COMMENT Bob Weaver Jan. 7, 2020|
We are on the edge of war again.
Iran struck back at the United States for the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, now firing a series of ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops and making threats to escalate.
Trump made the decision while facing impeachment.
Iranian state TV said it was in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike near Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying.
Soleimani's killing and the strikes by Iran came as tensions have been rising steadily across the Mideast after Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.
Trump was careful to make clear the strike was meant to head off an imminent attack on America, without congressional approval or debate, yet to clarify what attack Iran was making. The "imminent attack" sounds familiar to the false "weapons of mass destruction as the reason to go to war with Iran.
Under normal circumstances a president would address the nation, but Trump addressed the matter with a chest-thumping tweet.
After this Iranian attack, Iran has offered to back down if the US does not proceed with further military measures.
THE LONGEST WAR
Seventy-two percent of Americans interviewed in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll favored the last great war against Iraq as the action was taken in 2003, then the polling against the war was equally reversed.
That war was launched with a number of false claims, including Iran being a threat with weapons of mass destruction.
America should be used to false claims for going to war according to the history books, most certainly excluding World War II.
Americans interest in opposing the Iraq War was small, in our little place on earth, a few of us stood on the steps of the Calhoun courthouse in the evening and dark of night expressing our opinion in 2003.
That war, with Afghanistan, went on to be the nation's longest war, likely killing over a half million people, costing the US an estimated $2.4 to $3 trillion, in addition to killing thousands of troops, injuring tens of thousands more, and creating a mental health crisis for thousands more with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
COMMENT Bob Weaver (2018)
Americans, including Trump supporters, should beware of short nerve ends with the war words coming from Washington, including North Korea and the Middle East.
Trump continues to come off as a big tough guy, admired by many of his supporters.
Trump told the North Korean dictator, "My nuclear button is bigger and more powerful."
He also said he "loves" the North Korean dictator, who has killed thousands of his own people, including his brother.
A war with North Korea or the Middle East could likely kill millions, whose captive citizens are struggling to maintain basic sustenance.
Most Americans, according to polling, are war weary, not wanting to engage in foreign conflicts.
The drums of war beat in Washington, politically polarizing. In the history of the world, words matter, the demonizing of the other leaders (sometimes they are demons), uttering justifications and threats.
Granted, it is difficult to sit idly and watch evil and malicious events unfold, although they have been unfolding year after year around the world for centuries, sometimes barely reported upon, whole populations slaughtered.
The case for going to war is usually high-minded, including protecting the homeland and national interests, but many historians have a recorded another thread that stretches tight to the military-industrial complex that has been a significant beneficiary of conflicts.
The US Congress, if allowed, should take an up and down vote to go to war, all being on the same page.
COMMENT Bob Weaver/July 2014
CAN YOU BE PATRIOTIC AND OPPOSE WAR?
Former and some current US politicos are rattling the sabers to protect our national interests with Isis and terrorist groups, upset that the current administration is reluctant to do something more in a region that has been fraught with divisive conflict for nearly two millenniums, a place where US troops fought un-winnable wars from day one.
That conflict is spreading.
Main stream media has been indulging America with the ruminations of former vice-president Dick Cheney, trying to create an alternate reality to the one he is responsible for in Iraq.
When it comes to war, the American public is remarkably fickle, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars provide telling examples.
In 2003, according to opinion polls, 72 percent of Americans thought going to war in Iraq was the right decision.
By early 2013, support for that decision had declined to 41 percent. Similarly, in October 2001, when U.S. military action began in Afghanistan, it was backed by 90 percent of the American public.
By December 2013, public approval of the Afghanistan war had dropped to only 17 percent.
Now it is even less.
The collapse of public support for once-popular wars is not new.
Although World War I preceded public opinion polling, observers reported considerable enthusiasm for U.S. entry into that conflict in April 1917. But, after the war, that enthusiasm melted away.
In 1937, when pollsters asked Americans whether the United States should participate in another war like World War I, fascinatingly 95 percent of the respondents said "No."
