Bipartisan Endless War

Andrew Bacevich’s latest says a lot in very few words. He argues that whereas Bush II tried to lead the U.S. into a policy of endless war by fearmongering, and for a while succeeded, Obama is taking a different route.

A people untouched (or seemingly untouched) by war are far less likely to care about it. Persuaded that they have no skin in the game, they will permit the state to do whatever it wishes to do. This is the approach the Obama administration is now pursuing: first through the expanded use of aerial drones for both intelligence gathering and ”˜targeted’ assassination; and, second, through the expanded deployment of covert special operations forces around the world, such as the team that killed Osama bin Laden. The New York Times reported today that the head of the Special Operations Command ”˜is seeking new authority to move his forces faster and outside of normal Pentagon deployment channels’.

Drones and special forces are the essential elements of a new American way of war, conducted largely in secret with minimal oversight or accountability and disregarding established concepts of sovereignty and international law. Bush’s critics charge him with being a warmonger. But Obama has surpassed his predecessor in shedding any remaining restraints on waging war.

I’d add that just as COIN was supposed to be the Bush era “kindler, gentler” way of war as a sop to American sensibilities – but turned out to be unworkable as practised by the U.S. military – so R2P is now being touted as the “kindler, gentler” reason for war. It will prove just as liable to blow up in our faces. We all know Iraq and Afghanistan are messes, but Libya isn’t finished it’s implosion yet and an intervention in Syria would fare no better.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • There doesn’t seem to be a non-war, non-interventionist, non-globalist that the media cares to sell you. Why?

    War is a racket, and the racketeers give money to candidates to continue the racket. The candidates (or their PACs) give that money to the media for ads to sell to the masses. The media gives the most coverage to the biggest ad contributors in order to get more ad revenue.

    Why are there so many Republican debates? More manna from PACs to the media, obviously.

    The average voter who watches tv will vote for the most popular, handsome, or pretty candidate they see.

    Where do you see change occurring? I don’t see where that will happen while the majority watch tv.

    The new generation is changing, and the racket sees that change and is adapting to try to bend the internet-centric to their will. This will be interesting to watch, so pay attention.

  • …are they effectively indoctrinated?
    Us old guys and gals know the drill; but the less educated, the uneducated, the masses; will they understand? I think not.
    The MSM rules for the majority and everything plays to that.

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

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