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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:23 AM
Original message
Is America Addicted to War?
Is America Addicted to War?

The top 5 reasons why we keep getting into foolish fights.

BY STEPHEN M. WALT | APRIL 4, 2011


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/04/is_ame...


The United States started out as 13 small and vulnerable colonies clinging to the east coast of North America. Over the next century, those original 13 states expanded all the way across the continent, subjugating or exterminating the native population and wresting Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California from Mexico. It fought a bitter civil war, acquired a modest set of overseas colonies, and came late to both world wars. But since becoming a great power around 1900, it has fought nearly a dozen genuine wars and engaged in countless military interventions.

Yet Americans think of themselves as a peace-loving people, and we certainly don't regard our country as a "warrior nation" or "garrison state." Teddy Roosevelt was probably the last U.S. president who seemed to view war as an activity to be welcomed (he once remarked that "A just war is in the long run far better for a man's soul than the most prosperous peace"), and subsequent presidents always portray themselves as going to war with great reluctance, and only as a last resort.

In 2008, Americans elected Barack Obama in part because they thought he would be different from his predecessor on a host of issues, but especially in his approach to the use of armed force. It was clear to nearly everyone that George W. Bush had launched a foolish and unnecessary war in Iraq, and then compounded the error by mismanaging it (and the war in Afghanistan too). So Americans chose a candidate who had opposed Bush's war in Iraq and could bring U.S. commitments back in line with our resources. Above all, Americans thought Obama would be a lot more thoughtful about where and how to use force, and that he understood the limits of this crudest of policy tools. The Norwegian Nobel Committee seems to have thought so too, when they awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize not for anything he had done, but for what it hoped he might do henceforth.

Yet a mere two years later, we find ourselves back in the fray once again. Since taking office, Obama has escalated U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and launched a new war against Libya. As in Iraq, the real purpose of our intervention is regime change at the point of a gun. At first we hoped that most of the guns would be in the hands of the Europeans, or the hands of the rebel forces arrayed against Muammar al-Qaddafi, but it's increasingly clear that U.S. military forces, CIA operatives and foreign weapons supplies are going to be necessary to finish the job.

..more..
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Democracyinkind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. War is the one thing that forged (and forges) this nation, sadly.

Sometimes I think it's the only "national" thing we have at all. And it was this way since the very founding of this country.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. And baseball. War and baseball.
Well, and sports in general. War and sports.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. Yes, but in general I view that as a human condition, not just reserved to America.
Edited on Thu Apr-07-11 10:36 AM by Uncle Joe
It just so happens that nowadays and for the past of couple of centuries, we've been most successful with our addiction, but our twilight as it has for all previous empires will come.

That's why it's imperative that we change our perception re: war and international relations while we have the power to do so, with the hopes of still being able to positively influence the rest of Earth instead of sticking to the same old patterns of empires past and having the cycle; continually repeat itself only with new actors.

Thanks for the thread, G_j.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Department Of Peace
many laughed at the Kucinich proposal, a focus on nonviolent solutions to world problems, as if it was from left field..

however..

The U.S. Department of Peace: A Brief History and Bright Future
by Antony Adolf June 15, 2010


John F. Kennedy, that great orator if not practitioner of peace, once said: "Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures."

But what most Americans don't realize is that this gradualness as manifested in the initiative to create such "new structures," a federal U.S. Department of Peace to coordinate and fund peace work nationally, has been part of the American Dream since the country was founded


<snip>

http://news.change.org/stories/the-us-department-of-pea...

1783: George Washington called for a proper Peace Establishment.

1792: Benjamin Banneker and Dr. Benjamin Rush call for an Office of Peace with peace education in all schools.

1925: Carrie Chapman Catt of the National League of Women Voters at the Cause and Cure for War Conference, publicly suggested, a Cabinet level Department of Peace" and Secretary of Peace be established.

1926/1927: Kirby Page author of "A National Peace Department" wrote, published and distributed the first proposal for a Cabinet level "Department of Peace" and "Secretary of Peace".

1936: Dr. Frederick Kettner publishes essay The Need for a Secretary of Peace.

1943 -1968: Eighty-eight Congressional bills are introduced calling for a Department of Peace in the House or Senate.

1961: President John F. Kennedy launches the Peace Corps.

1969: Senator Vance Hartke (IL), and Rep. Seymour Halpern (NY), introduce a Bill for a Department of Peace with a Peace Academy.

1984: The U.S. Institute of Peace created (its beautiful new building is currently under construction).

1993: President Bill Clinton launches Americorps.

2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), and Sen. Mark Dayton (MN) introduce Bills calling for a Department of Peace (House-only since Sen. Dayton's announced retirement in 2005).

