in a column for the Thursday New York Times titled Crimea and Punishment.
Blow manages to do a number of things well in this column. For example, he does a very good job of pushing back against Mitt Romney's comments on Face the Nation, writing
The refused-to-be-vanquished insist on being vindicated.He points out that while American may not be happy in the short term with Obama's handling of the Crimea crisis, they also in general approve of his handling of international relations.
But as is the case in many of these circumstances, the dance between diplomacy and force, between aggressive responses and appropriate ones, is more complicated than sound bites can convey.
What caught my eye however is the end of the column. The set up is the fact that despite our recent experience of two simultaneous overseas wars, less than 1/2 of 1% of Americans have, according to the Department of Defense, served in the US Military in the past decade - I compare this to the experience of my generation and Vietnam, which of course for most of its tenure had a draft.
But I want you to read Blow, not me.
So here are his final two paragraphs, words which make clear that the war mongers on the right (and unfortunately a few on our side of the aisle) totally misread the mood of the American people, a mood well addressed in these words:
There are too many of our soldiers still in distant lands, wading through the blood of the fallen or being shipped home broken or maimed or dead. The American ideal of being the world’s lone super power, with infinite influence and strong-arm leverage, is colliding with the reality that we are unable to police the world and that our influence has limits, as well as with our utter distaste for the morass of battle without clear objectives, time limits or exit strategies.Which is why in the context of this column I feel very comfortable offering my usual final salutation:
The drums of war have been beating on and off in this country for decades; Americans ache for a moment of silence.