03 November 2011

Enough is enough

I shall keep this short.

At times it seems like the American populace is on the tracks facing down an out-of-control locomotive, one which has already claimed thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of lives in the Fertile Crescent, in Central Asia and in North Africa. Now it appears that further fuel is being added to the boiler by a British Ministry of Defence and a hawkish Israeli administration which are pushing ever more shamelessly for a pre-emptive war against yet another ancient, venerable and humanistic civilisation: namely, that of Iran. Such sabre- and shamshir-rattling is not in the interests of the American or the British public, to say absolutely nothing of the Iranian public, on whose territory such a war will doubtless be waged, or of the Israeli citizenry, who will further alienate themselves from their neighbours in a war that will doubtless further devastate their nation’s reputation in the region.

The standards by which we are now considering what comprises a valid just cause for military action, or even a valid authority to declare that cause, are – thanks in part to the neoconservative policy agenda which has now been enshrined in unholy precedent by Bush and Blair, and in part to the increasingly paranoid, increasingly petulant, increasingly amoral and increasingly unhinged foreign policy of the state of Israel – at an all-time low. President Obama, having been elected on a mandate to volte-face on the perversities of the prior administration, now sadly appears to be poised on the brink of yet another (to borrow the words of our august Archbishop) ‘criminal, ignorant and potentially murderous folly’. And the silence from the Anglo-American progressive blogosphere is both deafening and shameful.

Enough, is enough, is enough.

EDIT: Here’s hoping Peter Beinart is right.


  1. Peter Beinart writes:

    "... in America, most people revere a military with which they have little personal contact."

    This is why I am increasingly wondering if reinstating the draft would help to put a break on warmongering by the White House. Noam Chomsky once made an interesting argument that imperialistic, colonial wars are hard to fight with conscript armies, and that it is easier to use a professional army or even mercenaries (for example, Blackwater).

    I know there are some problems with Chomsky's thesis (for example, it could be argued that Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan engaged in imperial, colonial-style war with conscripted armies), but in the context of the early 21st century, it looks like wars between the wealthy nations and weaker Third World countries are the most likely conflicts.

    These ”small, dirty” wars often have very flimsy justifications (for example, Iraq)and it might be difficult to convince relatively comfortable North Americans or Europeans that their children must be drafted to occupy some nation in the Middle East or Central Asia for a decade or more.

    Plus, I think an argument can be made that a genuine citizen’s army can prevent the creation of a warrior caste in society.

  2. Hi John!

    Sorry again for the late reply...

    Chomsky's thesis looks interesting, but I do agree that there are some pretty glaring confounds to his argument even on just a cursory examination of the history of various imperialist powers (perhaps not just Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan; Great Britain and even the US during its post-McKinley, pre-Roosevelt era of formal empire might also qualify).

    I like the argument that the citizens' army can prevent the creation of a warrior-caste, though. Switzerland might be a good example of a long-standing state with such rules.