The drone strike in Yemen the day Obama was sworn in served as a potent symbol of a reality that had been clearly established during his first four years in office: U.S. unilateralism and exceptionalism were not only bipartisan principles in Washington, but a permanent American institution. As large-scale military deployments wound down, the United States had simultaneously escalated its use of drones, cruise missiles, and Special Ops raids in an unprecedented number of countries. The war on terror had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The question all Americans must ask themselves lingers painfully: How does a war like this ever end?
People have this romantic image of the freelancer as a journalist who’s exchanged the certainty of a regular salary for the freedom to cover the stories she is most fascinated by. But we aren’t free at all; it’s just the opposite. The truth is that the only job opportunity I have today is staying in Syria, where nobody else wants to stay. And it’s not even Aleppo, to be precise; it’s the frontline. Because the editors back in Italy only ask us for the blood, the bang-bang. I write about the Islamists and their network of social services, the roots of their power—a piece that is definitely more complex to build than a frontline piece. I strive to explain, not just to move, to touch, and I am answered with: “What’s this? Six thousand words and nobody died?”
America’s foreign policy depends on the sanctity of its information. For this reason, questioning the selective use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq is neither idle sniping nor ”revisionist history,” as Mr. Bush has suggested. The act of war is the last option of a democracy, taken when there is a grave threat to our national security. More than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already. We have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons.
(Source: The New York Times)
Rachel Maddow’s Drift, reservations about the author aside, is a very important book in that it tackles very complex issues that are generally ignored by the American public at large. The book’s mere 252 pages leaves it lacking in addressing many of these complexities, but Maddow’s ability to present difficult topics with her own brand of sarcasm and wit in a way that can be understood by the average reader makes it worth the read. For most of us who have studied history and/or politics the contents will reinforce already held notions of an inflated military industrial complex that has warped this country’s outlook on the world and thus our foreign policy at the expense of our economic and social well being. For everyone else, throw whatever preconceived notions about the military and America’s ‘noble’ past out the window and read.
When I was asked during the campaign about what I would do if it came down to a choice between defense and deficits I always said national security had to come first, and the people applauded every time.
I didn’t return from Afghanistan as the same person. My personality is the same, or at least close enough, but I’m no longer the “good” person I once thought I was. There’s nothing that can change that; it’s impossible to forget what happened, and the only people who can forgive me are dead.
Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from those proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of a few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes and the opportunities of fraud growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals endangered by both. No nation could reserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
Those truths are well established. They are read in every page which records the progression from a less arbitrary to a more arbitrary government, or the transition from a popular government, to an aristocracy or a monarchy.