Lindsey Graham’s plan for Mideast peace: more war

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has a plan to bring peace to the Mideast. It’s called war. Open-ended, U.S.-led war. To his credit, Graham is willing to level with those among the electorate who might want to know when and how we will ever get out:

“You don’t get out,” Graham told NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview taped in a bar and continued in the back of a moving car. “You don’t get out.”

Graham, like his best friend and ally in the U.S. Senate, John McCain, is a neoconservative dream candidate. His plan is likewise a neocon dream plan that, in my view, is discredited by the U.S. experience in Iraq since 2003. It is a plan that continues to rely on a version of the sale jobs that held that the Americans would be welcomed, greeted with candy and flowers, and accepted as a model for new or reorganized nations that would be born of our renewed intervention.

But as regular readers of this space know, I’m desperate for straight talk in politics and Graham may be the straightest talker in the nine-going-on-15-or-more Republican presidential field. I give him big points for this, and he answered Todd’s questions forthrightly. But his answers beg some follow-up questions that I hope he will deal with in some forum.

Here’s my possibly flawed transcription of the key points:

Lindsey Graham: “If I were president the first thing I would announce is that we’re going to arm the Ukrainians so they can fight for their own freedom. I’d leave a residual force behind in Afghanistan. And I would send more troops into Iraq to facilitate their ability to reconstitute their army so they could deny ISIL some safe havens in Iraq.

“Now Syria’s the hard one. I’d ask Egypt, I’d ask Turkey and the other regional allies that we have to form an army, and we’d be part of that army and we’d go in and take territory back from ISIL. And we’d hold it. And we’d try to get political reconciliation between the Alawites and the rest of the population of Syria.

Chuck Todd: “How do you get out?”

Graham: “You don’t get out. You don’t get out. [Here Todd tries to ask him if he’s prepared to tell America that they will never get their troops out of the Mideast but Graham answers on top of the question with, “We’re still in Japan.”]

“… I think we have to be involved in the Middle East politically, economically, militarily. If you’re not, you’re making a huge mistake. If we’d have left Germany and Japan after a certain period of time, only God knows what would have happened.

“Here’s the good news: With a small number of troops, probably less than we have in Korea, you could bring stability back to Iraq. I think you could get together an army to go into Syria…

“You’re going to have to leave some troops behind. And here is what I’m going to tell America: It’s not the day we leave that matters, it’s what we leave behind. And I don’t see this ending in my lifetime. I don’t’ see us being able to disengage from the Mideast.

“But I do see this. The military side will go down in time. But building a small schoolhouse in Afghanistan can do more damage to the Taliban than a 500-pound bomb.

“I’ve got to convince the American people that if you disengage from the region, if you do what we did before 9/11, just let it all go to hell, you’ll pay a price.

“So I’m trying to be smart. Trust me. I believe economic aid is just as valuable, even more valuable, than hard power. I’m a soft-power guy. But the one thing I can tell people in South Carolina and the country at large is that I don’t see a path forward where we just walk away.”

More questions

Now here are a few questions that Sen. Graham should address:

You propose to put U.S. forces back into Iraq. You do not mention that President Obama was willing to leave a residual force in Iraq if he could negotiate a “status of force agreement” (SOFA) with the Iraqi government, but the Iraqis refused. The Iraqis did this in the face of heavy popular pressure to get the U.S. troops out, and would not agree or even discuss the U.S. demand that U.S. troops be granted immunity from prosecution by local Iraqi authorities (a provision that is standard in U.S. SOFA agreements around the world). How would you, as President Graham, get around this problem? Would you insist on immunity for U.S. troops? Do you have a plan for solving Sunni-Shia hostility within Iraq that has prevented the Shia-led national government from trusting Sunnis with a military role in Anbar Province where Sunnis predominate and where ISIS now occupies much of the province?

Have Turkey, Egypt or other U.S. allies agreed to provide forces that would fight and die under U.S. leadership in Syria? What happens to your vision if they do not agree?

