Cross-posted on The People’s View
Of course it’s not good enough for Scahills, Greenwalds, and Benjamins. Nothing other than a strict policy of non-violence, irrespective of the dangers this country faces, would be good enough. And for the Limbaughs, Hannitys, and O’Reillys, it is nothing less than the affirmation of all their fears: that he’s a Manchurian candidate out to deliver the land of the free to its enemies.
But Barack Obama’s speech at the National Defense University on Thursday heralds nothing less than a total upending of the prevailing US security stance post-9/11.
For the past 12 years, we’ve been, quite frankly, in a perpetual state of war. The one in Afghanistan, it can be quite cogently argued, was a war of self-defense, pursued in pursuit of those who rammed planes into New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Very few people in this country argued that it wasn’t a war worth waging to extract an enemy who had struck deeply inside our territory.
Of course, we know what happened next. We installed a flawed strongman in Hamid Karzai. We gave cursory aid to the new regime, both financially and militarily, allowing Al Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup and carry on the war. And why? Because the neo-con dream of having a nation up in righteous indignation was too good to pass up to pursue its true project, which was to attack Iraq, remove Saddam Hussein, and remake the Middle East into an American satrapy. Gas would be under $2 a gallon forever, oil companies would reap the rewards of lucrative contracts from an Iraqi regime indebted to the US, and the Palestinians would lose their one ally in the region, leaving Israel to range freely. The new American Century would be born on the streets of Baghdad. And Karl Rove’s dream of a permanent Republican majority would be the fruit of a short, sharp, successful war, fought on the cheap, because the Administration knew that Saddam didn’t have the military capability to hurt his neighbors, much less withstand an invasion by the US.
It didn’t quite work out that way.