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September 06, 2013

Funny: All the Places in the World That John McCain Has Expressed Interest in Bombing

This is from Mother Jones, the archliberal/leftist magazine.

It is however pretty funny, and I don't just mean "It's funny because I agree with it," though I do. I mean they've added funny things to what might otherwise be clapper material.

John McCain really needs to be more discriminating about which countries he wants to attack this week.

John McCain is treated as a serious foreign policy theorist because of his reflexive belligerency and his cavalier statements about sending troops to foreign lands.

Were he not a veteran with a very compelling heroic backstory, this would be a reason to treat him as not terribly serious about foreign policy.

No one can deny that McCain was a hero in Vietnam -- but what I would deny is that there is any connection between that service and the "seriousness" with which he analyzes military/foreign policy questions.

Were anyone but John McCain to offer such reflexively belligerent policy prescriptions, we wouldn't take that hypothetical person seriously at all.

And McCain's instincts, which are poor, cannot be saved by his biography, which has nothing at all to do with his probity and judgment.*

* I think McCain like many other Republicans offers reflexive "Let's Get After Them with Bombs" type statements because they are -- or rather were -- generally popular with Republican audiences.

I've been saying this for months: I happen to know, because I engage with conservative opinion on this every single day, that such statements are no longer popular with the caucus.

Not to say there aren't those who don't agree, but the days when a "Let's bomb someone" statement would get automatic applause and guaranteed "Attaboys!" have long since passed.

It is a serious indictment of the Republican political class that they don't know this.

I don't agree with the principles of isolationism. Some on the right do; some don't. But I think there is at least a consensus about a more modest foreign policy, a greater willingness to say "It's not our fight," and more of a desire to give our troops a break once in a while.

One doesn't have to be a Doctrinaire Noninterventionist to start questioning this all-but-unquestioned assumption that if two groups are murdering each other somewhere in the world, America is expected, as the default scenario, to join in in some way.

We shouldn't go to war on Autopilot and we shouldn't have Muscle Memory Airstrikes.

Which isn't to necessarily say we have no interest in blowing up Assad-- Noah C. Rothman made a case for it in the podcast (which will be linked later).

But I don't think this assumption that Wars Are Better When American Troops are Involved is a sound one.

Or, let me put it like this: Most wars will be better for civilians if American troops are involved, as they're so professional and ethical. But realistically-- Would we rather have more of our boys alive (and ready to fight, because they're not exhausted) or would we rather save some foreign civilians?

I don't get the premise that if we're involved we somehow have more "control" over things. Control is an illusion in such matters. These are tectonic forces we're talking about. Social revolutions are tidal waves. They are not easily channeled, directed, harnessed, and ridden.


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posted by Ace at 01:04 PM

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