People in the peace movement keep complaining about “endless wars.” The general public — and Republicans and reactionaries — might also be upset. There might be some odd implications and consequences from this.
The peace movement is right to point out that the “War on Terror” that began with Republicans Bush & Cheney continued under Democrat Obama, and now it persists under Republican Trump. The U.S.’s bi-partisan policies of persistent militarism — regardless of which parts of the world we are fighting in — have existed for many years.
What are the political implications of this?
The U.S. started the Vietnam War during the Truman era and continued it under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Democrats and Republicans alike bogged the U.S. down in this totally unnecessary war. The U.S.’s fantasy about what the Vietnam War could accomplish was doomed from the start. It was inherently unwinnable.
But when Democrat Johnson’s repeated escalations failed to win the war, Republican Nixon claimed to have “a secret plan” to win the war. (His “secret plan” was to threaten North Vietnam with nuclear weapons.) But Nixon’s escalations also failed to achieve victory. The U.S. dropped more tons of bombs on SE Asia than all sides had dropped during all of World War II, and the U.S. committed horrendous war crimes, including destruction of much of Vietnam’s environment and other extremely cruel violence, so even now many SE Asians are suffering physical disabilities from what the U.S. did. Despite all of this, the war was inherently unwinnable from a U.S. viewpoint, so in 1975 the U.S. left.
But despite the unprecedented amounts of violence the U.S. imposed upon SE Asia, our nation’s hawks claimed that the U.S. “fought with one hand tied behind its back.” This is so blatantly false that nobody should believe it.
These hawks were unable to understand in their heads or in their hearts that the cruel U.S. war in SE Asia was morally wrong and militarily (and politically) unwinnable. So they made up the psychological myth that the U.S. “fought with one hand tied behind its back.”
Fast-forward to the ENDLESS, INHERENTLY UNWINNABLE Bush/Cheney – Obama – Trump “War on Terror.”
Anybody who understands the underlying problems that have provoked “terrorism” and violence in the greater Middle East and western Asia parts of the world knows that these problems cannot be solved by the U.S. imposing massive military violence upon those areas. The “War on Terror” has been continuing since 2001 and is not only ENDLESS but also INHERENTLY UNWINNABLE.
Just like in Vietnam, the hawks say we are not fighting violently enough. We need more U.S. military “advisors” and “trainers, constant escalations, more bombing, more drone attacks, more funding and arming for the “rebels” or “insurgents” who might seem to be on our side, more threats, etc.
Hawks and Republicans blamed Obama for not winning. Although Trump questioned some aspects of U.S. foreign policy (incoherently and variably), his overall demeanor was that he would be the Strong Leader who would “make America great again” and use violence against our enemies, just like used violence against women and minorities.
During the 2016 election, the public showed that it was frustrated by a number of irritants (economic squeeze, political insiders, etc.), including the U.S.’s steady downward status in the world. (Of course, the U.S.’s steady downward status in the world was caused by U.S. arrogance, greed, abuses, wars, etc.) So — as an expression of public frustration millions of voters (although less than a majority) voted for the Strong Leader who would “make America great again.”
Now Trump is the Commander in Chief whose grossly out-of-control megalomania causes him to think he can bluster and threaten his way toward world domination. Trump has antagonized the rest of the world — including our long-standing allies — and has withdrawn from several international diplomatic arrangements. The U.S. is the ONLY nation that has rejected the Paris climate agreement. Trump ended U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal, although our allies still vigorously support it. Trump rejected diplomacy with North Korea. Trump wants to end U.S. support for curing the Ebola virus. The list goes on and on.
And, of course, Trump continues to escalate the “War on Terror,” even though it is inherently unwinnable. When the U.S. fails to “win” the “War on Terror,” will Trump escalate further in unthinkably reckless ways?
After World War I ended, the U.S., England and France imposed the cruel, vindictive Treaty of Versailles upon the defeated Germany. Germany suffered and later revived itself with the cruel vengeance that — not only would they not be pushed around but they would actually make war and dominate other nations. Nazism and World War II resulted from the cruel, vindictive Treaty of Versailles.
The U.S. routinely humiliates and exploits and abuses the rest of the world. How long will they put up with that? Might some people retaliate by attacking Americans — or perhaps hijacking airliners and flying them into prominent U.S. buildings?
Instead of learning our lesson, the U.S. escalated the cycle of violence. The U.S. has created a “Blowback Cycle” in which the violence we inflict upon other nations blows back as terrorism and other violence against the U.S.
WE MUST BREAK THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE. WE MUST STOP U.S. MILITARY VIOLENCE as the “remedy” for problems that exist in other countries.
After World War I, some of the intellectuals who had supported the war repented of their support for it. Herbert Croly, who later became a strong New Deal supporter for FDR, confessed that he had no idea “what the psychology of the American people would be under the strain of fighting a world war.”
We must ask ourselves: How has the U.S.’s decades of excessive military violence affected the American people’s psychology? Have “U.S. Exceptionalism” and the endless “War on Terror” distorted the American people’s psychology and hurt our society in various ways?