America Is The World’s Superpower, And The Global Policeman
There aren’t any other superpowers. America stands alone as a powerhouse, both militarily and economically. We have an all-volunteer army that is unrivaled in all of human history in its power to wage war – and peace.
The responsibility that comes with this power is enormous.
The biggest obstacle to the unbridled exercise of military power is our own morality. If we still lived by the ethics that governed World War II or previous conflicts, we wouldn’t hesitate to engage in unrestricted bombing campaigns and other unrestrained demonstrations of power. The shift from a military power that firebombed the civilians of Dresden to one that invaded Iraq by targeting military targets was a positive development, but we shouldn’t ignore the power that we have and choose not to exercise.
I acknowledge that I depart from the liberal mainstream when I have repeatedly advocated the use of this military might for what I believe are moral causes. I supported the war in Afghanistan,
the original invasion of Iraq the First Gulf War (the liberation of Kuwait), and the continued use of drone warfare against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
In principle, I even believed in regime change in Iraq, though I did not support the invasion of Iraq or the continued mismanagement of that conflict to the detriment of America, Iraq, and the world under George W. Bush’s misleadership. I believed that eventually the Hussein regime had to be dealt with, but that an invasion and occupation was the wrong war at the wrong time, especially as Al Qaeda continued to be active under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden.
What should be done about situations like Syria? America should act on all fronts, diplomatically, economically, and militarily to do what is right – opposing tyranny and standing up for what is right. If anything, we waited too long to be involved in the Syrian conflict, though it is understandable after almost a decade of mismanaged war.
While it is best when we act in concert with allies and international opinion, this shouldn’t be a constraint on doing what is right.
President Obama should make the case for action in Syria, while also making clear that we will commit the resources and planning to execute our goals and develop for as many contingencies as possible. The Iraq War was plagued with immoral mismanagement, from the commander-in-chief who was cavalier and derelict in the execution of his duties, to then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who was both arrogant and incompetent and the worst excuse for a human being to serve in that position.
The cynicism of the right, who suddenly turn into doves when the presidency is held by a Democrat, is expected. Many of us remember the GOP’s never-ending claims of “wag the dog” as President Clinton successfully led the NATO operation in Kosovo. It goes with the territory that the right will invariably put party over country if it helps their cause.
I have much more respect for the liberal position of opposition to military action under almost all scenarios. I just happen to disagree with it. Sometimes we have to do these things in order to protect the weak and preserve what is right. Unlike the right, the left has been consistent in their defense of their principles.
The question about Syria differs from Iraq in a key way: In Iraq, the weapons of mass destruction were ephemeral and theoretical. The Bush team lied us into the war, based on what might happen if the (we now know) non-existent weapons of mass destruction were used. In Syria, there isn’t a real question. Those people were killed. The attack happened. The Syrian regime’s use of these weapons isn’t something that might happen. It did.
And as I’ve previously written, you either have to think that the Obama administration is continuing Bush’s legacy of lying and half-truths on issues of national security, or you have to take the word of the leaders who finally got Bin Laden and ended the Iraq War.
I choose to believe what President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the rest of the current leadership are saying on this issue. I voted for them because I trusted them to keep America secure and stand up to evil around the world.
God forbid it turns out that they were as deceptive as Bush was, I would be first in line to cast metaphorical stones at them.
But I believe them, and I think that this military action is the right thing to do in order to do what’s right.