The Alawite minority of Syria (an estimated 16 percent of the population) has ruled Syria under the Assad family for decades, brutally and in their own interest. It has alienated, repressed and murdered members of most of the other groups. Please specify your plan to “try to get political reconciliation between the Alawites and the rest of the population of Syria?”

Is there any way to estimate the cost in U.S. blood and treasure for your vision of indefinite military occupation of various regions of the Mideast?

Your view seems to rely on the United States being welcome to play a large role in running and managing the Mideast with military power, indefinitely and with license to kill as U.S. presidents may deem necessary. Recent experience since the invasion of Iraq suggests that hatred of the United States is widespread in the region, as is the tendency to see the U.S. role there dominated by interests in oil, U.S. domination and Israel. Do you have some reason to believe that the region wants and would accept U.S. troops in the role you envision?

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (48)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 06/04/2015 - 08:35 am.

    Thanks….

    for a good read. Every time I hear this guy I am reminded of the final scene in the movie, Dr. Strangelove where a mad nuclear scientist outlines his plans for the world.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/04/2015 - 09:41 am.

      And thank you . . .

      . . . for that image. Lindsay Graham as Dr. Strangelove is one I hadn’t thought of before.

  2. Submitted by Jonathan Kaeppeler on 06/04/2015 - 08:43 am.

    He’s Right about Ukraine

    Sen. Graham is correct. How much longer must we watch Russia support and arm rebels in east Ukraine? It is time to act by arming the Ukrainian government in order to correct the disastrous wait and see policy of the Obama administration.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/05/2015 - 11:28 am.

      And…

      If we had a dispute with Mexico over the Texas border and Russia started arming the Mexicans you see and appreciate the logic in that? We don’t have to stick our noses into every dispute around the world. It is the prescription for never-ending war. Oh, wait, that is what Graham and McCain think is the path to peace: never stop shooting.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/04/2015 - 08:49 am.

    These guys entirely miss out on the winds of “self determination” that are sweeping across the world–even here in the US.

    How governable is our society, let alone a part of the world we still do not really understand?

  4. Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/04/2015 - 09:18 am.

    Pavel’s right, but neocons are missing the simple solution

    All Lindsey and the rest of the hawks need to do that they haven’t yet (and I’ve never understood the oversight) is use those soft power skills to explain the power of lower taxes and religious freedom to the leaders and people of the region. They’ve been doing a pretty good job of explaining that here, and there hasn’t been a war in the U.S. since the 1860s.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/04/2015 - 09:27 am.

    Lindsay Graham is South Carolina’s Charles Rangel. Everyone knows he needs to go, but we just can’t get rid of him; he’s gum on the bottom of our shoes.

    We had a shot last time around, but there were too many quality candidates that appealed to our powerful SC Tea Party which diluted not only the vote, but the fundraising. Graham taps directly into the old money in Horry county, which matters in South Carolina, but is a drop in the bucket in a Presidential contest.

    In the short term, Graham is useful in that he will highlight the shambles Obama’s administration (and Hillary) has made of our foreign policy, but I don’t believe he will make it to the first round of debates.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/04/2015 - 11:43 pm.

      Jot that one down!

      “he’s gum on the bottom of our shoes.”

      I don’t know if that’s a “common local expression” or an original, but what a great line (for a country song or first sentence of a book or who knows?)

      When it comes to that country song, the only changes needed would be to change the word “our” to “my,” and the first word could either stay the same or switch to “she’s,” depending on whether Patty Loveless or Keith Urban (or whoever) had bought the rights and was recording it.

      Good one!

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/05/2015 - 12:29 pm.

      Tell us…

      Whose foreign policy are you nostalgic for in light of your belief we’re in shambles now? If we measure success in terms of lives and treasure lost, they are champs compared to GWB. Is it Clinton you long for? You’ll soon have the next closest thing….

