Ron Paul notwithstanding, Republicans can't wait to wage war on Iran.
Beware of peace mongers
What have we become? Phil Donahue was asked last week what he thought about Rick Santorum’s rise in the polls. Phil paused and said he could almost hear the war drums and could see in Santorum’s eyes that he wants war with Iran. These GOP candidates for president look like heroin addicts pleading for a fix.
“This is not the country my parents told me to pledge my allegiance to,” Phil concluded.
“Ron Paul is a threat” to America, according to Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, because he wants peace. Paul wants troops home from Afghanistan but he doesn’t stop there — he can’t figure out why we have thousands of troops in Europe. (Can you figure it out?) Indeed, we have troops all over the world but there was nary a mention of that in what seems like a hundred debates.
Think about the “police action” in Korea, which led not to victory but to stalemate, Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we must ask: For what? What did we achieve? What lasting good flows in the rivers of blood we have lost over 60 years? And now Rick Perry wants to send our troops back to Iraq. That probably sounded good at the Houston Club, but it made him look like a buffoon on national TV during Saturday night’s GOP debate in New Hampshire.
The Reagan question that made Democrat Fritz Mondale blanch was, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” We should put this question to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld: “Are we better off today because we fought wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam over several decades?” I don’t think so. But talking about peace is a coward’s game.
Paul is the only Republican running for president who asks the right questions. He may not have the correct answers but at least he is thinking. He makes the point that we are, as a nation, going broke. We are going broke because we have spent so much money on unwinnable wars. Our public schools are in deep trouble, we can’t afford to take care of the elderly and the sick, and we are making fools of ourselves. Little Iraq, little Vietnam, Grenada, for heaven’s sake. All made us look weak, confused, and not very bright.
We hear politicians brag all the time that we are the strongest country in the world. But Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Santorum and Jon Huntsman will not be found on the “pacifist” side of the world. Romney said that if he is president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon. He made it clear that he was prepared to bomb Iran. All the others (except Paul) nodded. They appear ready to bomb Iran now! They can hardly wait for Iran to shut the Strait of Hormuz. That would surely guarantee a war if Santorum or the other nuts have their finger on the trigger.
The key will be President Obama avoiding the threats. The TV spots will again have a phone ringing at 3 in the morning: Is the commander in chief ready?
Get ready for a Koch brothers TV barrage accusing Obama of “losing” Iraq and hampering our defense. Given the Supreme Court decision that permits corporations to spend whatever they want, they will spend like sailors on shore leave. Pay attention to the Koch brothers, who will push the line that peace is weakness, war is normal. They devastated Gingrich in Iowa. They were just warming up for Obama.
(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
January 10, 2012
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Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.