In the cult of personality surrounding President Barack Obama, the ultimate test of loyalty is to shoot a cherish value. No one has proven herself more blindly loyal than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who previously led the fight to kill privacy in America as a demonstration of absolute fealty. Now, Pelosi appears to be advocating military action. In a meeting with the White House. Pelosi voiced the need for action. Presumably, this means military action — again — because Obama said that the use of chemical weapons would be a redline and of course Obama is not to be mocked. It is a test that England appears to have failed and now there is a concern that the White House views England with suspicion and distrust for balking at war.
Pelosi paid only passing acknowledgement of liberals who oppose war, but suggested that we should attack even if we do so against the wishes of our allies and go in alone. She insisted “it is clear that the American people are weary of war. However, Assad gassing his own people is an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security.” Of course, our sprawling military industrial complex is not weary. We are about to fire off a billion or so dollars worth of missiles that will have to be replaced and could trigger a broader war.
Pelosi is quoted as countering statements from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggesting a more cautious approach with consultation. Pelosi reportedly countered that the United States needed “to do something.”
So now that Pelosi has led the attack on privacy, called for another war, supported warrantless surveillance, and the killing of citizens on the sole authority of the president, it is difficult to see what is left for the democratic party beyond of course Barack Obama.
83 thoughts on “Pelosi: Real Liberals Want War?”
Can the people in her district please vote this old goat out of office?
the Obama administration provided Sarin gas to the Syrian rebels knowing the gas would be “discovered.” Setting up the MSM to bang the drum of “evidence that Assad used Sarin on the rebels” to justify more US crimes against humanity, and keeping the military industrial complex humming along. Who made us police of the world?
You are paraphrasing Einstein’s definition of insanity.
It’s not a bad definition at all. 😀
As you know, criticism of America’s imperial militarism often draws the response that one “never” approves “any” military actions by the U.S. government, as if war in and of itself has some sort of transcendental validity that ought to place it above criticism. That rejoinder fails, of course, since most Americans would at least justify the Revolutionary War for American independence, the War of 1812 to repulse a British invasion of the United States, the Civil War to preserve the union and end human slavery, and the Second World War to defend the United States from German and Japanese fascist aggression. Other than those four military conflicts, however, the United States has rarely employed its military for other than deplorable and indefensible reasons which, because of their intellectual and moral illegitimacy, have necessitated a chronic government mendacity that rots the very soul of democratic consent. So the scorecard of four perhaps unavoidable conflicts out of many more instances of deliberate and deceptive armed theft and sheer bungling — over more than two centuries — leads the skeptical person statistically to conclude that, on the merits, war does not usually serve the interests of either American democracy nor genuine national self-interest. If such a conclusion makes one a “pacifist,” then so what? And informed pacifism seems entirely in order given America’s history.
Since the Second World War, especially, the behemoth military establishment in the United States has become, for all intents and purposes, a state within a state and, as Arthur Schlesinger has written, “the most powerful pressure for military intervention and escalation.” Mere military activity for nothing more than the perpetuation and advancement of military careers and weapons procurement fed by a death grip on the resources of the country actually weakens the United States. Therefore, demands for the severe reduction of this self-aggrandizing institution have a deep and abiding salience for those who see America’s purpose and future elsewhere than the interminable pounding away at third-world countries who — despite their poverty and technological backwardness — usually wind up driving the bloated and inept U.S. military out of their countries to lick its wounds and sulk before setting off to repeat the same bloody bungling again and again. So in the great majority of instances, war doesn’t work for the United States. Therefore, we ought not to appeal to it except in the most rare, dire, and unusual of circumstances. And Congress always has more than enough unoccupied time to debate and decide what best to do in those rare and dire circumstances that actually do arise every so many generations apart.
As you point out, Syria does not qualify as one of those rare, dire, or unusual circumstances. Not in the slightest. Not in any way, whatsoever. And the typical U.S. government tactic of trying to emotionally convulse the citizenry into mass stupidity and supine acquiescence over some trumped-up Orwellian “evil” somewhere over the horizon has worn so thin that even the normally somnolent and misinformed citizens of the United States can see through the tawdry dodge. It simply doesn’t sell any more.