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/07/2015 - 12:31 pm.

        Nixon had the best foreign policy of any 20th century President, including FDR; one could argue he had a genius for it.

        In Somalia, Clinton suggested to terrorists he would cut and run at the first sign of blood; he removed any doubt by turning a blind eye to the bloody slaughter in Rwanda. He also was the father of cowardly cruise missile diplomacy.

        GWB held America’s ground, but made an epic blunder in Iraq; a failure which Obama sealed and delivered. GHWB did a much better job, but failed domestically.

        Foreign policy should be the #1 issue by which we judge our next batch of candidates, which automatically disqualifies Hillary and Rand Paul from the consideration of thoughtful, informed voters. I’d toss Lindsey in there too, but he isn’t going anywhere anyway.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 06/07/2015 - 06:59 pm.

          For a little more sane view on Nixon and his

          foreign policy mistakes see:

          What Nixon Wrought: The Worst Presidency of the Century
          http://bit.ly/1JxyKBr

          “Nixon, amazingly, repeated the mistake [Vietnam]– and of course the same mistake is a lot worse the second time you make it. ” We will end this one and win the peace,” Nixon told the voters in 1968. After the 1952 elections Eisenhower promptly got out of Korea, as he had promised. After the 1968 elections Nixon did not get out of Vietnam. Rather, he prosecuted the war seemingly endlessly while simultaneously negotiating to leave it. It was not war until victory, but war until escape. That a politician as supposedly astute as Nixon would carry on a losing war in open defiance of a public mandate to end it beggars belief. Nixon’s secret bombings, his wartime lies, his betrayal of the voters all taught millions of Americans that government could not be trusted”

          It is called history.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/08/2015 - 08:46 am.

            Eisenhower “got out of Korea”, but he seems to have left 80,000 US troops in place, of which 30,000 remain there today. Like Obama, Nixon ended a war he inherited. Unlike Obama, he resisted the pressure to conduct a poorly considered full-on retreat. Nixon undoubtedly disappointed his leftist antagonists, but he rendered faithful and highly competent service to America with his handling of our foreign policy.

            Thank you, Bill, for that interesting cite, illustrating that the far left is very often the worst place to look for insights into competent foreign policy.

            • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 06/08/2015 - 11:24 am.

              History – and facts – are tough, Mr Swift

              How to End a War, Eisenhower’s Way
              link: http://nyti.ms/1JDlJVr

              “Like President Obama, Eisenhower was an incrementalist who preferred to move gradually, often invisibly, within an existing policy framework. But on the question of war and peace, his views were categorical. He rejected the concept of limited war, and believed that American troops should never be sent into battle unless national survival was at stake.

              After Eisenhower made peace in Korea, not one American serviceman was killed in action during the remaining seven and a half years of his presidency. No American president since Ike can make that claim.”

              End of discussion

              • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/08/2015 - 02:54 pm.

                I see what your google search says Bill, but I’m not sure it says what you think it does.

                Discounting the idea the 80,000 troops Ike left in place had nothing to do with the relative success of the cease fire in Korea (there were in fact several US soldiers killed while guarding the DMZ in 1953 http://www.koreanwar-educator.org/topics/dmz/p_dmz_deaths_1953_after_cease_fire.htm ), how does one reconcile leaving them in place with putting every last soldier on a plane home and call both “incremental”?

                I’d bet my next paycheck ISIS didn’t think Obama’s complete withdrawal was “invisible”…they clearly noticed all the unguarded US munitions and vehicles.

                Perhaps someone would be interested in taking your part since you’ve declared your discussion at an end.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/08/2015 - 09:03 am.

          “Foreign policy should be the #1 issue . . .”

          Interesting point.

          James Buchanan is always high on the list of contenders for worst President in history. When it comes to foreign policy, however, he had perhaps the best credentials of any President: Ambassador to Russia, Ambassador to England, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Secretary of State.

