“War – huh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again. War – huh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” I couldn’t help think of Edwin Starr’s famous song when I watched UP with Chris Hayes on Saturday morning. Motown released “War” in 1970 as a protest to the Vietnam war. Bruce Springsteen released it after September 11, 2001. This is a powerful song that is considered one of the best protest songs ever.
It’s now 2012 and we are still at war. The Iraq war was started in the Bush Administration (by Cheney and Rumsfeld) in March 2003 because “we know where the WMD are”, and ended in December 2011 when President Obama withdrew the last troops. (We never did find those WMD.) This war cost about $1 trillion (with a “t”) of taxpayers money. Now our war is focused on Afghanistan – where it probably should have been in the first place. Began in 2001, Afghanistan is the United States’ longest running war.
Retired Col. Jack Jacobs, who received the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam, is a frequent guest on NBC/MSNBC and a military analyst. I tend to pay attention when I hear him speak. So what did he say on Saturday morning that got my attention? The subject was WAR. And drones. And collateral damage. And the New York Times recent article on Obama’s “Kill List”. But Jacobs was really talking about resolving conflict. Three ways to resolve conflict are 1) economic sanctions, 2) diplomacy, and 3) military intervention. Jacobs’ concern is that the United States has become pretty bad at diplomacy, and seems to use military force unnecessarily. So why is this, you ask? The suggestion is that the military option has become easiest, especially with the use of drones. Easiest, maybe. But, the best option, I don’t know. What about those innocent women and children that have been killed by drones in Afghanistan? What are the “side-effects” of the collateral damage?
Many of us voted for Obama because he was one of the few who stood up for his opposition to the Iraq war. We assumed that he would use diplomacy instead of military options to resolve conflict. Well, we can see that this has not been the case. The Raw Story has an excellent article on the dilemma Obama faces each day during his morning briefing. The fact that Obama doesn’t shoot from the hip like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld is some consolation.
This world has become a difficult place. And the job of being President of the United States is nearly impossible to imagine. The Kill List. Kill or Capture? It’s more than most of us can fathom. But at least we have Obama at the helm. We know that he is a thinking man; he weighs all the options. We know that before venturing into military action, he has used diplomacy first. We trust him to make the best decision.
WAR…what is is good for? I don’t know. In the reality of the violent world we live in, I hope it turns out to have been the best option. Not “absolutely nothing.”
This is my rant today.