As for George Orwell’s dead-on description of a totalitarian state at perpetual war with its ally-enemy-ally-enemy of the moment, the United States helped to create Al Qaeda to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, but then found itself at war with Al Qaeda after the blowback of 9/11/2001, only to find itself once again allied with Al Qaeda in trying to overthrow the regimes of Libya and and Syria. Technically, of course, the U.S. remains “at war” with its ally Al Qaeda, but this symbiotic, mutually parasitic relationship has begun to bewilder the American populace past the point of wanting to hear another lying word about it. People just don’t care for war with Syria or see the slightest need for it. Therefore, if the Obama administration persists in putting the fetid interests of Saudi Arabia and Apartheid Zionism ahead of American’s own interests, then President Obama and his right-wing supporters in both political factions, have got a rude awakening coming to them. If this critique makes me a “pacifist,” then hooray for pacifism. It seems perfectly justifiable under the circumstances. So I’ll happily stipulate to membership in the count-me-out club.
Thank you for your response. I don’t always agree with you but it is always a pleasure to read your remarks.
” Therefore, we ought not to appeal to it [ war ] except in the most rare, dire, and unusual of circumstances.”
I could not agree more. I am no pacifist. But the idea of a limited military response almost seems a contradiction.
I think there is an argument to be made that the only legitimate acts of war are those that require total commitment. If the situation is of so little importance that we are not completely involved then why are we at war at all. I am not sure I have completely convinced myself of that proposition.
But I do emphatically believe that the bar for war has been set much to low. We now seem to be heading for war for little more reason than personal insult to our national leader.
Yet the very serious people give lists of reasons why it all makes sense; why we have to go along. The reasons for war keep coming despite the fact that what we will gain from war seems imprecise at best.
I think there is a pretty good argument to be made that war, or a limited strike, in Syria will only make the situation worse not better. And none of what I have said has anything to do with morality or legality, only the practical mater of what might make things better.
Perhaps you have noticed that sometimes people criticize what we did not say, or what they imagine we said. I think that is, in part, because that is easier than contending with our actual words.
In any case, people like you and me know that no name or label can capture the essence and complexity of our beliefs.
But there is one sense in which I bear proudly the label they give me.
When they call me a name or give me a label, that means they cannot correct my data, they cannot refute my argument, they cannot dispute the position I hold.
If they could, why would they waste time calling me a name. Wouldn’t they just present their argument for all to see.
So, don’t worry to much about the names and labels. When they call you names it means you are winning.
I mention this because I suspect you are one who has been called many names many times in the past.
BTW, a bit of a tangent, didn’t someone once say that insanity is repeating the same course of action, again and again, expecting a different result. I say this as I try to count up successful military interventions since the end of WWII.
@randyjet “You also seem to think that ANY military action by the US is wrong and unjustified under most circumstances.”
If I have left you with the impression that I believe that ” ANY military action by the US is wrong and unjustified under most circumstances” then let me apologize for being imprecise and inarticulate.
I believe that military action by the US must have reasonable chance of achieving clearly defined objectives and proceed only after full and thoughtful evaluation of the risk including greater involvement. Obviously it would be impossible to meet those criteria if it were necessary to respond to a surprise attack.
I do not believe the current rush to military action meets those minimal criteria. And I do not believe that there is any thing in the current situation that is remotely analogous to a surprise attack.
I have called for thoughtful analysis and debate on the current situation.
“When the U.S. destroys its own stocks of obscene chemical weapons, then perhaps Americans may have the moral authority to demand the same of other nations
I see that you are way behind the times since the US IS doing that by the way.”
You give me too much credit. I did not say that.
I also do not believe as a general principle that one has to be fully in compliance with a principle in order to call attention to a difficult or dangerous situation. Lack of compliance does raise the possibility of hypocrisy.
When the U.S. destroys its own stocks of obscene chemical weapons, then perhaps Americans may have the moral authority to demand the same of other nations
I see that you are way behind the times since the US IS doing that by the way. You also seem to think that ANY military action by the US is wrong and unjustified under most circumstances. Just because the US was wrong in Vietnam and Iraq and other places, hardly means that ALL US military action is wrong under any and all circumstances. I have to admit that when I got out of the Air Force, I would never have believed that there could be any military action the US could take that I would support, but there have been a few. This and Libya along with the First Gulf War are among those military actions.
If the US cannot enforce the laws against the use of chemical weapons,then such a ban is meaningless. It is a dead letter. I would have supported Clinton if he had used US forces in Rwanda too, but as he later admitted he made a horrible mistake. That one I could understand since the UN charter forbid such a thing at the time, but later has rethought its position in the light of Rwanda.
I supported Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia to depose Pol Pot, which was also a violation of international law, but one which I think was justified under the circumstances. The US of course was on the other side in supporting the Kmer Rouge while Reagan was in charge.
