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Painless War?

God Bless America

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Last evening according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, US Navy Seals stormed aboard an oil tanker called the “Morning Glory” which was being held by three Libyan rebels. The tanker according to a Blaze report contained 36 million dollars’ worth of crude oil. The Seals took control of the tanker and no casualties were reported. According to reports, President Obama himself ordered the attack at the request of both the Libyan and Cypriot governments. Kirby said “The Morning Glory is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company. The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained …”

US Navy Seals fast rope on to a ship's deck.  U. S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class (AW) Michael W. Pendergrass

US Navy Seals fast rope on to a ship’s deck.

 

I wonder had there been Navy Seal casualties, if this story would have ever seen the light of day and possibly instead been given a Top Secret classification, the details hidden in the interests of National Security, i.e. avoiding White House public embarrassment. There may be some national security purpose to this raid but really it just looks like we helped out an oil company for the Libyan’s as a favor. Who knows? One thing for sure is we have made some more enemies with this action.

Barack_Obama_talks_on_the_phone_2009-05-06 (2)

President Obama making a call in the Oval Office

In my opinion this President or any sitting President for that matter, using the Seals as the World’s 911 first responders is a gross abuse of Presidential executive powers. Just because there is precedent for it does not make it right or just. Had there been casualties and say deaths, the Seals’s loved ones would be told they had died bravely in the performance of their duties for their country. In other words they would have died so an oil company could keep its oil. Will we ever hear outrage from the political left in this country about how this President put brave men into harm’s way over oil interests like we did when President Bush was in the White House? I’m not holding my breath.

President Obama delivers statement on US Consulate attack in Benghazi.

President Obama delivers statement on US Consulate attack in Benghazi.

We place our trust in politicians to represent us and do what’s right for the country, but are they really doing so? How would we know when they frequently hide their questionable actions behind the veil of national security? We have seen this administration openly sacrifice a US Ambassador and his security detail at the embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Those men died at the hands of terrorists and this Administration tried blaming some film maker for the incident. We may never know the real reasons why they were sacrificed. According to Hillary Clinton what does it matter? Well it does matter.

 

Going to war, which is really what it is when you give the green light to use Navy Seals or fire drones at targets in other countries for that matter, should be something that is used sparingly. This is why Congress has to be involved. Declarations of War involving the Congress must be required, something that almost never is done anymore. The practice needs to be restored so that the people have a voice in these potentially long, bloody, protracted engagements with dubious purpose. War making is a tool in a President’s diplomacy bag to be sure but it should be a tool rarely reached for at the bottom of the bag when everything else has failed.

Predator Drone

Predator Drone

I am concerned that we in this country have made war far, far too easy and relatively painless. It used to be for most of human history that war was waged by entire societies willingly or not; engaged in the cause, invested totally in the endeavor. Blood, treasure and lives were expended for the cause at great peril to those societies.

Scrap Metal Drive in Hood River, Oregon during WWII 1942

Scrap Metal Drive in Hood River, Oregon during WWII 1942

What sacrifices today does the average American experience as a result of war being fought on their behalf overseas? Today most Americans know little of the sacrifices our soldiers experience on daily basis in combat other than what they see on the web or television. Our leaders too have little invested personally in the endeavor and do not appear to be concerned about the long term consequences of their actions. Yes, there might be political fall-out if things go wrong, but when it’s all said and done they eventually retire from public service with full benefits and country club lifestyle at the tax payer expense for the rest of their lives.

 

Today with our satellites in orbit tracking everything; and the NSA listening to everybody, our leaders can sit in comfort and order death sentences to foreign nationals with never experiencing the real costs of waging this new kind of war. To me it seems talking is no longer part of US diplomacy and has been left behind in favor of brute force. Our policy now is shoot first, plan later and apologize only when absolutely necessary.

 

Our leaders in Washington argue that we are still at war against terror, but for how long does that last, another year, ten years, fifty? No one knows. How much longer can we afford to wage this type of war? In the year 2012 we spent 682 billion dollars or four times more than our nearest rival China on military expenditures. What are the incentives for peace? How about because we are broke financially as a country. That sounds like a good incentive to me.

Embed from Getty Images

War however appears to be big business. When you add our dependence on oil from the Middle East to that equation it almost guarantees justification for more and more spending on defense. I see no end in sight. Do you? I am not a peacenik but any stretch of the imagination but I am being practical in saying when will there be peace?

 

Has anybody really started asking that? We cannot remain in a perpetual state of war. What foreign policy initiatives are we taking right now to ensure that peace will come? I don’t think there are any on the table. Make no mistake about it, there are organizations and individuals in our country that benefit from our country being energy dependent and prolonging this war on terror as long as possible. I think the dangers of Eisenhower’s military industrial complex have come to fruition.


Fighting the war on terror is like fighting the war on poverty. We have invested billions of dollars on a problem that never goes away. Where is the return on investment? It could be argued we have developed better weapons and capabilities to fight this war and have men with experience now they wouldn’t have had otherwise, but it’s all spent in making war more efficient not eliminating the war. Just like the war on poverty, we’ve added new programs and spent huge sums of cash since the 1960’s fighting the “poverty war” but instead of eliminating poverty we have increased the numbers dependent on some form of assistance. Where does it end? It doesn’t apparently. It’s self-sustaining and painless until the bill comes due.

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