          He also had an impressive pre-political business career. Look how well he turned out.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/08/2015 - 09:37 am.

            Ambassadors are charged with being the local representative for a President’s foreign policy. They carry it out, they report on events related to it, but do not craft it.

            I remind you, until Obama ( http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2014/06/29/it039s_official_obama_is_worse_than_carter_335625.html ), Jimmy Carter always topped the list of worse presidents, and it is a direct reflection of their incompetent foreign policy.

            And, as I pointed out in the case of Hillary Clinton, merely holding the office of Secretary of State does not automatically imbue competence.

            Our foreign relations are at a historical low point. At no time since the fall of the Soviet Union has the world held less confidence in the United States ability to conduct itself as the last remaining super power.

            Our next President has a lot of work to do. It is imperative we select someone up to the task this time.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 06/08/2015 - 08:22 pm.

          “thoughtful, informed voters”

          translation…”people that not only share my vision of revisionist history, but also reside in the same fact free bubble.”
          By the way…what’s cowardly about relying on technology to blow up the bad guys without needlessly risking American lives?

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/11/2015 - 10:52 pm.

          And…

          Hopefully Mr. Swift can recall the distinguishing feature of Nixon diplomacy being a willingness to talk and negotiate with our perceived enemies: most notably communist China. Obama does the same with Iran and is uniformly criticized by the right.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/07/2015 - 12:36 pm.

        Oh, and Reagan did an exemplary job as well for the larger part, but of course in his laudable quest to destroy Communism, he completely underestimated Iran; a failure for which his legacy suffered greatly.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 06/07/2015 - 07:18 pm.

          As it should have.

          His second term ended in paralysis.

          His doings in South America – forever linked to Iran contra – have been excused by the right as patriotic actions of an anti-communist.

          Again, Reagan’s failures can be found in the history books. Most of his supporters ignore them.

          See for example:

          Which Ronald Reagan Are the GOP Presidential Candidates Embracing?
          http://ti.me/1AVlOCF

          “Is it the one who said he wanted to cut the debt or the one who actually left us with a bigger debt?”

          ” For it is an inconvenient fact about Reagan that he was a failure when judged on his own policy terms.”

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/08/2015 - 10:25 am.

          “[H]e completely underestimated Iran . . .”

          Is that what it’s called when you defy an embargo and sell arms to a hostile power, hoping to use the proceeds to provide illegal aid to foreign fighters in another part of the world?

          “[H]is legacy suffered greatly.” He should have been impeached.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/08/2015 - 12:52 pm.

            I understand your frustration, RB. Many people feel the same way about Obama’s trade of 5 top terrorist leaders for 1 Army deserter. But the fact is, Obama’s blunder wasn’t illegal, and the Tower Commission found that there was no evidence that Reagan personally approved of the diversion of cash.

            I remind you that despite the blow his arms for hostages admission dealt his reputation, Reagan left office with the highest public approval of any President since FDR, although I aver that doesn’t give much reason for hope to Obama’s supporters.

            Different time, different circumstances, much different men.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/08/2015 - 03:25 pm.

              There You Go Again

              Deflection never works as an argument, however often one may try to employ it.

              Although the Tower Commission did in fact find that President Reagan did not personally approve the arms deal (didn’t he personally autograph Bibles sent to Iranian politicians?), he was still faulted for a lax managerial style and aloofness from policy detail. To put it another way, a rogue foreign policy operation dealing with an enemy nation was carried on right under his nose. There are some who think the constitutional infraction here was worse than Watergate.

              Considering the Presidents who came between FDR and Reagan, there wasn’t much competition for high approval ratings (as you may ignore, President Clinton’s approval ratings were higher still). When Reagan left office, the economy was relatively strong and his scandals were complex.

              • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/08/2015 - 05:21 pm.

                Specious accusations of deflection aside, I’m going to have to ask you to clarify how one gets from “lax managerial style and aloofness” to impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors, RB. Unless that was just another spirited, but unfounded outburst, of course.