And in the “it-gets-even-worse department,” former Representative Dennis Kucinich reportedly said recently that “bombing Assad makes the U.S. into the Al Qaeda Air Force.”
Well, wouldn’t that de facto “alliance” with Al Qaeda constitute “giving aid and comfort” to the enemies who “have levied war against the United States”? And would that not in turn rather starkly define President Obama as a traitor? I mean, literally, in the exact words of the U.S. Constitution. How can the United States wage war for ten years against Al Qaeda only to have the highest officials in the American government commit treason by aiding and abetting that same enemy? I mean, I know that
The United States has never been in alliance with Al Qaeda. The United States has always been in alliance with Al Qaeda. Do these inbred morons who run the American government have any idea what they’ve done and, even worse, propose to continue doing? Sure glad that they haven’t got my memory satisfactorily under their control. I’ve read the book many, many times.
“Do these inbred morons who run the American government have any idea what they’ve done and, even worse, propose to continue doing?”
Your analysis in all the comments to date has been on the money. On this question above my psychotherapist’s background leads me to go back and forth on this question. On one hand there is the powerful psychological defense mechanism of denial and with it the compartmentalization of ones actions, so as to justify that which they innately know is wrong at some psychological level. On the other hand they merely might be sociopathic SOB’s and not give a damn about the crap they spew. Since it’s anyone’s guess, my answer is that it doesn’t matter and they should be held to full account for their crimes.
Your analysis in all the comments to date has been on the money
I guess that you are wearing the same tin foil hat with antenna as well then. You cannot seriously believe that the US is the same as Oceania or that we have the same kind of control as the regimes as depicted in 1984. So far all I have seen is a lack of memory, facts, and simple common sense on the side which is against US military action.
I see also that the same idiots were saying that Obama using military force in Libya would result in our invading that country too. Where is your memory? Then I get a laugh out of the same cast of characters who were fighting against US involvement in WWII. They were for the most part right wingers with a later commitment of the CPUSA. All of these arguments were used back then too. Then I love the fact that such people who use Orwell have no idea of what his politics were and his history. They forget that he was a leftwing communist to the end of his life who was totally supportive of the UK in WWII. He made many broadcasts against the Congress Party of India during that conflict and in support of the British jailing of their leaders.
Another silly comparison is to say that since Obama did not prosecute the people who authorized and did war crimes in approving torture, that he has no standing to enforce or penalize the use of chemical weapons. In that case, there is NO court that can be found on Earth that would have clean hands to do anything. Then it requires saying that torturing a small number of people is the SAME as killing thousands of people with banned chemical weapons. I think that most rational people do not buy that. In fact, the International Criminal Court in The Hague would have to shut down because the largest contingent of unprosecuted war criminals are Dutch citizens for their horrendous actions in Indonesia and for their service in the SS during WWII.
While I rather like a lot of Kucinich’s positions on many areas, his absolute pacifism is way too extreme for me, and as it turns out for the voters too. Just because Bush lied and did not have any real justification for the invasion of Iraq, hardly means that Obama and Kerry are one and the same. In fact, the only way you can arrive at such a conclusion is to make wild accusations backed up by a loss of memory, and facts. Bush lied and set up his own intelligence agency apart from the CIA under Cheney to cook the intel. Are you accusing Obama of doing the SAME? At the time there were plenty of other reports contesting and available to all to show the opposite of what Bush was saying. Are you saying now that unlike the UN inspectors in Iraq who found NOTHING at all to sustain Bush’s charges, that the inspectors will conclude NO chemical attack took place? THAT is what you will have to have to sustain any similarity with Bush/Cheney lies. Then you have the problem that the resolution authorizing US military action in Iraq, did NOT authorize explicitly a US invasion either. Bush simply lied about his intent. Are you accusing Obama of lying and wanting to send in US troops now? That is what you will have to say to make a valid comparison with Bush. Once again, I unlike most who are opposed to any military action under most circumstances, demand proof of YOUR contentions that using air power to degrade Assad’s forces in retaliation for his violation of international norms on these weapons will result in more and wider war for our forces.
Given the fact that Israel suffered nothing for their massive air attack recently on Syria soil, I think that is a remote possibility that we would be involved in a wider war as a result. It is even less likely since Assad has his hands full trying to defeat his opponents near at hand.
Glenn Greenwald weighs in with pretty much what I just said above:
“It’s certainly preferable to have the president seek Congressional approval than not seek it before involving the US in yet another Middle East war of choice, but that’s only true if the vote is deemed to be something more than an empty, symbolic ritual. To declare ahead of time that the debate the President has invited and the Congressional vote he sought are nothing more than non-binding gestures – they will matter only if the outcome is what the President wants it to be – is to display a fairly strong contempt for both democracy and the Constitution.”
