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No mas

By Owen Paine on Thursday August 10, 2006 05:58 PM

Here's a voter pledge I signed. It comes in two parts. Part One:
I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq and ....
Part two:
...preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign.
Part one is not bad -- I prefer "now" to "speedy", but not bad.

Part two? Well, it's nice there is a Part Two. For one thing, it heads off the donk Murtha frame -- redeploy to an air war with a dark-ops option, or any other sotto-voce re-intervention proviso. We hardly need some update of the infamous Platt amendment, or TR's bill-collector civil-order revision of the Monroe doctrine.

Imagine -- we Yankees, back at the turn of the last century, actually "embedded" a unilateral right of intervention in the constitution of "liberated Cuba."

We need tighter language, for sure. A "war of aggression" label is way too easily finessed. I suspect, for example, a redeploy that after some Sunni-menacing by the Shia, led back to a Kosovo-type air war, could avoid the war of aggression label fairly easily.

So this term, "war of agression," is no sound basis for policy reformation of the "never again" variety -- not unless we prevent all pretexts, starting with the best of all, a war of humane emergency.

Barring "wars of agression" is only a fair start -- we need to work together towards something more like "no gringo interventions, period." And to insure a deep lesson is learned, pass a a one time levy on the transnational corporations to pay us all back for all the prior interventions. We could call it the Smedley Butler levy.

This is not an easy task, needless to say -- a world without nations intervening on each other. But then, I suspect, neither was ending human sacrifice.

Bottom line -- humane empire is still empire. Perhaps we prove to be the final evil of civilization itself -- Benthamite imperialists, intervening for the greater good, or Pastor Niebuhr types interested in universal values enforcement.

Try your passivity against, say, murderous state oppression like Sudan, or state-without-a-state rule of the gun like Somalia -- or both, like Congo. Policing or disarming terrorist armed states within a state or or or....

It ain't easy to agree what is not to be done. But surely a line must be drawn and the struggle to find that line needs to be "dialogued out" right now. The bulk of the American citizenry must share a new line, that clearly tells our Uncle Sam what he's never ever to do again.

Comments (3)

J. Alva Scruggs:

First, do no harm. United Sweatshop and Vampire Financial Services LTD don't get to cut foreign deals that would violate any laws, labor agreements or environmental regulations here. Their entire boards go to prison if they try. Second, open university economic departments to market forces, the more Hobbesian the better. Okay, sort of joking about that. I'm serious about the first, however. That takes care of most of the need for "humanitarian" interventions. Countries seldom spontaneously devolve into genocidal conflicts without a push. We can stop our part of the pushing first.


OK, here's my list of no's:
1) no wars to support an idea (democracy, freedom, etc)
2) no wars against abstractions (evil, terror, Islam, etc)
3) no war without the consent of the enemy (both sides must say "bring 'em on!)
4)no wars using private contractors
5) no wars without increased taxes on the wealthy
6)no wars without a prior national plebiscite following informed discussion among non-governmental experts . . . ok, never mind!)
7)major media black-out during any period of build-up to war

Tim D:

I dig what you mean JSP. How 'bout "pledging to a noninterventionist foreign policy"? That covers all the bases I think. Probably should throw something in there about technical, humanitarian non-military/police oriented aid and assistance though...

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