Anti-war Pragmatists and Pro-war Fantasists

war weary
Tell me how this ends …

W.J. Astore

Remember when those who advocated for peace were dismissed as “dreamers”?  The great John Lennon imagined a world where peace could reign, and he wasn’t afraid of the dreamer label, because he knew it could be more than a dream.  Peace is often presented as a fantasy embraced by soft-hearted people.  War, by comparison, is a harsh reality embraced by hard-headed realists, or so we’re told.

What if it’s the opposite?  What if peace is really based on pragmatism, and war on fantasy?  What if the hard-headed realists are really those who advocate for peace via dialog, diplomacy, treaties, and the like?  And it’s the warmongers who are truly the soft-headed dreamers?

Consider the results of recent American wars.  The wars in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) were total disasters.  Ditto interventions in Iraq and Libya.  The Afghan War approaches its third decade with no end in sight.  How are these wars pragmatic or preemptive or necessary or productive?  They’ve been based on fears and fantasies.  They’ve been colossal mistakes based on lies and fantasies of power.

Indeed, it’s the neocons who have been America’s leading fantasists, starting disastrous wars driven by an ideology of American exceptionalism and warrior masculinity in which they believe they can create and control their own reality irrespective of history and the facts.  These men can’t imagine peace.  All they can imagine is a world in which American military power creates a world “safe for democracy,” which means safe for their own greed and power and profit, including profit from more and more weapons sales.

We see this fantasy at work today.  Somehow, starting wars is sold as a way to prevent them.  Killing a senior Iranian general in a foreign country without the approval of that country or Congress for that matter is sold as preventing war.  The president commits an act of war in the name of peace.

To believe this, you must be a fantasist in the extreme.  We need to denounce these pro-war fantasists for what they are.  They may fancy themselves as hard-headed men of action, but they’re really thick-headed sociopaths guided by delusional fantasies.

Update (1/5): Speaking of pro-war fantasists, I just saw this Trump tweet, which is what happens when you elect and empower a bully-boy as president:

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!”

38 thoughts on “Anti-war Pragmatists and Pro-war Fantasists

    1. I’ve often wondered if dress uniforms even exist outside “The Beltway” anymore. Ever since the Desert Shield/Desert Storm boondoggles, all I’ve seen is camo gear. When I was a kid (I’m pushing 66, now) I used to enjoy going to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport because each branch of the service had its distinctive uniform for personnel in transit. Now, though, it’s all very eastern European/Third World … camo to the right of me, camo to the left of me …

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  1. Remember the A.A. Serenity Prayer? “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference” This may be oversimplification for our Country, but Keep it simple stupid…

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    1. That’s a nice thought, but it should not be confused or conflated with, “Don’t meddle with things that are none of your business.”

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      1. USA has evolved (de-evolved?) into the one superpower on the planet that does nothing BUT meddle in other nations’ affairs, especially if the most valuable commodity in the world is up for grabs. Crude oil will yet be the death of us all, by one means or another–pollution, global warming and/or war.

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  2. I fear for the past two generations that we have allowed the education of our people to slide to the point where they en mass can not understand the difference between peace and war. Our educational thrust has focused on enabling people to just get a good job but not being able to think much beyond that.

    I am not a believer but I am beginning to see that Revelations may be right.

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  3. These choices for war and for inciting war seem to make no sense (in terms of motive) unless you factor in that these are evangelicals trying to get to “The Rapture.” Chief among them, Mike Pompeo.
    He brought his religion directly into the CIA when he was there and he keeps an open bible on his desk at all times as a constant reminder.
    Here is a 24-second bit from 2015 at a church in Kansas. He starts by referring to someone, who, when I searched YouTube for a longer video, I found referred to “Him” as in “God.”

    Usually I am pretty much live and let live with people’s religions. After my grandmother appeared to me in 1977 at the moment she died hundreds of miles away (I was told the next morning). I spent some years searching out all kinds of religions, sects and any weird group I could find. Eventually I got saturated and decided no one had “the answers” and all their answers were essentially the same with different brands. So I have no brand now. The best explanations I got for anything were ways the brain creates images (in my case a transparent sphere in the air about half a meter in diameter,no ghostly visage) for the information (from science), but no explanations ever for the event itself. There were a couple of other event, but each very different. In any case, I decided that simple respect is a basic and better guide to behavior than any set of declared rules, and sure as heck no book (I had a whole library of various religions’ scriptures, multiple versions.)
    But this dominionist and rapture nonsense is just plain sick and dangerous. These people, Pompeo being just one, but one in a position to cause it, are really out to start an end-of-the-world war in order to get The Rapture going. Whatever else they say, that is the goal. In the meantime these evangelicals don’t mind killing all of us, just so they get their reward. It is the unifying thread going through this crazy, deliberate, fight-picking war mongering.

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    1. I think these 2000 years later, Christians, and their Mission to the World, forgot or have not thought too deeply on the Greetings of the Angels on the Birth of Christ.

      Joy to the World,
      Peace on Earth,
      Good Will toward Men

      The 1st 2 parts are the result of actually doing the 3rd part.

