The Lust for War


After more than five hours of immersion in Republican personalities and policies, I have emerged this morning with the uneasy feeling that – with the exception of one or two of the presidential candidates – it doesn’t matter who among them makes it to the White House. He or she will plunge America into at least one new war.

As far as I can recall in my stupefied condition after listening to so much irrelevant ranting and bragging, only Rand Paul and John Kasich – and possibly Ben Carson – aren’t itching to blow up the world.

The vast majority of the debaters left no doubt that they want more – thousands and thousands more – American boots on the ground in the Middle East, for one thing. They agreed that the worst thing America ever did was to bring home the troops from Iraq. Now, they argued, the troops should go back to wage war against ISIS.

Iran  was also a popular target for proposed military agression. And Russia was not far behind. North Korea got a mention or two. One candidate – I think it was Marco Rubio – seemed to feel China should be taught a lesson for building artificial  islands next to Japan.

And Syria came under a lot of verbal fire, especially at the 6 p.m. debate.

It seemed to me that when the candidates weren’t trying to outbrag one another, they were engaged in a bloodthirsty contest to be the most hawkish person on stage.

I was left with the impression that they would make America great again by building a massive army and using it to bully the rest of the world into doing whatever Americans want them to do.

Nobody explained how this mighty army and its global conquests would be financed. Indeed, when they weren’t threatening to use military force against somebody, they were promising to slash taxes and balance the federal budget.

But the only alternative to increasing taxes, as far as I can see, would be to create a massive deficit. And America still has to dig itself out of that huge deficit from the Iraq adventure.

Nobody revealed where the required troops would come from, either. I suppose the draft would have to be reintroduced. Does anybody out there remember Vietnam?

Is that what Americans really want? Another Vietnam? Another Iraq? Thousands more dead and maimed young people, the escalation of hatred for America throughout the world and all the other inescapable horrors of endless war?

I guess we’ll find out next November.