COMMENT Bob Weaver

While most Americans, according to polling, are war weary, not wanting to engage in foreign conflicts, with terrible events and power struggles unraveling with the threat of Isis,North Korea and other terrorists groups.

The drums of war still beat in Washington, amply delivered by 24/7 and politically polarized, calling for American military intervention, boots on the ground or bombing.

Granted, it is difficult to sit idly and watch evil and malicious events unfold, but still to be reminded they have been unfolding year after year around the world for centuries, sometimes barely reported upon with many of the murderous conflicts affecting millions, decidedly not in our "national interests."

The cases for going to war seem high-minded, including protecting the homeland, but many historians have a notion about another thread that stretches tight to the military-industrial complex that has been a significant beneficiary of conflict.

If ever a president of the United States was in a no-win position, it is a decision to escalate in our "national interests."

The US Congress should take an up and down vote, all being on the same page.

They don't like to do that, and even it is required constitutionally, will continue to not be responsible.

COMMENT Bob Weaver/July 2014


Former and some current US politicos are rattling the sabers to protect our national interests with Isis and terrorist groups, upset that the current administration is reluctant to do something more in a region that has been fraught with divisive conflict for nearly two millenniums, a place where US troops fought un-winnable wars from day one.

That conflict is spreading.

Main stream media has been indulging America with the ruminations of former vice-president Dick Cheney, trying to create an alternate reality to the one he is responsible for in Iraq.

When it comes to war, the American public is remarkably fickle, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars provide telling examples.

In 2003, according to opinion polls, 72 percent of Americans thought going to war in Iraq was the right decision.

By early 2013, support for that decision had declined to 41 percent. Similarly, in October 2001, when U.S. military action began in Afghanistan, it was backed by 90 percent of the American public.

By December 2013, public approval of the Afghanistan war had dropped to only 17 percent.

Now it is even less.

The collapse of public support for once-popular wars is not new.

Although World War I preceded public opinion polling, observers reported considerable enthusiasm for U.S. entry into that conflict in April 1917. But, after the war, that enthusiasm melted away.

In 1937, when pollsters asked Americans whether the United States should participate in another war like World War I, 95 percent of the respondents said “No.”

When President Truman dispatched U.S. troops to Korea in June 1950, 78 percent of Americans polled expressed approval.

By February 1952, according to polls, 50 percent of Americans believed that U.S. entry into the Korean War had been a mistake.

The phenomenon occurred in connection with the Vietnam War.

In August 1965, when Americans were asked if the U.S. government had made “a mistake in sending troops to fight in Vietnam,” 61 percent of them said “No.”

By August 1968, support for the war had fallen to 35 percent, and by May 1971 it had dropped to 28 percent.

Now, it is even less, as more was revealed about its conduct.

President Lydon Johnson left office with the legacy of falsifying the Bay of Tonkin event to escalate the Vietnam War.

Of all America’s wars over the past century, only World War II has retained mass public approval.

It was a war involving a devastating military attack upon American soil, fiendish foes determined to conquer and enslave the world, and for the US, a clear-cut, total victory.

How can one explain this pattern of disillusionment?

It has always been used by politicians as political fodder to polarize.

But the major reason appears to be the immense cost of war in lives and resources.

During the Korean and Vietnam wars, as the body bags and crippled veterans began coming back to the United States in large numbers, public support for the wars dwindled.

The horror of the Vietnam War was widely covered by US media, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not, mostly controlled by the government and homogenized by TVs "talking heads."

The last two wars were essentially bloodless on TV.

Although the Afghan and Iraq wars produced fewer American casualties, the economic costs have been immense.

Washington politicos said the Iraq, our longest lasting war, would be a "piece of cake" conflict.

Two recent scholarly studies have estimated that these two wars will ultimately cost American taxpayers from $4 trillion to $6 trillion.

As a result, most of the U.S. government’s spending no longer goes for education, health care, domestic programs and infrastructure, but to cover the costs of war.

It is the prime driver for the out-of-control National Debt.

But if the heavy burden of wars has disillusioned many Americans, why are they so easily suckered into supporting new ones?

A key reason seems to be that that powerful, opinion-molding institutions – the mass communications media, government, political parties, and even education – are controlled, more or less, by what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”

Wars make lots of money for a few people.

The "faulty intelligence" reasons for engaging in the Vietnam and Iraq wars were unscrupulous, while some Washington politicos and TV pundits continue to prop-up the faulty intelligence.

Washington, in both cases, stuck to their playbook as long as they could in the selling of the wars.

And, at the outset of all wars. our institutions, including the religious, are usually capable of getting flags waving, bands playing, and crowds cheering for war with patriotic fervor, rallying around the flag.

Certainly, many Americans are very nationalistic and resonate to super-patriotic appeals, and those who have opposed them are characterized as being un-patriotic.

There is a peace constituency, often driven by moral and political ideals, that provides the key force behind the opposition to U.S. wars in their early stages.

There would certainly be less disillusionment, as well as a great savings in lives and resources, if more Americans recognized the terrible costs of war before they rushed to embrace them.

In America's case, the wars that are un-winnable, are often fraught with the lies that have supported them.

Americans seem mystified that in fighting these wars and being occupiers, that many people around the world have developed more terrorist hate.

That is not to say there is a time to go to war, so aptly said in Ecclesiastes 3.7 - "To Everything There is a Season - A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace."

The comments here will not change foreign policy or the minds of those who continue to support wars.

I do want my grandchildren to know that I opposed them, and in recent years stood on the street coroners in West Virginia with my opposition sign as a member of Patriots for Peace, as former President George Bush and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton drove by.

I would like to believe I'm a patriot, opposing such conflicts, while still acknowledging a time and situation to defend America.

See   PATRIOTS SAY "BRING'EM HOME NOW" - "The Wall's" Vigil For Peace

STANDING ON A BRIDGE OF DISCONTENT - "Bring'em On...Mission Accomplished...Stay The Course"


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