                I remind you that Reagan oversaw the long hoped for collapse of the Soviet Union, while it’s violent, aggressive resurgence is occurring under Obama’s tenure.

                Lastly, some might opine that the competition for worst President from Carter to Obama wasn’t very stiff, but Obama seems to have managed it.

                Have a great evening.

                • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 06/08/2015 - 07:19 pm.

                  Obama or Carter worst presidents?

                  It is not even under discussion by serious people, Mr. Swift.

                  Nixon clearly has a lower position than either Obama or Carter for the title of worst president This also goes for George Bush the younger.

                  Interested readers can find some data, not simply Mr. Swift’s opinion, on this matter at the following reference which lists the results of many classic studies on the question of who is the best (and the worst) presidents.

                  Historical Rankings of Presidents of the United States
                  link: http://bit.ly/1nuZ6pt

                  I note that if one uses the overall rankings, the scores are:

                  Reagan 15
                  Obama 17
                  Carter 27
                  Nixon 32
                  Bush, George 37

                  So you should be a little more careful before declaring Carter or Obama the “worst president.” This is merely your personal opinion and not in accord with the opinion of the majority of professional historians.

                  • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/09/2015 - 11:33 am.

                    “…not in accord with the opinion of the majority of professional historians.”
                    See: *Wikipedia*!

                    I do appreciate your dry wit Bill. Humor helps us keep things in perspective.

                    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 06/09/2015 - 02:19 pm.

                      The data that has been presented to you

                      Mr. Swift is the opinion of many professional historians. People like Arthur Schlesinger (Jr. and Sr.). The Siena polls are something like 600 history professors.

                      The Wikipedia cite includes links to all of these studies. It is not an opinion of “Wikipedia.”

                      Your attempt at deflection is again very weak.

                      End of discussion

                    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/10/2015 - 08:23 am.

                      Wikipedia; the go-to source for internet scholars, scientists, philosophers, historians, classicists and deep thinkers.

                      If you don’t believe that, well End of discussion, friend!

  6. Submitted by Brian Wietgrefe on 06/04/2015 - 10:06 am.

    I’d suggest asking him, “What, if any, limit is there on how much of the globe we should occupy? Libya, Yemen, Somalia too? Nigeria, to stop the ISIS Ally Boko Haram? Mali, Congo, or just wars on Islamic Terrorism? What happens the next time a state collapses in the Middle East, Egypt, Saudi, or Oman? What if we need to attack Iran for nuclear issues after you end the nuclear deal?”

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/04/2015 - 11:50 am.

    Graham is career military

    He’s simply giving the unvarnished truth as seen by most military people. You may think it’s outrageous. You may think it’s the “neocon” view, but it is what it is.

    People who’ve served in the military are conditioned to think in terms of fighting and winning wars. They grow impatient with people who don’t think the same way. It’s as simple as that.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/04/2015 - 02:15 pm.

      Career military

      “People who’ve served in the military are conditioned to think in terms of fighting and winning wars. They grow impatient with people who don’t think the same way. It’s as simple as that.”

      Which is an excellent reason to let as few people as possible serve in the military. Especially if it’s possible that afterwards they’ll go on to have political careers.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/04/2015 - 08:35 pm.

      Six years active service, 26 years in reserves/ANG, and 30 years in political office.

      Gosh, one might think he sure depends on Uncle Sugar for his bread.

  8. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/04/2015 - 12:54 pm.

    Not reality

    When Cliven Bundy and a handful of loony redneck associates can openly defy federal officials over something as simple and straightforward as paying to use government land (i.e., owned by all of us) for cattle-grazing, it lends considerable credence to Neal Rovick’s comment. The vast majority of Americans don’t have a clue about the Middle East, either culturally or linguistically, and that same majority is understandably suspicious of Islam. Those same characteristics can, and should, be turned around. Most of the population of the Middle East has no idea what this society is like. What little they DO know is largely based on commercial American television that’s been dubbed into their language. How accurately do you think a commercial sitcom is likely to be in portraying normal, everyday life?