<snip>
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. It's like they say, If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
I hope we do end up with a Department of Peace, there needs to be some part of the government which can aggressively focus on presenting a realistic cost analysis re; the risks of waging war, from an economic, social and humanitarian point of view.

It can also propose alternative analysis scenarios re: peace investments and their long term effects as a counter strategy.

As it is the focus or presentation to the people and political leaders overwhelmingly seems to be on one side, the cost of not waging war and that kind of psychology subconsciously frames war as the only answer.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
4. It's the only thing we make, anymore.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. yes, Money Trumps Peace. Always.
great posts, both worth revisiting!
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. The FP article may indicate a developing schism in the PTB.
Seldom do they -- Corporate McPravda and Akademia -- point out anything We the People need to know about the War Party. It would cause them problems, were a majority to discover who is "calling the shots."

So, a few of the warmongers' toadies may have started to realize they can no longer defend the indefensible. The nation empire will be broke way before they manage to kill everyone who stands in the way -- unless they go nuclear. Oh...

PS: Thank you for being in the fight. Gawsh, has it been 10 years, already?
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
18. Self Delete
Edited on Thu Apr-07-11 11:07 AM by Octafish
dupe
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. Yes. n/t
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City Lights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
6. Not sure about Americans, but America's leaders sure are. nt
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
8. Not addiction; it's our national religion
We believe in war and violence. We believe in it when it works. We really believe in it when it doesn't work. In fact, those times when war and violence don't achieve our desired ends, we apply more war and violence, even if the outcome is certain to be even worse. No matter how predictable or depressing the failure will be, we will keep throwing more war and violence at a situation. People who suggest another course of action are either denounced in the heated terms reserved for heretics, or indulged with the sickly smile of "Oh you poor, dim creature." Anyone who points out what a piss-poor job war and violence are doing in achieving the stated goals is treated to an exhaustive history lesson of the time war and violence are imagined to have worked. In extreme cases, where the failure is too obvious to be denied any longer, the simplest expedient is adopted: We change the goal. We're no longer looking to disarm a dictator, now we're nation building. We're no longer hunting down a terrorist mastermind, we're ousting some other group inconvenient to our psyche. We pray to war and violence. We sacrifice our children to it. We spend every available dollar on it. We'll deny ourselves the necessities of living before we forego war and violence. All hail the bomb, the bullet and the holy drone.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. yep, and in that light, MLK Jr. was the anti-christ...
Martin Luther King- Six Principals Of Nonviolence

www.thekingcenter.org

Derived from "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" in Dr. King's book Stride Toward Freedom, Harper & Row, 1958.

Martin Luther King- Six Principals Of Nonviolence

Six Principles of Nonviolence

--Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active nonviolent resistance to evil...

--Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation...

--Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. Nonviolence recognizes that evil doers are also victims.

--Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its acts...

--Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body. Nonviolent love is active, not passive. Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater. Love restores community and resists injustice.

--Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.
Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.

Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change

--Information Gathering: In order to understand and articulate the issue, problem or injustice facing the community, you much first research, investigate and gather all vital information that will increase your understanding of the problem. Know all sides of the issue, including the other party's position.

--Education: It is essential to inform others about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings, and gains you support and sympathy.

--Personal Commitment: Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.

--Negotiation: Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Nonviolent communication does not seek to humiliate, but to call forth the good in an opponent.

--Direct Action: Used to morally force the opponent to work with you in resolving the injustices, direct action imposes a "creative tension" into the conflict.

--Reconciliation: Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent, but to seek his/her friendship and understanding. It is directed against evil systems, forces, policies and acts not against persons.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #8
20. Yes! The problem of the significance/motivation for life is so completely "solved" by war. nt
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
10. It's a wealth-generator for the connected in this country
The banks, Wall Street, the wealthy, MIC--all want perpetual war for big $$$.

Consider that the threat of Communism shaped both foreign and domestic policy for 44 years--from the end of WWII to the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. We had 4 years of no boogieman (remember the debate over the "peace dividend?". Then the first WTC bombing in 1993; now we have the threat of Terrorism. And the rich get richer...

The rest of us go along with this because we believe what we are told.
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CrownPrinceBandar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
12. Not this American......
Our leaders, well...
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daa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
13. I used to think repugs were but with all the dems
supporting the stupid action in Libya I guess we all love war.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
14. War is what has been keeping part of the economy afloat for a few
decades. Where do you think all those jobs would come from in the private or public sector should we disband a portion of the military?
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CrownPrinceBandar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #14
21. A few years ago I would have thought that was ridiculous.......
but with all the manufacturing and industry going overseas, it doesn't seem so far-fetched now.
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krabigirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
15. Yes, but definitely not this American.
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Hugabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
16. Americans love war so much, that we create video games to simulate war
Just take a look at many of the top-selling videogames over the past decade...military shooters have gotten so popular, they've created their own sub-genre.
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