How many lives and how much treasure has our neo-Manifest Destiny policy cost us?
At Yale when I was an undergraduate in the early 1950’s a history prof named Samuel Flagg Bemis who was called by some “American Flagg Bemis” who wrote many distinguished (two Pulitzers) books on America’s conquest of North America, but was clearly a fan of our Manifest Destiny fixation.
You can read his bio here.
And here is a definition of Manifest Destiny which first applied to our conquest of the North American continent.
1/ Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, is the idea that the United States is destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.
— SydesJokes #FBPE #FBPPR 💙 🇬🇧🇩🇪🇸🇬🇫🇮🇪🇺 (@SydesJokes) December 2, 2020
Earlier in 1815 a famed American navy officer Commodore Stephen Decatur led a successful attack on some North African pirates.
He returned a hero and when being lauded he used the occasion to state what has helped set a standard for American foreign policy behavior ever since.
Decatur was reported to have said at a dinner in his honor this toast: “Here’s to my country. May she always be in the right, but here’s to my country right or wrong!”
The exact quote and history you can read here.
In 1978 I was present at a luncheon at the Bohemian Grove encampment when I heard Ronald Reagan close his speech to a gathering of big money donors with that quote. It had great effect on his audience.
He subsequently gained the Republican nomination and was elected President in 1980 with the same man who preceded him as a speaker at that same Bohemian Grove luncheon, George H. W. Bush as his Vice President.
Bush proved smarter than his son, George W. who took the advice of his VP Dick Cheney and other war hawks in pursuing war with Saddam Hussein in Iraq, whose defeat weakened Iraq and allowed it to become now a nation controlled by Iran, an arch enemy, once controlled by our proxy there, the Shah who was brought down in 1980 by the present conservative Moslem dictatorship.
Dictatorships are not attractive, but our efforts to regulate them have proved disasters, except perhaps in Korea where South Korea is doing well relative to North Korea, another dictatorship. As is well known, that war ended with an armistice never a peace treaty.
After Vietnam where some of those South Vietnam citizens who helped us carry on war there, were in 1975 climbing into a helicopter at our embassy as we withdrew in defeat.
In 1994 I headed a study group that visited Vietnam to learn about a promising method of family planning, which was subsequently attacked by religious opponents despite its safe and widely accepted success, again another example of unwarranted foreign intervention.
Those of us who still think, against Eisenhower’s proven advice, to be wary of the Military Industrial Complex, that poking hornets’ nest around the world is not worth the cost.
But many in the military and elsewhere like the cash flow of the MIC. The absurdity of a portion of the lead editorial comments in the August 16th Wall Street Journal. Some powerful people continue to favor killing our way to peace and stability in places we can never control. The Journal in part said,
Worse is his attempt to blame his decisions on Mr. Trump: “When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.”
Note that Mr. Biden is more critical of his predecessor than he is of the Taliban. The President has spent seven months ostentatiously overturning one Trump policy after another on foreign and domestic policy. Yet he now claims Afghanistan policy is the one he could do nothing about.
This is a pathetic denial of his own agency, and it’s also a false choice. It’s as if Winston Churchill, with his troops surrounded at Dunkirk, had declared that Neville Chamberlain got him into this mess and the British had already fought too many wars on the Continent.
If that is not pathetic journalism, I don’t know what to call it.
The costs of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will be all the more painful because the ugliness of this surrender was so unnecessary, writes The Editorial Board.https://t.co/qZCTpnBINT
— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJopinion) August 16, 2021
You might also read my more of my current views on the MIC and our folly in pursuit of foreign adventures in my earlier Op Ed here if you didn’t see it before.
Biden made a sensible decision which should be underlined with a recitation of the human and financial costs (one trillion dollars and thousands of lives lost on both sides) of our so called “police actions” prompted by adherence to being the world’s arrogant policeman, whose continuance will only lead to more backlash. The human and economic costs of this felonious attack war by the USA is perhaps best symbolized by our use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, a chemical developed by Dow and later used widely in US agriculturally. Read here the ironic disaster it created.
Our political blindness about military adventurism perfectly coincides with white people’s too long unrecognized racism, based on thinking that we had all the answers when we just had unsustainable biases.
Biden made clear his decision after the unexpected but rapid collapse of the Kabul government in his speech in late afternoon on August 16th, the highlights of which you can read here:
More GOP MIC, as my earlier Op Ed’s predicted, could kill our fragile democracy.
“If they attack our personnel, the U.S. presence will be swift and the response will be forceful. We will defend our people with devastating force, if necessary,” Biden said. https://t.co/5pCkj7Wwxq
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) August 16, 2021
"From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013": https://t.co/lkC2t3E1A9
"Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?": https://t.co/tl3zSD7whn
"We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?": https://t.co/TA4j7cp1tE pic.twitter.com/mH1PSnoh17
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) July 1, 2021
Biden speaks after Afghanistan’s government collapses
White House Reacts As Taliban Gain Control of Afghanistan
Taliban seizes Kabul, chaos breaks out in streets