Blogger The Constantly BAREFOOTED Ray said...

Dave, in this matter, you are absolutely correct. In fact, your entry reminds me of a speech given by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge against the league of nations. Okay, so the parallels are not exact; but, many points are the same between your blog entry and his speech. Many points are shared also between the speech of our first president, George Washington, (whom you graciously quoted) and this presentation by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. The coming together of these three sources is something to witness; for, it points out the truth of the salient points regarding our national sovereignty and our identity as a country which are made between your blog entry, President Washington's speech, and the missive deliver by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge; namely, that we cannot, (indeed dare not) sacrifice our identity as a nation merely for the sake of the Neocon imperialist monsters or anyone else who would ruin our nation for the sake of some great "new world order". I present, via The web site of the Library of Congress the text of his speech. Also, a recording exists of him delivering this text. It's on a twelve inch 78 if you want to take a listen to it. Here's the text.

""League of Nations"

I am as anxious as any human being can be to have the United States render every possible service to the civilization and the peace of mankind. But I am
certain that we can do it best by not putting ourselves in leading strings, or subjecting our policies and our sovereignty to other nations. The independence
of the United States is not only more precious to ourselves, but to the world, than any single possession.

Look at the United States today. We have made mistakes in the past; we have had shortcomings. We shall make mistakes in the future and fall short of our
own best hopes. But nonetheless, is there any country today on the face of the earth which can compare with this in ordered liberty, in peace, and in the
largest freedom? I feel that I can say this without being accused of undue boastfulness, for it is a simple fact. And in taking on these obligations, all
that we do is in the spirit of unselfishness, and it is a desire for the good of mankind. But it is well to remember that we are dealing with nations,
every one of which has a direct individual interest to serve, and there is grave danger in an unshared idealism. Contrast the United States with any country
on the face of the earth today and ask yourself whether the situation of the United States is not the best to be found.

I will go as far as anyone in world service that the first step to world service is the maintenance of the United States. You may call me selfish if you
will, conservative or reactionary, or use any other harsh adjective you see fit to apply. But an American I was born, an American I've remained all my
life. I can never be anything else but an American, and I must think of the United States first. And when I think of the United States first in an arrangement
like this, I am thinking of what is best for the world. For if the United States fails, the best hopes of mankind fail with it. I have never had but one
allegiance; I cannot divide it now. I have loved but one flag and I cannot share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for a
league. Internationalism, illustrated by the Bolshevik and by the men to whom all countries are alike, provided they can make money out of them, is to
me repulsive. National I must remain and in that way I, like all other Americans, can render the amplest service to the world.

The United States is the world's best hope, but if you fetter her in the interest through quarrels of other nations, if you tangle her in the intrigues
of Europe, you will destroy her powerful good, and endanger her very existence. Leave her to march freely through the centuries to come, as in the years
that have gone. Strong, generous, and confident, she has nobly served mankind. Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance -- this great land
of ordered liberty. For if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin."

At Saturday, June 24, 2006 1:42:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

Excellent post! I agree with some but not all of it. I'll try to get back to you on the points of disagreement later this weekend. Right now I just want to say good post!


At Friday, June 30, 2006 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Chucko said...

Hey Dave,
Just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about this, and I'm not avoiding it. Just kind of run down from some very busy months at work, and a bit of heckling from above, coupled with an extremely busy personal life (for being so busy, you'd think I'd get something done!). Things we all deal with at some point or another. Anyway, just tired, as my blog states. Hopefully a week off next week will help me get my energy back. Happy July 4th weekend if I don't see/hear from you. :)


Post a Comment

<< Home

Locations of visitors to this page
Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits
Create your own visitor map