Sunday, April 03, 2011

Amnesiac, or evil?

Over the past few years, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan soured, one often heard the refrain from "anti-war" Americans: "How did we ever get suckered into this war?". Anti-war is in quotes because it now seems that any kind of commentary against the war was little more than "red-eye peaceniking", i.e., a partisan peace stance motivated by the fact that it was the other side of the aisle running the war.

As the United States went to war against Libya, it was disheartening to see the complete lack of public debate about whether militaristic intervention was appropriate. The discussions hovered around how. Last week, the Warmonger-in-Chief addressed the people to explain why the Libyan war was necessary. Post-speech, I expected at least some fundamental opposition to going to war, but there was none. Instead, there was was a rush to defend and apologize for the Chief, or to argue the war should be conducted differently. Here is a sampling of commentary from major opinion-setters around the nation:

Los Angeles Times
In his speech Monday, Obama addressed thorny questions (about the war) with cogency and clarity...
New York Times
President Obama made the right, albeit belated, decision to join with allies...
Washington Post
..a policy that curtails American involvement at the expense of failing to resolve Libya's crisis may only lead to greater costs and dangers.
The Weekly Standard
I found it reassuring (that) the President was unapologetic, freedom-agenda-embracing and didn't shrink from defending the use of force....
If, among the cacophony criticizing Bush's wars during his tenure, there were any voices fundamentally opposed to war, they are silent now. Even libertarian talking heads, who usually took a non-partisan anti-war stand on Iraq/Afghanistan, are mostly quiet this time.

It seems the American conscience is blinded by the awesome radiance of its own military might. A collective sensibility so numbed by power, it feels no need to exercise its morality. To borrow from Thurgood Marshall:
"Power, not reason, is the new currency of decision-making."

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