Back in 1976, when Bob Dole was running for Vice President, during his debate with Walter Mondale he made the following statement:
I figured it up the other day: If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans — enough to fill the city of Detroit.
It didn’t do him any good, although it’s debatable it did him any harm either. He and Gerald Ford, running as Republicans in the wake of Watergate, had a thankless job, although many people came to regret the outcome of that election.
Dole had good standing to make that remark: he was badly wounded in World War II, and Richard Nixon, demonised as he was, had ended the Vietnam War. Today, however, we have a President, whose snooping has far exceeded anything Richard Nixon did, about to put us in another “Democrat war,” this time in Syria. The Syrians have supposedly crossed a “red line” with chemical weapons, and American moral outrage always demands someone’s blood somewhere or another.
There’s not much support among the American people for this kind of adventure; in fact, I think it’s safe to say that the stomach of the American people for interventionism is the lowest it has been in my lifetime, and this in our supremely connected world. But our inept leadership (and that includes Republicans such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham) cannot resist another intervention to confirm our moral superiority when in fact each intervention erodes it.
Problem #1 here is simple: the last decade plus has demonstrated that our entire political caste, divided as it is, is united in its supreme ignorance of the Middle East. They don’t understand the chronic careerism, the shame-honour dynamic, the power holder/power challenger dynamic, the money favouring. It’s not that we don’t have those here; indeed they’ve gotten worse in recent times. It’s just that they are blinded by their inability to understand anyone who is unlike them, all the education and travel notwithstanding.
With George Bush, we had the siren call of “democracy in the Middle East” and that didn’t work out. With Barack Obama, we have the ideal of a rapprochement with Islam, which is made more meaningful if Islam is the hegemon in the Middle East, and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies. That went up in smoke in Egypt, where, as Mohammed el-Baradei put it, you can’t eat Sharia.
You’d think that a man who courted the anti-war crowed the way Barack Obama did would just pull out and stay out. He allowed his European “allies” to rope him into what was frankly a colonialist attack on Libya, the real intent concealed by the “Arab Spring”. The blowback from that–the attack on the consulate in Benghazi–still dogs him. (Personally I think what he is covering up is the fact that those who attacked the consulate were being furnished arms by the US for an attack on Syria, but it makes people angry to think about it).
And that leads us to Syria. There is no good outcome here. Assad stays, the Sunni majority suffers. Assad goes, the Christian, Alawi and Druze minorities suffer, along probably with the Shi’a Muslims. It’s a slaughterhouse any way you slice it. There’s no moral high ground here. Our government is attempting to find it in the use of chemical weapons. But who used them? Where is the evidence? Was this a set-up? Are our people in Washington too stupid to know if it is?
As for a Christian response, beyond our usual prayers and succour for the victims of this mess (and both are in progress), it’s yet another good time to encourage an exit of the followers of Christ from the military. I’ve discussed this recently and won’t belabour the point, but the truth is that our military has been made into a mercenary tool of our feckless elites, not the general defenders of our liberty. They ought to revert to the name “Department of War”; it’s a more honest title these days. I know that many have sacrificed, but we must face present reality before it consumes us.
2 Replies to “Another Democrat War in the Making”
“Back in 1976, when Bob Dole was running for Vice President, during his debate with Walter Mondale he made the following statement:
“I figured it up the other day: If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans — enough to fill the city of Detroit.”
Calling WWII “a Democrat war” seems to me at least odd. It doesn’t need Dole to have “standing.” It needs mere common sense.
I think the clowns of Versailles 1919 have a lot to answer for at the Pearly Gates, and giving the Shandong Peninsula to Japan, an Ally from WWI,as a reward and as a piece of German imperial booty, seems to me to be a crime for which Lloyd George and Clemenceau should maybe be dug up and quartered wi their private parts in their mouths, in the manner of Europe’s historical justice of the imperial age.
Casting Yamamoto the Younger as a Democrat would also seem odd, but I doubt that brave Senator Dole even knew who the man was. Young Yamamoto was “Isoroku-Chan” to one of my Tokyo neighbors, a beautiful 70 year old in 1980 who I can easily imagine decorating the Mahjong parlours around University of Tokyo in the 1930’s. By the time I knew her she wsa the trophy wife of a much older retired gentleman, and I was sometimes called upon for advice on having laborers move huge rocks around in her garden. “Isoroku-Chan” from her is a little lke hearing Kaye Summersby call President Eisenhower “Ikey Baby.” But man about town and famed poker player though he was, Admiral Yamamoto was no Democrat, much more the pre-Meiji Edo aristocrat.
Do you think, Don, that perhaps Dole was laying the foundation today’s terminal Republican Party by imagining the Kim Il Song, who started the Korean War, was a Democrat?
I think Dole’s remark was part shooting from the hip (which he was bad about) and perhaps reflected a sentiment that FDR manoeuvred the United States into World War II, a sentiment more common in this country–even amongst WWII veterans–than you might think. We’ve taken for granted that the US is a world power, but going into WWII isolationism was stronger than many understand.
Although I realise that most of your career has been spent in the Far East, what the “clowns of Versailles” did in Shandong pales by comparison to the way the Middle East and the Balkans were carved up. A portion of the problems we have today in both places stem from the way the old Ottoman Empire was dismembered.