When President Truman dispatched U.S. troops to Korea in June 1950, 78 percent of Americans polled expressed approval.
By February 1952, according to polls, 50 percent of Americans believed that U.S. entry into the Korean War had been a mistake.
The phenomenon certainly occurred in connection with the Vietnam War.
In August 1965, when Americans were asked if the U.S. government had made "a mistake in sending troops to fight in Vietnam," 61 percent of them said "No."
By August 1968, support for the war had fallen to 35 percent, and by May 1971 it had dropped to 28 percent.
Now, it is even less, as more was revealed about its "false intelligence."
President Lydon Johnson left office with the legacy of falsifying the Bay of Tonkin event to escalate the Vietnam War.
Of all America's wars over the past century, only World War II has retained mass public approval.
It was a war involving a devastating military attack upon American soil, fiendish foes determined to conquer and enslave the world, and for the US, a clear-cut, total victory.
How can one explain this pattern of disillusionment for going into unnecessary wars?
It has always been used by politicians as political fodder to polarize.
During the Korean and Vietnam wars, as the body bags and crippled veterans began coming back to the United States in large numbers, public support for the wars dwindled.
The horror of the Vietnam War was widely covered by US media, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not, mostly controlled by the government and homogenized by TVs "talking heads."
Those last two wars were essentially bloodless on TV.
Although the Afghan and Iraq wars produced fewer American casualties, the economic costs and civilian deaths have been immense.
Washington politicos said the Iraq, our longest lasting war, would be a "piece of cake" conflict.
Two recent scholarly studies have estimated that these two wars will ultimately cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars.
As a result, most of the U.S. government's spending no longer goes for education, health care, domestic programs and infrastructure, but to cover the costs of war.
It is the prime driver for the out-of-control National Debt.
But if the heavy burden of wars has disillusioned many Americans, why are they so easily suckered into supporting new ones?
A key reason seems to be that that powerful, opinion-molding institutions - the mass communications media, government, political parties, and even education - are controlled, more or less, by what President Eisenhower called "the military-industrial complex."
Wars make lots of money for a few people.
The "faulty intelligence" reasons for engaging in the Vietnam and Iraq wars were unscrupulous, while some Washington politicos and TV pundits continue to prop-up the faulty intelligence.
Washington, in both cases, stuck to their playbook as long as they could in the selling of the wars.
And, at the outset of all wars. our institutions, including the religious, are usually capable of getting flags waving, bands playing, and crowds cheering for war with patriotic fervor, rallying for the USA.
Certainly, many Americans are very nationalistic and resonate to super-patriotic appeals, and those who have opposed them are characterized as being un-patriotic.
There is a peace constituency, often driven by moral and political ideals, that provides the key force behind the opposition to U.S. wars in their early stages.
There would certainly be less disillusionment, as well as a great savings in lives and resources, if more Americans recognized the terrible costs of war before they rush to embrace them.
In America's case, the wars that are un-winnable, are often fraught with the lies that have supported them.
Americans seem mystified that in fighting these wars and being occupiers, that many people around the world have developed more terrorist hate.
That is not to say there is a time to go to war, so aptly said in Ecclesiastes 3.7 - "To Everything There is a Season - A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace."
The comments here will not change foreign policy or the minds of those who continue to support wars.
I do want my grandchildren to know that I opposed them, and in recent years stood on the street coroners in West Virginia with my opposition sign as a member of Patriots for Peace, as former President George Bush and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton drove by.
I would like to believe I'm a patriot, opposing such conflicts, while still acknowledging a time and situation to defend America.
See PATRIOTS SAY "BRING'EM HOME NOW" - "The Wall's" Vigil For Peace
STANDING ON A BRIDGE OF DISCONTENT - "Bring'em On...Mission Accomplished...Stay The Course"
FLASHBACK 2003:PEACE GATHERERS BRAVE WEATHER IN SPENCER - Millions Protesting War In Iraq