Roger Answers Your Questions, Rosey and Lisa

Rosey at Dung Hoe Gardening asked:
Do you feel like we as a country have to fight every war for everybody? It’s [a] sticky question.

Well, yes, it is. But the answer to the question is clearly no. I mean, the United States hasn’t gotten involved in the civil war in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) yet, has it?

As a matter of policy, at least since Viet Nam, the position has generally been that the US engage in winnable wars, and only when they meet the nation’s strategic interests, whatever they may be at the moment. This has been boiled down to something called The Powell Doctrine, which “states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States”:

1.Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2.Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3.Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4.Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5.Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6.Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7.Is the action supported by the American people?
8.Do we have genuine broad international support?

One could argue that our incursion into Libya doesn’t meet #2; Afghanistan hasn’t met #5; and #8 re Iraq is dubious. Other standards may not have been met also.

More cynically, The Daily Show described our foreign policy decisions this way.

To this day, Bill Clinton regrets his “personal failure” to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people. But would the American people have supported a war in a country where no visible bogeyman had been inbedded in their collective consciousness, merely to save the lives of people in a country no one could find on a map, or spell?

I suppose, Rosey, your question was prompted by the Libyan situation. The Republican position has been all over the place, with some who were pushing for a “no-fly zone” weeks ago – by ourselves? really? – still kvetching about Obama’s “inaction”. I tend to be in that fairly bipartisan camp who’s concerned that we’re fighting a war (again) without a Congressional declaration of war.

Also, I worry about “mission creep”. Initially, it was about protecting the rebels (whoever the heck they are) against the excesses of Khadafi Gadaffy Qadaffi the Libyan leader, however you spell his name. But, if it’s going well, hey, why don’t we try to take him out, like we tried 25 years ago?

So, why the US goes to war tends not to be very tidy anymore, if it ever was.
Lisa at peripheral perceptions wants needs to know:
My burning question is: Did you take that photo yourself or did you *pose* that way for someone? 🙂

When I went down to Charlotte, NC last month to see my mother, I was tooling around on the household computer. There I came across a bunch of photos I’d never seen from Lydia and my trip there in the spring of 2009; we were there then for my niece’s high school graduation. One of them was this one:

I didn’t remember it, but, for sure, the niece took it, not me, and I’m guessing that I was doing it for some effect, but I’m just not positive.

0 thoughts on “Roger Answers Your Questions, Rosey and Lisa”

  1. Roger, thank you for a well-researched, insightful post. One of the things that pains me most about war is that every side (think the Civil War) believes God is on their side. Their version of God, that is. As a practicing Christian (United Church of Christ, AKA Heretics to most Fundamentalists), I’m by nature a pacifist. I support the troops, by all means, because they are doing the dirty work. It’s the guys higher up the food chain I don’t trust.

    I was a HUGE supporter of the president until he extended the Afghanistan withdrawal until 2014 (around the time it was discovered there are huge deposits of lithium – the “next oil” – under the sand). Libya sealed the deal for me. War is all about profit. Pres. Bush’s granddad, Prescott Bush, was a WWII profiteer; most billionaires in our country are the descendants of war profiteers, or are actively involved in it now.

    Respectfully, and praying for the kids overseas, Amy

    PS If North Korea had oil under their soil, we’d have bombed them into oblivion in 2002.


  2. I’d have a bit more belief in this so-called spontaneous uprising by the Libyan rebels if one of their first moves hadn’t been to start a new central bank. “Kill Gaddafi, make this country safe for central bankers!” Yup, them’s genuine rebels alright!


  3. No less an authority than Juan Cole supports the attacks against Libya because they saved the lives of a lot of innocent civilians. Hard to argue with that. But George W. Obama and his corporate employers don’t give a flying crap about the lives of peaceful protesters.

    “Our” government did not intervene in what is fast becoming the Libyan Civil War because they gave a damn about civilian deaths. If they did then they would have intervened in Egypt, and would now be intervening in Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or anyplace else where right now the US backed dictators are slaughtering their own people.

    They don’t give a crap about human rights and they sure don’t want any genuine democracy, which cuts heavily into profits. No, the only reason “we” are intervening militarily in Libya is because Khaddafi (sp. whatever) won’t play ball with the corporate overlords. In other words, “He’s not our guy.” So he has to go. And good people have to die.


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