Are we getting our war on?
By Anna Daniels
Nothing like starting the morning with the Wall Street Journal headline “Cheney Is Still Right” followed by a New York Times correction to their own article in which Dick Cheney was described as “President.” The media has chosen unprosecuted war criminal Dick Cheney as the warm up act for President Obama’s address to the American people this evening, Wednesday September 10, and it does not bode well.
It is impossible to expect any encouraging news tonight about the US’s continued presence in the political and moral quagmire of Iraq and anticipated involvement in the same in Syria. We elected a president–twice– who promised to a war weary citizenry a withdrawal of the US presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now he is assuring us that we will not be involved up to our collective necks (again) in the complicated geo-politics of the region, only up to maybe our knees or waist.
Obama’s unusually scheduled prime time speech is clearly a response to mounting pressures to provide a comprehensive military and political plan against the Islamic State known as ISIS and ISIL. Earlier this week Obama emphasized that he will not be requesting authorization for a military incursion into Iraq on the scale of 100,000 troops. The reasonable question of course is whether 10,000 troops counts as a military incursion and whether continued airstrikes count as a military incursion.
What is also not clear at the moment is what, if anything he will ask a gutless, bollixed, irresponsible Congress to approve beyond his recent request for $5 billion to fund counterterrorism efforts against ISIS and the re-authorization of airstrikes. Congress, like every previous Congress, has been granted both the constitutional power and responsibility of declaring war.
The majority of our elected representatives don’t want to leave their fingerprints on a Congressional vote one way or the other–it stands to mess up their chances for re-election in the upcoming midterms. But that doesn’t mean that they are unwilling to welcome proxies to represent their views. This goes a long way in explaining the return of unprosecuted war criminal Henry Kissinger to the recent news cycle and of course Dick Cheney, whose political legacy has been written in blood that is not his own.
It is chilling that Kissinger and Cheney are now being trotted out as “elder statesmen.” Cheney has never been willing to take his hands off the levers of power–they will have to be pried from his cold dead hands. Yet both Kissinger and Cheney have been and still are clearly and definitively wrong on foreign policy. They are both utterly unrepentant of the human atrocities they masterminded and supported. Why is the media giving them so much oxygen?
The horrific murders of two journalists are politically expedient reasons for the war hawks to give for ramping up our military involvement in Iraq and Syria. A whopping 94% of the American public stated that they had seen coverage of those brutal executions. Unsurprisingly, more Americans are now willing to approve military strikes against ISIS.
War hawks are appallingly cynical about using atrocities to change the focus of the discussion and generate support for making war. Remember the magazine cover of the young Afghan woman whose nose and ears had been cut off for running away from her abusive husband? Suddenly, our waning interest in waging perpetual war in Afghanistan received a boost of public support when it was seen as a war against the Taliban’s horrific treatment of women.
We should be very wary of images that are being used as emotional blackmail and call them out for what they are–war porn. Obama has said that he does not need a congressional vote on his ISIS strategy. Hopefully the American people feel that they need public debate and a public vote in Congress. Let every single congressperson publicly register his or her position on the ISIS strategy.
Journalist Dan Rather was blunt in his assessment of what it should mean to get our war on. Proxies cannot absolve Congress of taking the responsibility for what that means.
Selected comments from the Dan Rather interview:
My first question to anyone who is on television saying, we have to get tough, we need to put boots on the ground and we need to go to war in one of these places is, I will hear you out if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums. If you aren’t, I have no patience with you, and don’t even talk to me.
And those of us in journalism — and I can include myself in this — we have a lot to answer for about what we didn’t do and what we did do in the run-up to the war in Iraq, which I think history will judge to be a strategic disaster of historic proportions.
We journalists, including this one, we didn’t ask the right questions. We didn’t ask enough questions. We didn’t ask the follow- up questions. We did not challenge power. And I am concerned that, once again, as the war drums begin to beat and get louder and louder, that there will be a herd mentality of saying, well, we have to go to war in Syria, we have to go to war Ukraine.
Jay Powell says
Ambassador Paul Bremer was hand picked by Cheney (yes, the real commander in chief, not the Mission Accomplished kid landing on USS Lincoln) out of Henry Kissinger, Assocs, Wash DC to be the first US “consul” in IRAQ. His first order upon landing was to shoot all looters (rescinded when the Generals said are you %*#*^ crazy?, no…we are not going to do that….) and then days later his fateful order firing all Baathist party members from any and all jobs . Couldn’t have done a better job– following up on the unprovoked and ill advised invasion–of setting the stage for the ensuing chaos and slaughter and eventual founding of ISIL/ISIS. Lotta blood and treasure wasted.
BTW, Obama might want to take back that brand new MRAV from our school district, it sounds like just what they need over there….again.
John Lawrence says
And Bush can smile and casually chat with Bill Clinton – what the media calls “paling up.” “The prevailing opinion expressed by the two men at their joint appearance at the Newseum was that they really, really like each other.” BS. And Bush is giving Clinton fatherly advice about becoming a grandfather. It makes me puke. How can Clinton pal around with Bush. It lowers my opinion of Clinton. That MF (Bush) should be sitting in a jail cell. Instead he’d making art, contemplating buying a baseball team and having a great life. No twinges of conscience evidently. Bush, Cheney and their team are war criminals. They shouldn’t be getting rehabilitated by Democrats. I don’t see how any of them can live with themselves after what they did in Iraq. Those neocons shouldn’t be given the time of day. Instead someone should shout “war criminal” at every one of their public appearances. They make me sick.
Steve Zivolich says
Oh, I marched to the battle of New Orleans
At the end of the early British war
The young land started growing
The young blood started flowing
But I ain’t marching anymore
For I’ve killed my share of “injuns” in the thousand different fights
I was there at the little big horn
I heard many men dying
I saw many more lying
But I ain’t marching anymore
It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s nalways the y o u n g w h o f a l l. . . .
Now look at all we’ve won with the sabre and the gun
Tell me, is it worth it all?
For I stole california from the Mexican land,
Fought in the bloody civil war
Yes I e v e n k i s s e d my b r o t h e r
And so m a n y o t h e r s
But I ain’t marching anymore
For I marched to the battles of the german trench
In a war that was bound to end all wars
Oh I must habe killed a million men
And now they want me back again
But I ain’t marching anymore
For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky
Lit off the frighty mushroom roar
When I saw the cities burning
I kinda knew that I was learning
That I ain’t marching anymore
Now the labor leader’s screaming when they close the missile plants
United fruit screams at the c u b a n shore
Call it peace or call it treason
Call it love or call it reason,
But I ain’t marching anymore….
Lyrics taken from this page
Anna Daniels says
“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. …George Orwell” h/t Lori Saldaña
bob dorn says
The Republican leaders is telling us we have to avenge the beheadings by ISIS of two, though those same odd and old fellows jdespises journalism and normally considers journalists to be their enemies. The Inevitable senior statesman, Undead Cheney and oh-my-God-he’s-still-alive Henry Kissinger are rising from their saunas to argue their shared hopes that we will invade and ask questions later.
The pit of tea vipers in the House will not vote to declare war. They’re afraid to advocate at that level. Better to say nasty things about Obama. We’ve entered the weird zone once again. Maybe our local school district will get another personnel carrier out of this new war to preserve democracy and send our boys over there.
Brian Brady says
“Hopefully the American people feel that they need public debate and a public vote in Congress. Let every single congressperson publicly register his or her position on the ISIS strategy.”
That’s the answer. Then, you can call them tea vipers, peaceniks, neocons, chickenhawks, isolationists, etc by their vote.