      Everyone knows The Lord’s Prayer, but those believing in the Rapture don’t know The Lord’s other Prayer,
      I pray not that you should take them out of the world, (Rapture) but that you should keep them from the evil.
      John 17:15

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      1. A general observation: Probably more evil has been done in this world over the millennia in the name of one religious creed or another than from any other cause. Religion is the realm of irrational actions. At least we may say that imperialist aggression is rational, from the perspective of the greed of those seeking to steal resources from the invaded entity. America’s “Evangelicals” will assure us God is on their side in the upcoming war, as will the Muslims on the other side. Worshipping the same deity, the God of Abraham (Ibrahim), they will dip their arms in gore up to the elbows, if not armpits. Ecce homo!

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    2. I wasn’t aware that Pompeo was openly a bible-thumper. But I can’t say I’m surprised. This stuff and nonsense, with its potential dangerous consequences for the world, is basically mandatory now to be a card-carrying Republican.

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  4. And never have we had a sociopath, nay psychopath, in office of POTUS the magnitude of the “stable genius” now occupying the Oval Office (when not visiting his resorts on our dime). He actually stated publicly today that his “pre-emptive” action was “to prevent, not start a war.” Can’t make this stuff up, folks. 2 + 2 officially = 5 now, I guess.

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  5. A Berber proverbs holds that, “If you’ve never known Hell, Paradise will not be enough for you.”
    Unlike with Vietnam, without a Draft, the general populace has no direct connection to the overseas pissing contests drummed up on Capitol Hill and in The Pentagon. Everything is “over there” and since they no longer publish casualty lists, war exists only in the abstract. It only comes home in any meaningful way to those whose loved ones are killed or maimed.
    Who would even recognize peace if it occurred? Loath as I am to use catch phrases, “War is the new normal.”
    Another old saying: “Peace is when you re-load.”

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    1. Sadly, the historical record indicates war has been “the normal” for the United States of America for almost all its existence. This does not have to continue to be the case, but it will take a “mere” revolution to change the status quo.

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      1. Big 10-4 on that, Greg. I was thinking, though, in terms of the public’s acceptance of war as “one of those things,” at worst an inconvenience, but part of everyday life. If there was any way to measure it, I’d be willing to bet more people were upset by the outcome of the Tennessee – New England game (think of all the office betting pools that just went south) than over the possible ramifications of the recent drone strike. Which is why talk of a “resistance movement” in America is a joke.

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          1. At this point, from the gov’t standpoint, I don’t think the draft is necessary. This and all future wars will largely be perpetrated from the air, with defensive radar sites of the designated Enemy targeted first to clear the way. Boots on the ground will still be needed to seize physical control of a country and exploit its resources, true, but that will come near the end of the campaign. I think the 24/7 pro-military propaganda machine will successfully sucker in sufficient grunts to meet the requirements.

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  6. This is exactly a year ago….
    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/an-iran-policy-of-regime-change-in-all-but-name/
    USA governed by ignorant, delusional leadership…..

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    1. RE: the helicopter view. That’s a HUGE amount of people (almost as many as were at Trump’s inaugural! Snark-snark), but in this day and age of CG & computer wizardry, I can’t help but be semi-skeptical about it’s legitimacy. Though it may-well be legit, there’s also a lot of bored computer whizzes out there who like to show-off their skills by doing things like this just to prank the general online public.

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      1. I still remember the scenes from the immense funeral procession for Nasser of Egypt (1970), long before hacking of graphics. Remember that the talk of Iran being internally divided is at least partially US propaganda. Trump’s attack is being viewed as an attack on Iran, period. Forget about factions. This will unite Iran like nothing has since the uprising against the Shah in 1979.

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        1. Several twitter feeds from different individuals had videos of mourners from different cities in Iran and funeral procession in iraq was broadcast on TV news. If anything unites a PEOPLE ( in any country ), it is an outsider telling them what is good for them and trying to impose it…. whether it be assassination ( on any excuse ) or toppling a democratically elected govt!
          This is LIVE….

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          1. “Stretching over 30 kilometers, or almost 20 miles, the crowds of men and women in black carried flags and photos of Mr. Suleimani and beat their chests in unison as Islamic prayers blasted from speakers around the city.”

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          2. The genie is out of the bottle and no power on Earth or in Heaven can put it back in. Congratulations, Mr. Trump.

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          3. Thanks – with multiple sourcing like that — including the typically anti-Arab NYT — that certainly moves the needle to the ‘legitimate’ end of the dial, at least for me.

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  7. Saw this Trump tweet — the logical culmination of electing and empowering a bully-boy as president:

    “The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!”

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    1. I doubt that Trump is in the least worried about November! He’s rubbing his hands together with glee about all the damage he can do in the remaining months of his first term. He is so irritated that he actually got elected and has to do this play-acting as POTUS that he’s taking it out on anyone and everyone. He hates this sham but his ego won’t allow him to step down. And he’s completely amoral: he simply has no concept of morality or ethics. Daddy and Mommy Trump obviously did a really lousy job raising this monster!

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  8. I get mystified when I hear that the justification for our Iran policy is that Iran is the most disruptive force in the middle east. Just what are they disrupting? There isn’t a single government in the region that is worth protecting. They are all theocratic, authoritarian and/or apartheid. How do you disrupt a junkyard. I think we should establish diplomatic relations with all of them, buy oil and whatever else they export as the market needs, sell them what ever we export EXCEPT WEAPONS, reward with financial aid those who attempt to establish guarantees of human rights and respect the sovereignty of their neighbors, and let them fight their own wars. If Israel is so upset with Iran, let Israel deal with them. I’m a USMC veteran but I will actively discourage my grandchildren from any military service.

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