Tuesday, August 02, 2016

"No More War!"

At the right side of this site is a list of recommended blogs and websites, the first entry being "Attytood" by Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News.  The following is the text of a letter I e-mailed him today about a recent post of his:

As someone who voted in June for Bernie Sanders and will vote in November for Hillary Clinton, and who has found criticism of "Berniebros" a little overwrought, I appreciated "Why I totally support those 'jerks' chanting "No more war!'"  Additionally, as a Twitter rookie whose blog includes links to your columns (and those of others), it reminded me that I need to follow you.

Although agreeing with several of your individual points, I believe your support for the dissenters on the convention floor should be more nuanced.  You note the "dissidents- mostly pro-Bernie Sanders delegates- loudly chanting 'No more war!' during speeches by folks associated with the military, especially Leon Panetta, the former Defense secretary under President Obama, and retird Gen. John Allen, who showed up to give Hillary Clinton a very loud endorsement."

You recognize "the news today that the U.S. has embarked on yet another round of military adventurism in the Middle East- launching a bombing campaign (a 'precision' bombing campaign, the Pentagon and its chosen mouthpiece Barbara Starr of CNN assure us) against ISIS terrorists in Libya...."

Accurately, you argue "we're afraid of any frank discussion" of what "should be a scandal that the United States drops bombs from flying death robots or our obscenely expensive military jets over countries like Libya, swaths of Africa, or Syria based only on a 15-year-od congressional resolution passed after an attack carried out mostly by Saudi Arabians loyal to a terrorist group that barely exists in 2016."

Your concern about what appears to be "continual warfare" and the national security state (symbolized by the excessively restrictive "security zones") is welcome.  The vocal critics inside the Wells Fargo Center also deserved better than to be drowned out by choreographed chants of "USA USA!".

Surely Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton should not be immune from analysis of their role in extending the overuse of the American military, an approach generally supported by the two officials.

Yet, this approach to foreign affairs has held sway in the USA since at least President Bush, impatient with sanctions, decided to deploy the military to Iraq.  He has received widespread, largely justified, condemnation for his decision.  Notwithstanding a stable of (official and unofficial) advisors, he has been assigned most of the blame for this mistake and a portion of the responsibility for the terrifying impact it has had on global security.

Attaching blame primarily to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has been less common during the current Administration.  "No more war" was robustly chanted in Philadelphia at former Defense Secretary Panetta and mention of Hilllary Clinton, Secretary of State during Mr. Obama's first term, was often met with boos from Sanders' supporters. To a lesser extent, Obama has been afforded less criticism by the left in this sphere than would be expected given his policies toward the military, indivdual liberties, and transparency.

You pointed out "the recent admission by the Obama adminstration that U.S. military actions in nations with which we're not technically at war have killed 116 innocent civilians." Such analysis should not be, and cannot be, expected by impassioned delegates inside a convention hall. Still, I find it passing strange that the individual who has been present for eight of the last eight years, and at whose desk the buck stops, completely escaped criticism, let alone derision and heckling, at the Democratic National Convention. It's almost as if President Obama does not exist or is at best a helpless victim of the irresistable military fervor of other individuals.

If you have an explanation for this imbalance, I'd surely like to hear it.

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