Sunday, April 13, 2008

Iraq? Yawn.

Frank Rich has a really good column in today's NYT. Fans like me need no prodding to read Frank Rich, but if you're disinclined to read him for some reason, I urge you to give this one a chance, anyway. The piece is not so much a hyperpartisan screed as it is a hard look at the inescapable truth of Americans' unwillingness to pay attention to what's going on.


Anonymous said...

This speaks to the inherent and unavoidable immorality of a professional military. Turning away from an army composed of citizen-soldiers is the moment in history when Republics become Empires. Shortly thereafter they begin to decline, and soon enough fail.

bjkeefe said...

I think you're right about this, Don, especially as we have moved even farther away from a professional (volunteer) army to outsourcing more and more of the related efforts to private contractors. Or, not to put too fine a point on it, mercenaries.

Not only does this lessen citizen attention, it also dilutes accountability. Even worse, it increases incentives to prolong military actions. One wonders how much support there would be among Bush & Co. if there were some way to prevent Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, et al, from making any more money in Iraq.

mike3 said...

Actually, the whole American people is not responsible for this war. Especially ones that did not support it.

So this "diluting accoutnability" thing, if it means less blame put on the general public including _war *opp*osers_, is a good thing, since they aren't to blame, elites are.

However, in fact we should not have a standing offensive army at all here. That's right, no standing army at all. There should be no way for us to go out and invade or assault another country.
What that means is we would have state militias, which is sort of like a "citizen's army" but it's a DEfensive "army" alone, not an aggressive/OFfensive one. That means it cannot be used to strike against another country, but only to protect this country. Without that key ability of aggression, empire cannot occur.

So what we need to do is start disbanding the military and going to a system of state militias that are purely defensive, not offensive, forces.

mike3 said...

I mean, why should I, whose NEVER supported this evil thing, have to fight in it? I shouldn't.

I'll ask the tough questions, and I've been doing it forr a long while, no draft required. But of crouse that's not enough for these people and BOTH sides of this are wrong

bjkeefe said...


So this "diluting accoutnability" thing, if it means less blame put on the general public including _war *opp*osers_, is a good thing ...

No, that's not what I meant. I meant by "diluting accountability" (1) the way that private contractors can get away with lots of things that uniformed personnel wouldn't be able to (crimes aginst Iraqis and crimes against others from their own organizations) and (2) less critical attention paid by the public and the press to the mess that is Iraq, because of the sense that fewer of "our sons and daughters" are being affected.

I agree, mostly, with you about the war not being the fault of those who opposed it. On the other hand, it remains our responsibility to work on getting those who are out of office, brought to trial, etc., and I'm not sure we as a whole can be very proud of our efforts so far.

Don't agree that we shouldn't have a standing army. We do need a defensive capability, not only for homeland defense, but for deployment elsewhere in support of allies. Realities of the world.