Thurs. 3/29 – “Armchair warriors” dream of bombs…

Two things are happening. We are returning to the war cabinet of the Bush years, and we have a all-volunteer army…

This is the beginning of tragedy.

It has already started. Our president, whose apparently devasting but temporary heel-spur condition kept him from facing anything harsher than teen angst in a military boarding school, has already escalated US wars abroad.

John Bolton, his latest choice as national security adviser, is an experienced “armchair warrior” with no compunction against sending other people’s children to die in foreign wars. Like his new boss, and former Iraq comrades-in-arms, George W Bush and Dick Cheney,  Bolton avoided military service in Vietnam as a young man while openly supporting it, using the same National Guard gambit that served Bush so well.

“I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” he said in 1995. “I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” (For those confused, the National Guard of today, with 100,000 serving in hostile areas, is not the same as the Guard of the 1970’s, where former President Bush hung out, or didn’t. (slate))

Cadet Bone-Spurs has met his equal, a conservative arch-hawk who has become infamous over the years as a reckless advocate of pre-emptive, interventionist military actions. Bolton still supports the debacle of the 2003 Iran invasion, despite evidence that no link existed between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, that there were no weapons of mass destruction and our interference caused irreparable harm to the region and aided our enemies. He’s now advocating for a first strike on North Korea and the dissolution of the Iran agreement. He disdains international law and the UN and worked as Dick Cheney’s right-hand man. Like Trump, he questions the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

While the military is protecting us, it’s time for us to step up and protect them. We need to stop politicians from using them as disposable pawns in a never-ending war. 

50 years ago, 2.7 million men in Vietnam had been conscripted from every segment of society. Now less than one-half of 1% of the U.S. population is in the armed services today — the lowest rate since World War II. America’s recent wars are authorized by a U.S. Congress whose members have the lowest rate of military service in history, led by three successive commanders in chief who never served on active duty.

A 2011 Pew Research Center study titled “The Military-Civilian Gap” found that only a quarter of civilians who had no family ties to the military followed war news closely. Half said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan made little difference in their lives, and half said they were not worth fighting.

“We’ve disconnected the consequences of war from the American public. As a result, that young man or woman putting on the uniform is much less likely to be your son or daughter, or even your neighbor or classmate,” said Mike Haynie, director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University in upstate New York. “That is a dangerous place to be.”

Back in 2010, Richard Cohen wrote… “A change from a draft to a volunteer system has profoundly changed our relationship to war.  “We fight now with volunteers — their choice. If young men were being drafted for Iraq, that war would already be over. …It is the very lack of a draft that now allows the government to risk the lives of young people on the flimsy maybes of policy gambits. An apathetic public looks away. It is not our concern. If “they” choose to serve, then “they” choose also to die. Were it not for the money, we could probably fight in Afghanistan forever.”

Action Plan: We need to vociferously stop this slide into a war mentality and we need to actively protect the lives of the people who fight for us. We can’t stop Trump from appointing Bolton, but we can encourage our senators from confirming his allies:  “uber-hawk” Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and “black site” head Gina Haspel as CIA director. We can also demand that our legislators discourage new wars by supporting legislation that restricts the use of nuclear weapons.

Minimal script #1: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Sen. [___] to vote “NO” on the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as our new Secretary of State and “black site” head Gina Haspel as CIA director.

Minimal script #2: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep./Sen. [___] to vote “YES” on both the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act” (HR 669/S 200) and the “No Unconstitutional First Strike Against North Korea Act” (HR 4140/S 2016).

Brownley has not signed HR 669, thank Carbajal for being a co-sponsor
Harris has not signed S 200, thank Feinstein for being a co-sponsor
Brownley has not signed HR 4140, thank Carbajal for being a co-sponsor
Neither Harris or Feinstein has co-sponsored S 2016.

Contact your Legislator

Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Other Rep Contacts: www.phoneyourrep.com

Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Rep./Senator Contacts: www.phoneyourrep.com

Readings

  • Yes, John Bolton really is that dangerous (nytimes)
  • John Bolton named national security adviser: it’s time to panic. (slate)

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