The favorite dream of the Neocons -- a three-front war -- could come to pass if we take our eyes off the ball. Simultaneously, we see the corporate media beating the drums of war against Iran, Syria, and North Korea. We recall John McCain calling for military action against Syria and North Korea, both within the last month. And he has long called for war against Iran. And John McCain is hardly the only one calling for more wars. Back in 2009, the New York Times ran an article with an anonymous source from the Pentagon talking about the need to fight multiple front wars in the future.
The Neocon doctrine is based on the belief that the US can only be secured through preemptive warfare against perceived enemies. Their thinking led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq even through they did not have weapons of mass destruction and even though they were not a clear and present danger to the US. Now, they want to re-fight the battles of the past and fight Iraq all over again, except on a grander scale. Their theme is the same as it was during the lead-up to Iraq. Enablers in the Democratic Party. Crackpot conspiracy theories such as George Bush's "Axis of Evil." Headline after headline depicting the other person as a bad old man who has to be removed. Appeals to guilt.
Don't take my word for it. See the Times article referenced above:
Thomas Donnelly, a defense policy expert with the conservative American Enterprise Institute,
said he believed that the Obama administration would be seeking to come
up with “a multiwar, multioperation, multifront, walk-and-chew-gum
“We have to do many things simultaneously if our goal is to remain the
ultimate guarantor of international security,” Mr. Donnelly said. “The
hedge against a rising China requires a very different kind of force
than fighting an irregular war in Afghanistan or invading Iraq or
building partnership capacity in Africa.”
Reality, as in the Iraqi people having some sort of objection to getting occupied and arrested and tortured, for instance.Donnelly, of course, is the author of the Project for a New American Century report that was the blueprint for the Bush administration's policies.
But Mr. Donnelly cautioned that the review now under way faced a
familiar challenge. “If there has been one consistent thread through all
previous defense reviews,” he said, “it is that once the review is
done, there is an almost immediate gap between reality and force
planning. Reality always exceeds force planning.”
One of the reasons that Mitt Romney lost the election in 2012 was the fact that he was surrounding himself with the same Neocons who pushed for what turned out to be the most unpopular war in US history in Iraq. For instance, Lawrence Wilkerson on Chris Matthews:
But how much better is Obama? He may have avoided getting into the "dumb war" that Bush got into. But his idea of fighting wars is hardly reassuring. His drone attacks will simply plant the seeds for the next attack against the US. And Syria is ground zero for a proxy war against Russia and China, given that Putin candidly admits arming Assad for "defensive" purposes. And he clearly accepts elements of the Neocon doctrine of preemptive warfare, seeing that he has claimed for himself the power to engage in first-strike cyberwarfare, which he did against Iran.
Well, Powell and I have seen these people before, the John Boltons, the
Doug Feiths, even the Donald Rumsfelds and the Dick Cheneys. And we’ve
seen them with an inexperienced President and we’ve seen what they can
do, lead the nation to a war that was unnecessary as Richard Haass
characterized it. I’m very worried as I think Powell was saying and I’ll
say it even more candidly and frankly than he did. I’m very worried
about these people with the new, that’s what it is, inexperienced, fresh
President, and their experience at bureaucratic inplay and so forth and
leading this President down to war most likely with Iran. and that’s
why I’m going to vote — I’m a Republican just like Powell, and I was
looking for a good, solid Republican candidate so I could vote for him. I
will not vote for Romney. I’m voting for Obama.
This Neocon obsession with getting us into a three front war is hardly new. They were beating the drums of war as early as 2006 against Syria and Iran:
Appearing on Fox
News Sunday on July 16th, William Kristol claimed that the Bush
administration is "coddling" Iran and thus "invited" the current crises
in Lebanon. He further opined that, "This is an opportunity to begin to
reverse the unfortunate direction of the last six months and get the
terrorists and the jihadists back on the defensive." Back on Fox a few
days later, Kristol took another blast from the past wondering what the
world would look like with nuclear Iran and suggesting that Iranians
would welcome regime change. One can only wonder if Kristol is using the
same crystal ball he peered into when he recommended the invasion of
The US, Russia, and China have all lost sight of the original purpose of the UN -- allow the victors of World War II to work together to prevent a third world war. Russia is a disaster on human rights, as is China. But these are just differences. What is more important is that we are able to work together in order to keep the peace around the world and prevent a catastrophe much worse than the 9/11 attacks or the Boston Marathon bombings.
The father-figure of the neocons, Richard Perle, was more blunt
in his July 22 op-ed in the New York Times arguing, "This means precise
military action against Hezbollah and its infrastructure in Lebanon and
Syria, for as long as it takes and without regard to mindless diplomatic
blather about proportionality."
Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe and Assad is a dictator who repeatedly bombs his own civilians. But it is not clear that the rebels who are fighting him are any better, seeing that they are allied with Al-Qaeda, the very people who bombed the World Trade Center. The fact that Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe does not mean that we therefore have to fall into the designs of the Neocons. Appeals to guilt, such as saying that there is no price on human life, are pointless. If we are so concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the Syrian Civil War, then let us take in the war refugees ourselves until this war is stopped. Bombings and air strikes will simply create more suffering, which will plant the seeds of hate and blowback. We're supposed to be a beacon of freedom for oppressed peoples around the world, not imperialists entangled in multiple foreign alliances.
And if we are so concerned that Iran is building nukes, then let's put wind farms and solar farms in every single town in this country so we can grow our economy and increase jobs and revenues without raising taxes and then let's turn around and help the Iranians to do the same. If we can show a better way of generating energy, then that would eliminate the need for a nuclear power plant in Iran and the suspicion that has existed ever since the hostage crisis in 1980.
As for North Korea, we have every right to defend ourselves in the event that they follow through on their threats and we have every right to defend South Korea and Japan in the event of an attack on them. But let's face it; they aren't doing anything that the Neocons have not done over the past 13 years or so, blustering threats against countries that they don't like. They understand full well the neocon mentality, having been named as part of the "Axis of Evil." Their threats are what is known as psy-ops -- strike fear into the hearts of our people that we are on the brink of nuclear war. We have a fundamental choice -- we can either reject the doctrine of preemptive warfare, or we can lower ourselves to North Korea's level.
We can talk all we want about how we need to escalate these conflicts, but the fact of the matter is that starting a war costs money and Iraq and Afghanistan wiped out the budget surplus that Bill Clinton so painstakingly built along with the Bush tax cuts. Given the ongoing sequester, which shows no signs of abating, the question is, how do we pay for attacking even one of these three countries? Do we raise taxes? Off the table, according to the GOP House. Do we ignore the deficit and pretend the problem doesn't exist? We can work around it even if China decides to pull the plug and not borrow any more money from us, but there is only a finite amount of money we can borrow even if they don't.
George Washington warned against the kind of mentality that the Neocons are displaying in pushing for a three-front war in his farewell address:
Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace
and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can
it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy
of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to
give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always
guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in
the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly
repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady
adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the
permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at
least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature.
Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?
Washington's words, by and large, have been ignored. We have been a nation at war throughout our history; when we were not warring the British or each other, we were warring the Indians and occupying the Philippines and fighting the Spanish. The problem with this country is that war has been an addiction since the time of our founding. The Neocons are simply more candid about it than most. It is always easier to call in air strikes or to send in covert arms shipments than it is to find a more humanitarian way to solve the world's problems.The way to start solving this is to admit that we have a problem.
In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that
permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and
passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in
place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be
cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual
hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a
slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is
sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy
in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult
and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty
and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur.
Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests.
The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war
the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The
Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts
through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the
animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated
by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace
often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.