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The Tao of Warmongering

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On March 22, 2012 @ 12:45 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 26 Comments

A day after Barack Hussein Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, he gave a press conference and responded to a question of what would happen if sanctions on Iran fail (more than they have already) by denouncing “those who are suggesting, or proposing, or beating the drums of war.”

On cue the Pravda press rushed to their iPads to begin tapping out the appropriate denunciations of Republican candidates, Netanyahu and American Jews for their warmongering. However, at that same press conference, Obama was careful to draw a distinction between Syria and Iran.

When asked whether his “window of diplomatic opportunity” and serious-face remarks about the “costs of war” applied to Syria as well as Iran, the peacemonger suddenly became the warmonger, asserting, “What’s happening in Syria is heartbreaking and outrageous, and what you’ve seen is the international community mobilize against the Assad regime.  And it’s not a question of when Assad leaves — or if Assad leaves — it’s a question of when.”

In Iran, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei get an endless window to repress their own people and build their nukes, while in Syria, Assad is told that it’s only a question of when he leaves. That’s not the kind of talk you use unless you mean to make him leave, one way or another, using the fig leaf of the international community, which can’t get a war vote through the UN, but can organize yet another Coalition of the Willing.

To the untrained ear this may sound a lot like the beating of war drums, but sophisticated types know that it’s actually the cowbell of peace jangling with the groovy beat of humanitarian vibes. Sure it may all end in bombs falling on Damascus, but they’ll be peace bombs painted rainbow colors by marines who have married each other in a special commitment ceremony.

Republicans make war, while Democrats make explosive peace, just like they did in Kosovo where there are still more American troops than there are in Iraq, a legacy of the Clinton Administration’s humanitarian bombmaking peace.

Now after years of sneering at Republicans, the Democrats have their own Axis of Evil list, they just  refuse to admit that they have it. Bombing countries on the list is a friendly act, which is why the current name for the Coalition of the Willing in Syria, is “Friends of Syria,” a name that would have given Orwell a fit. Bombing countries that aren’t on the list is irresponsible warmongering.

It’s a matter of transparent hypocrisy that the same voices who keep denouncing warmongering in Iran, want us to go into Syria. The difference between warmongering and a righteous humanitarian effort is a matter of political orientation, much like the difference between Iraq and Libya where we bombed a country to rid it of its dictator only to leave behind chaos and feuding factions. Or between Kony 2012 and drone strikes in Somalia.

Democrats don’t like the military, but they like their wars. Until the Gulf War, every significant war in the previous century had been initiated by Democratic presidents. They just didn’t like calling them wars. Korea was a “police action” and in Vietnam we were just there as advisers. No wars to see here. Libya officially wasn’t a war, it was just one of those things where we bombed a country for several months until we tracked down and helped kill its leader. If we go into Syria, it certainly won’t be as a war, we’ll be keeping the peace through a war, bombing the village to save the village.

In the 20th century, there has hardly been a single Democratic president who didn’t bring America into a war. Woodrow Wilson had WW1, Franklin Roosevelt had WW2, Truman had Korea, JFK and LBJ had Vietnam, Bill Clinton had Yugoslavia and Obama has Libya. Only Carter was the odd man out, though he did begin supplying the Afghan Mujahideen with weapons which helped bring us into the current conflict.

With a record like that you would think that the Democrats would at least leave the peace signs and flowers at home. Some of their wars were necessary and some weren’t, but they are responsible for the lion’s share of the wars that we have been in.

These days the Dems love intervening in what they call “humanitarian crises”, which is usually code for intervening on one side of a civil war where both sides are dubious. They don’t tend to intervene in genuinely one-sided conflicts. Sudan and Rwanda never saw bombers overhead. Actual genocide doesn’t interest them except when bemoaning the general fallen state of man without international law. Fake genocide, whether it’s in Yugoslavia or Libya draws them like flies to a D.C. banquet in summer.

These wars are usually billed as “interventions” to stop the killing. And that part doesn’t work too well. There’s still killing going on in Yugoslavia, it just doesn’t make the evening news. Libya has more killing than ever now that we liberated it. We can probably count on the Syrians for the same. But while the killing doesn’t stop, that was never really the point. If the Dems wanted to save lives, there would have jets over Sudan and peacekeeping forces gunning down Janjaweed rape squads like mad dogs.

What these peaceful wars are really about is glorying in the majesty of international law and sending soldiers off to die so that people in other countries will live the way you want them to. The Arab Spring isn’t about overthrowing dictators, it’s about putting the right kind of dictators in power.

No wonder then that the “international community” in all its majesty sneers at the kind of limited existential conflict that Israel would like to fight. There’s no mention of a democratic Iran and the stuff about international law is just unserious. Stopping madmen from getting their hands on nuclear weapons is fine for the plot of a Tom Cruise movie, but serious diplomats can’t be expected to take it seriously as a basis for intervention. Why if they intervened every time some lunatic got his hands on nuclear weapons, they would have to go into North Korea and Pakistan. And why do that when it’s much more fun to lay out the plans of what kind of government Syria should have after its liberation from Shiite totalitarian rule to Sunni totalitarian rule, as if they  won’t handle that themselves.

Warmongering is what selfish states do when they stand to benefit in some way from a conflict. But the United States no longer fights wars with any hope of benefiting from them. Increasingly it fights wars for some abstract principle. Even when there’s a perfectly good reason to go into a country, such as its rulers harboring terrorists who murdered thousands of Americans, our leaders won’t stop until they’ve eliminated any such selfish elements through a program of nation building.

In times past we sacrificed soldiers to win wars, in our days we sacrifice them to lose wars. The more soldiers die unnecessarily to protect and take care of the vital infrastructure of the local democratic junta when they could have been saved with an air strike or two, the more we show how unselfish we are, how humanitarian and altruistic our foreign policy is.

Some countries pride themselves on having a foreign policy that serves their interests. We pride ourselves on having a foreign policy that doesn’t serve our interests at all. The more our foreign policy doesn’t serve our interests, the nobler we know that we are. Take the Arab Spring. We would have been well served to protect ourselves by keeping allied governments in place. Instead we sacrificed those governments and turned the place over to the Muslim Brotherhood, thereby showing how unselfish we truly are.

American leaders live in constant fear of having a foreign policy that someone might mistake for being unilateral or self-interested. The instant this happens we will alienate the world and that will make it impossible for us to get anything done, which it is already impossible, because we never do anything that serves our own interests anyway.

The rest of the world naturally thinks that we are always throwing our weight around, no matter what we do. But the peacemongers live in the blissful knowledge that nothing they do serves our own interests. And being certain of having a truly selfless foreign policy, they feel entitled to bomb anyone they want since no one can accuse them of bombing out of self-interest.

The altruistic warmonger becomes a peacemonger through his altruism achieving the satori of selflessness.. By submitting to the tin god of international law as a Muslim submits to Allah, he gains freedom from conscience and the perceived right to do anything he pleases for the humanitarian cause. Warmongering becomes peacemongering. Invasions become interventions. Bombings become acts of friendship. And as in 1984, war becomes peace.

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