Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"War is your clarity. You don't see a policy where you don't see a war."

I think this is a succinct, valid criticism of a friend who accuses President Obama of being a weak leader & having no policy.

 War clarifies even when it does not, as in Iraq & Afghanistan. When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, it became a "war of liberation." Then we "support the troops."

We're coming up on the 150th anniversaries of the Battle of Antietam & The Emancipation Proclamation. The rebel states & northern sympathizers believed the Union  would not fight to "free the niggers." But Lincoln wondered how long the Union would  accept carnage like Shiloh & defeats like Second Manassas   & keep fighting solely  to preserve the Union.  He had written that he would free the slaves, free some of   the slaves, or none of the slaves, whatever it took to win.

Most of now think of the Civil War as a war to free the slaves & preserve the Union.  Some revisionist historians continue to insist it was about tariffs.

The way American history tends to be taught, via major wars  - events leading to each, the war itself, the aftermath, along with the popularity of books about our wars & wartime leaders, many people with an interest in history never find other perspectives on history.  They interpret current events mainly with a view toward their potential for war, too often with a  hawkish slant  that every volatile situation involving our foreign policy  calls for an immediate, heavy handed, threatening response.  Whom do we threaten in Libya for the deaths of our consular officials?

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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