“There are few things more bizarre than watching people advocate that another country be bombed even while acknowledging that it will achieve no good outcomes other than safeguarding the “credibility” of those doing the bombing. Relatedly, it’s hard to imagine a more potent sign of a weak, declining empire than having one’s national “credibility” depend upon periodically bombing other countries.”
No one has any respect for a rubber stamp. And if the Congress of the United States acts like one, it will deserve all the contempt it will receive.
“Government by night and cloud after awhile eroded its own basis of consent. Government by lies, especially by clumsy little lies, was particularly self-defeating.” — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (1973)
The clumsy little lies, whispered (i.e., “leaked”) in the dark of night and cloud to corporate press sycophants by the Obama administration, coming so soon on the heels of the refined monstrous lies of the Deputy Dubya Bush administration, have indeed eroded the national basis of consent. Now President Obama proposes to win back that lost consent by telling more clumsy little lies while offering the Congress an opportunity to join him in shamelessly propagating them.
Notice if you will, fellow Crimestoppers, how President Obama proposes to graciously accept approval by the U.S. Congress for his proposed war crime while simultaneously avoiding any promise to abide by a Congressional decision forbidding him the crime he covets. In other words: he doesn’t need permission, but he will take forgiveness in advance. Under those demeaning conditions, what collection of self-respecting legislators would agree to meet only to discuss the shape and size of the rubber stamp — and perhaps the color of the ink — used to proclaim their utter irrelevancy?
As a matter of fact and recent history, President Obama has already waged an illegal war on a foreign regime — Libya — in clear and disdainful violation of the War Powers Act. Congress specifically forbade him his Excellent Adventure and refused to appropriate funds for it. Yet President Obama went ahead anyway, taking funds from other accounts and, in so doing, daring Congress to defend its Constitutional prerogatives by impeaching him, the only constitutional recourse left. But Congress quailed; and now, as a consequence of its own pusillanimous behavior, will get more of what it has already subsidized: abuse by the Imperial Presidency.
President Obama apparently presumes an approval he will accept and not a refusal he will ignore. Very dangerous for the Republic and fairly begging for a Constitutional crisis. Yet as the village Sheriff said to the angry mob in the movie Young Frankenstein: “A riot is an ugly thing. And I think it is about time that we had one.”
My sentiments exactly.
Thank you for the kind comments, Gene.
This just in from Ralph Nader today on Common Dreams:
“Chronically violating the Constitution overturns the rule of law and can produce costly blowbacks.”
What a talent for succinct synthesis Ralph Nader and James Madison share.
Arthur Randolph Erb,
As a Vietnam Veteran, I have more than enough personal experience with destroying a foreign country in order to save Americans from minding their own business — which ought to entail taxing ultra-wealthy corporate stockholders and speculators while producing good jobs, education and health care systems for the general population.
That aside, I ask you: What will attacking the Syrian government do to destroy the stocks of chemical weapons that the United States has stored at various locations around America? And why does the United States possess such weapons if it swears that their use violates “International norms” which the U.S. now wishes to enforce by violating them. “Peace thru War,” “Happiness is a High Body Count,” the career military lifers used to exult some forty-five years ago in Southeast Asia, before things went to bloody hell in a handbasket.
Again, “International norms” forbid the United States from attacking another nation that has not attacked the United States. Yet the President of the United States arrogates to himself the right to disregard such international norms at his personal whim. I seriously doubt that you realize the depth of deserved scorn the United States has accrued around the world because of such brazen and bloody hypocrisy. The notorious official lying certainly hasn’t made the United States the least bit credible either. Chronic mendacity and wanton lawlessness will do that.
When the U.S. destroys its own stocks of obscene chemical weapons, then perhaps Americans may have the moral authority to demand the same of other nations. Until then, the U.S. government needs to STFU and mind its own business. America had its own civil war and other nations will have theirs. We didn’t want any outside powers butting into our internal bloodletting and so we ought to have the good sense to understand how other nations feel the same. In any event, only the usual war profiteers have anything to gain from more Messianic Military Adventurism. The United States and the American people can only win by refusing to play.
Excellent post. Probably your best to date.
Michael Murry, WELL SAID.
Dredd spots the red herring with his eagle eyes. Bombs without chemicals are called “duds.”
Name one weapon that is not based on chemicals. Aren’t all weapons chemically based in one way or another?
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