Michael O’Hanlon and Frederick Kagan, who were among the early members of the neocon conspiracy to start a “pre-emptive” war with Iraq, are at it again. (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/opinion/18kagan.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)
Now they are talking about getting the U.S. military mired down in Pakistan. ARE THEY COMPLETELY INSANE? What is it about an overextended, quagmire, public relations disaster, humanitarian crisis, destabilizing, financially ruinous, total bloody mess, that they want to repeat?
These people are like little boys with toy soldiers that they just have throw into battle. Do any of them have the capacity to understand the flesh and bloody reality of war, the deaths and unending hatreds that are spawned by arrogant clean-handed, soft-skinned “think-tankers” such as themselves?
Don’t they understand that empires always come crashing down, and the more they over-reach, the sooner they fall? Did they ever hear of Rome which was destroyed when the barbarians invaded the capitol while the legions were occupied on the borders? Or WWI, when the Austro-Hungarian empire , the Russian empire, and the Ottoman empire, were destroyed because of the hubris of their leaders and the total inability to foresee the dreadful consequences of their actions?
Why is their vision always myopically focused on violent solutions? Is it limited thought capacity or simply testosterone poisoning?
Let’s try thinking outside the box. For example, say we put the trillion dollars we spent on the war into developing alternate sustainable energy sources, along with education about conservation. Then we share the knowledge with everyone in the world. No one would have the excuse of needing nuclear technology, and we might have enough credibility as a nation dedicated to justice and peace to form a genuine coalition to keep crazy dictators under control.
Let’s take our lessons from the truly brilliant leaders. Elizabeth Tudor inherited a throne that was on shaky ground, politically and economically. She was beset with threats external and internal, from the religious extremists both Catholic and Protestant. England was caught in the vise between France, Scotland, and Spain. It was a divided, traumatized country. How did Elizabeth, a weak, feeble woman bring her country to the pinnacle of its glory days, the days of Shakespeare, and Raleigh? She abhorred war, detested extremism, and valued diplomacy. She used the tools at hand, diplomacy, trade, and brains.
America has given the world so much with our creative, hard working thinkers, from Thomas Jefferson (“I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind”), and Thomas Edison, to the scientific thinkers who put humans on the moon, invented the internet, and decoded the human genome. There has to be a way we can deal with our problems, and the world’s problems, that doesn’t involve bombs, bullets, and blood. All it will take is intelligence, creativity, and will. Tragically, these are characteristics our current policy-makers lack.