    A perpetual military presence in a region where we are generally loathed, and not without reason, is not a scenario that inspires confidence at my house. Nor is the image of the United States as a permanent military state. As Mr. Yankovic suggests, it’s all a little too close for comfort to “Dr. Strangelove.”

  9. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 06/04/2015 - 01:51 pm.

    Begging the question

    Graham’s statements don’t ‘beg some follow up questions,’ they raise them. Begging the question is an informal logical fallacy in which the conclusion is assumed in a premise.

  10. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/04/2015 - 02:34 pm.

    I forgot to add

    “If we’d have left Germany and Japan after a certain period of time, only God knows what would have happened.”

    To me, this is a perfectly logical statement, one I’ve made here myself, and one that is met with total incredulity by the people reading this. Yet it’s the same logic that was used by all U.S. governments, democrats and republicans, since the end of WW2. This isn’t a “right-wing view” or a “neocon view.” This is the thinking that has kept the peace after a world war for 70 years.

    The citizenry has become so reflexively anti-military due to the passage of time and their lack of personal experience, that ideas like ending a war by destroying an enemy with nuclear weapons, occupying a conquered nation for decades afterwards to protect your investment in blood and treasure, are just seen as unthinkable to some people, even as they apparently are only vaguely aware of the success of a re-built Japan and Germany demonstrates the validity of that plan to the world.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/04/2015 - 03:27 pm.

      “[E]nding a war by destroying an enemy with nuclear weapons . .

      I am glad that the American public, and most of our policymakers, find that idea unthinkable. It was done once, under what most will call extreme circumstances.

      Mr. Tester, if the US had “vaporized” North Vietnam in the 60s, what do you think the Soviet Union would have done? Do you suppose they would have sat idly back and reflected that they can put this one in the loss column? Would they not have retaliated in kind? Who would have won that war? What would they have “won?”

      Have you ever heard of Mutually Assured Destruction? It’s the thinking that kept peace, albeit a shaky one, for decades.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/04/2015 - 04:01 pm.

        That’s the kind of questions

        cowardly politicians ask and why we haven’t won a war since.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/04/2015 - 04:12 pm.

          I don’t think

          “Hmm… Do I want to die in a fiery nuclear apocalypse, or not?” is a question limited to politicians. But thanks for answering yes for everyone, we really appreciate it. Very courageous that.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/04/2015 - 04:18 pm.

          No

          Those are the kinds of questions mature policymakers ask. Actions have consequences.

          It’s why we haven’t all been killed in a nuclear war.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/05/2015 - 07:50 am.

      Fortunately both you and Mr. Graham have remained multiple pay grades below the level of making the decision to randomly kill every man, woman and child who lives in the range of nuclear weapons.

      As Mr. Graham aptly demonstrates, having had a career in the military in which one had only a theoretical chance of being shot at, seems to allow one to express the maximum bellicosity with the least understanding of consequences.

      Something to do with envy, I suspect.

  11. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 06/04/2015 - 03:25 pm.

    Follow the money

    So, does Graham have any obvious ties to the war profiteers who are the only one’s who’d benefit from his horrible idea?

    Of course, now, if he DID get elected and there WERE another war, he’d go be right on the front lines to demonstrate his commitment, right?

  12. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/04/2015 - 08:43 pm.

    The public may or may not be inclined to take Graham at his word when he says that he was just being “earthy” when he told a group of white males in Charleston recently that “I’m trying to help you with your tax status. I’m sorry the government’s so f—ed up. If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.”

    http://spectator.org/articles/60860/can-you-imagine-president-lindsey-graham

  13. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/04/2015 - 08:54 pm.

    The wrong society

    “…People who’ve served in the military are conditioned to think in terms of fighting and winning wars. They grow impatient with people who don’t think the same way. It’s as simple as that.”

