Obama Doesn’t Get to Say He is Tired of War

Obama Doesn’t Get to Say He is Tired of War by Eliot Cohen, Washington Post.

It is the phrase of the moment, dropping from the lips of television reporters and radio commentators, salting the columns of pundits, earnestly being spoken by furrow-browed politicians of serious mien.

The families of the fallen are entitled to war-weariness. So are those wounded in body or spirit, and their loved ones. The mother who has sent her son to war has a right to war-weariness, as does the father who prepares to send his daughter to battle again and again. But for the great mass of the American public, for their leaders and the elites who shape public opinion, “war-weariness” is unearned cant, unworthy of a serious nation and dangerous in a violent world…

Read on.

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But for the great mass of the American public, for their leaders and the elites who shape public opinion, “war-weariness” is unearned cant, unworthy of a serious nation and dangerous in a violent world…

Americans aren't war weary, they are war skeptical. They don't believe that the proposed benefits outweigh the potential costs, either for Americans or for others.

I wonder if the sort of hysteria demonstrated in the article is really a worry that the good old days of Americans accepting any old justification for military action is over--at least for the time being--and thereby the "accruing money and power" party is over for certain members of the Cafe Milano class?

Plus, some people in the DC foreign policy world (and other Western capitals) are deeply invested emotionally in the idea that their gaze--and their gaze alone--saves the world. They are deeply and weirdly into the savior-complex:

Think about the ways our involvement in the Middle East and the so-called war on terror has helped advance the careers of government officials through bigger budgets, new departments, and more exposure and influence. Not to mention how these crises have enriched outside contractors and businesses, sent war correspondents to new assignments, and opened new avenues for TV face time and think-tank fellowships for the experts.

Let’s not forget the huge advances policymakers and their aides receive to write their memoirs describing how they saved America, Western civilization, and the world, and how such high-stress experience qualifies them for corporate boards and speaking engagements at all the best investment banks.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-this-town-loves-goin...

A million articles and books like the above these days. And the Senatorial and Congressional phone lines burning up against intervention not to mention the British Parliament voting against Syrian action (thank you, British cousins. Thank you for putting a break on the toxic relationship between our elites and yours, the post Cold War getting into trouble together dynamic) must be galling.

What would happen if we put as much effort into helping refugees? I wonder what it's like to be considered a blood sacrifice to uphold an international legal norm, to be waiting for the bombs?

There was an article on TAC about "waiting for the bombs" (Kelley Vlahos?) so maybe I stole that last line....

But I've definitely been thinking about the "blood sacrifice" aspect to all of this for some time.

In order to uphold an international norm against the very worst weapons, how do we then justify the innocent life that might be lost? How do you take innocent life for purely humanitarian reasons? I can't get my mind around that.

Also, all the recent articles on Eliot Cohen show a picture with a painting of Winston Churchill in the background. It makes me think of Mann's book The Rise of the Vulcans. Funny how human beings have to pick a story or narrative and then view almost everything through that one narrative. Or imagine oneself in the somewhat role of a historical icon.