Friday, March 11, 2016
The issue: war more or less
There is an undercurrent in the presidential campaign that has gotten little attention. It loosely falls into the category of war or not. Among my circle of friends and relatives are those supporting Bernie Sanders. Their reasons are fear of blundering into another Iraq. On the other hand, there is the most likely GOP candidate for president, Donald Trump . He has no rational foreign policy but instead gins up hatred of a religion with 1.5 billion Muslims that contains exactly the allies we need to fight ISIS.
For the record, I have not felt the Bern because I think his domestic policies, while identifying the right issues, are not realistic enough to make it through the legislative process and to get agreement on tax increases to pay for them. I still have questions whether a self-defined Socialist would get the moderate partisans and independents to vote for him needed to win the White House. On the other hand, some of his supporters have given some good reasons for supporting him.
The Sanders enthusiasts with whom I have spoken think that Sanders would be the least likely to get us into that repeat disaster of Iraq of any of the others vying for the Presidency since he was the only candidate now in the race who voted against the Iraq invasion. He saw the consequences that we may crush the opponents with military might at the beginning, but what happens after that is the issue. Hillary Clinton’s approach is to avoid inserting massive ground troops to fight ISIS, softer, but more acceptable than others in the GOP.
One feeling the Bern is my 21 year old grandson who fears that more of Iraqs in Syria and Libya would mean that the draft would have to be instituted since fighting a two front war with ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exhausted our volunteer military forces. The other are several retired military who are veterans of Viet Nam through the Cold War and after. They do not want another Iraq either. They have seen too much of the futility of such wars. Have we learned nothing from Iraq and Afghanistan? Kill one monster and another rises from the ashes fed on the mess and hate we leave behind.
Donald Trump seems ready to order US troops to kill family members of ISIS and advocates reinstating the use of torture. His newest line is that most followers of Islam hate us, as if more bombing them would make them like us. Furthermore, such rhetoric has already made himself persona non grata with Europe and the very allies we need to help us on the ground, Muslim Sunni Arabs . We would be spending our own blood and treasure.
Most frightening is Trump’s willingness to violate both US and international law to do it. His answer in the March 10 debate regarding currently illegal actions: change the laws. That would make America a pariah on the scale of the very worst actors on the planet. Any moral authority would be gone with the wind . It would give tacit OK that any other nation could conduct their wars that way with impunity. That would make America strong again, but hardly great, and no longer a “"shining city on a hill."