Make the World Go Away

It’s high time we adopted the isolationist policy recommended by our founding fathers.  I’m not talking about withdrawing from the world as an economic and diplomatic superpower.  I’m suggesting that we just say no to strewing our military strength far and wide every time we have a temper tantrum.  The past eight years have shown that our military might doesn’t accomplish our national objectives.  Let the crazy world take care of itself.   

Senior Israeli officials reportedly traded sharp words with Iranian officials at the non-proliferation talks in Cairo in September.  Unnamed Israeli officials supposedly leaked the story, a named Egyptian official (Egypt’s Foreign Minister) confirmed the story, and unnamed Iranian officials denied the story. The truest thing we’re able to determine is that if the named and unnamed Israeli and Iranian officials did meet, they didn’t shake hands.  It’s doubtful that had anything to do with swine flue.   

As Jason Ditz of reports, the meeting was "brief and heated."  That’s not surprising.  Ditz writes that "the Israeli official accused Iran of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Israel isn’t even a signatory, while the Iranian official pointedly asked Israel to confirm its nuclear arsenal, which it refused to do." 

Those wacky Israelis, always wanting unfair advantages and, as history proves, always getting them from a compliant American military-industrial complex and its network of allies.  

Israel’s right-wing Likudniks cherish the same values as America’s neoconservatives:  arrogance, indolence, fear mongering and arms spending.  (How dare President Obama not give Gen. Stanley McChrystal everything he wants?) 

Iran serves a vital role in the Pentagon’s long war strategy.  It’s a neo-East Germany; a pseudo-client state of Russia, plopped in the middle of the Middle East.  It gives us a reason to keep troops located in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though none of the 9/11 attackers came from Iraq or even Afghanistan and certainly not from Iran.   

Iran is an excuse to keep the war machine rolling.   

Iran’s defense budget is less than one percent of ours.  It can’t project conventional land power much beyond its borders.  Its navy is a coast guard and its air force is a junkyard.  It doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program.  Yet we’re up in arms about it.  How senseless.

Speaking of senseless, Dick Cheney is on the rampage again.  He is the most dishonest, most misguided villain of the 21st century, but when he speaks, he gets more bandwidth than the World Series, the Super Bowl and Internet porn combined.  He’s not even attractive to look at or listen to, and he has a proven track record of not knowing what he’s talking about.  He’s a militaristic dipswitch.   

He gave a speech on Oct. 21 at a right-wing tank thinkery called the Center for Security Policy in which he accused President Obama of "dithering" over Afghanistan, and bragged about what an impressive job of protecting the country he did while in office.   

Cheney was more responsible than any other American for roasting the intelligence that led us to invade Iraq.  He ignored the warnings that 9/11 was coming.  He also led the effort to demonize Iran with unproven accusations that exists to this day.  Dick and his mentor Don Rumsfeld are the ones who cross-threaded Afghanistan in the first place.  They’re also the ones who screwed up Iraq.  Cheney accused Obama of "giving in to the angry left."  The angry left?  That’s big talk coming from Cheney, who is the maddest dog in the rabid right.   

Cheney defended his torture program, saying it had "legal underpinnings" and "safeguards."  By legal underpinnings he means that he and his neoconservative henchmen injected lawyers into the Justice Department who told them that anything they wanted to do was legal.  Safeguards?  Our "interrogators" beat people to death.  Even John McCain, who is anything but a dove, admits that our torture program didn’t work and should not have been implemented.   

Cheney said, "the United States has never lost its moral bearings." Our moral bearings have never been more tumbled, thanks to Cheney and his satraps (John Bolton, Scooter Libby, Doug Feith, etc.)  Lying our way into wars, torture, treating our Constitution like a hygiene product, allowing big interests to bend the American people over the kitchen table:  there has never been a more immoral administration than the one Cheney vice-presided over.   

William Kristol, who founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), called Cheney’s speech a "humdinger."  It was more of a neocon hum job.  The Center for Security Policy, where Cheney gave his speech, is funded by defense contractors, and is run by the malignant Frank Gaffney, one of the darkest stars in the neoconservative constellation.   Gaffney is also a founding member of Kristol’s PNAC.  And as journalist Jim Lobe notes, Gaffney has reach-around relationships with Likudnik elements in Israel.  Gaffney’s intellectual inputs to the national security debate have the integrity of a blue dollar bill. 

The neoconservative crowd reminds one of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara, in which Shaw argues that all the good in the world is financed by war and sin.  How sad.  We Americans are supposed to be better than that.  Why do we continue to go along with it?  The neocons would have us believe that we can be a force for good in the world by blowing it up bits at a time.  Can a belief get any sillier?  (If she floats, she’s a witch.) 

The oceans and our size provide us with ample security protection, just as they did in the day of Washington and Jefferson and Franklin.  No one can invade and occupy us.  Nobody would ever be crazy enough to pop a nuclear missile off in our direction, or in the direction of any of our friends (do we have any of those left?) 

No one is interested in competing with us militarily, not even Russia or China.  Let’s start coming home and fixing our own problems, and take the world off our shoulders.  It will get along fine without us bombing it on a regular basis.   

It’s time to become that kinder, gentler nation and that shining city on the hill that Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush exhorted us to be.    

Author: Jeff Huber

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (retired), was a naval flight officer who commanded an aircraft squadron and was operations officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier that fought the Kosovo War. Jeff earned a master of arts degree in post-modern imperialism at the U.S. Naval War College. His weekly satires on U.S. foreign policy high jinks are archived at his blog, Pen and Sword. Jeff's critically applauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon of America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Jeff lives with dogs in a house by the beach on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and in the summer he has a nice tan.