    While there may be a time and place where fighting and winning wars is important, even crucial, let me suggest that, while people who are “career military” have plenty of experience with authoritarian social structures – there are plenty of good reasons why the men on Mr. Tester’s submarine don’t generally debate with the captain over a particular course of action – they have virtually no experience with what we usually refer to as “democracy,” where not thinking the same way as people in the military is not only built into the social structure, it’s generally regarded – outside the Tester household, and maybe outside the military in general – as a *good* thing, not some sort of intellectual handicap.

    North Korea is the sort of society Mr. Tester seems to be endorsing, since – at least according to what I’ve read in numerous sources – diversity of opinion, in and out of the North Korean military, doesn’t get much encouragement under the current regime. Just as there are good reasons for simply following orders if you’re *in* the military, there are also good reasons why, in democratic societies, it’s the civilians who ultimately have legal and/or constitutional control of the military.

  14. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 06/05/2015 - 09:19 am.

    Not to worry?

    Not to worry about a war, more wars?
    Not to worry about another generation
    sacrificed for the sake of power,…
    world dominance advocated by Graham?

    Not to worry about self
    even as we destroy the self of others?

    …under the name of god
    under the name of country
    under the name of security
    under the name of walls
    under the name of walling
    in and walling out?

    Worry about the self we lose, we lost already
    …even as we destroy the self of others?

    A smiling Graham is the most dangerous man on the ticket.

  15. Submitted by William Beyer on 06/05/2015 - 05:06 pm.

    Endless war

    Marine Major General Smedley Butler had it all figured out back in 1935:

    “War is a racket…It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives…I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/07/2015 - 12:25 pm.

      General Butler

      was a bureaucrat. He spent 33 years in the military and resented that he was called upon to actually do what he was being paid to do. Yet he managed to avoid serving in either of the world wars.

      Seems to me he would have been happier in another one of the federal government’s bureaucracies.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/07/2015 - 04:35 pm.

        Tsk,tsk, smearing others ain’t nice

        Smedley Darlington Butler[1] (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) was a United States Marine Corps major general, the highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler is well known for having later become an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences, as well as exposing the Business Plot, an alleged plan to overthrow the U.S. government.

        By the end of his career, Butler had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only Marine to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

        In 1933, he became involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot, when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become dictator, similar to other Fascist regimes at that time. The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot and the media ridiculed the allegations. A final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed some of Butler’s testimony.

        In 1935, Butler wrote a book entitled War Is a Racket, where he described and criticized the workings of the United States in its foreign actions and wars, such as those he was a part of, including the American corporations and other imperialist motivations behind them. After retiring from service, he became a popular activist, speaking at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists, and church groups in the 1930s.

        By the way, it would have really hard and unusual for a dead person tomseve in WW2.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/08/2015 - 07:35 am.

          the bony finger of history….

          ….Butler also named Prescott Bush as one of the conspirators. At the time Bush was along with W. Averell Harriman, E. Roland Harriman and George Herbert Walker, managing partners in Brown Brothers Harriman. Bush was also director of the Harriman Fifteen Corporation. This in turn controlled the Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation, that owned one-third of a complex of steel-making, coal-mining and zinc-mining activities in Germany and Poland. Friedrich Flick owned the other two-thirds of the operation. Flick was a leading financial supporter of the Nazi Party and in the 1930s donated over seven million marks to the party. A close friend of Heinrich Himmler, Flick also gave the Schutz Staffeinel (SS) 10,000 marks a year.

          On 20th November, 1934, the story of the alleged plot was published in the Philadelphia Record and the New York Post. Four days later the McCormack-Dickstein Committee released its preliminary findings and the full-report appeared on 15th February, 1935. The committee reported: “In the last few weeks of the committee’s official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist government in this country… There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.”….

          http://spartacus-educational.com/USAbutlerSD.htm

Leave a Reply