Posted by: bklunk | February 7, 2007

To Be Fair

I don’t think usually think of myself as essentially a realist, but I think it needs to be observed that liberals as often more eager than realists to resort to war. Most realists I am aware of were opposed to the war in Iraq because they thought it unnecessary for the protection of US security interests and probably destructive to US power. With the partial exception of Secretary of State Rice, most of the administration are critical if not dismissive of realism. Realists, after all, would be most reluctant to see the US as better than other countries.

An interesting essay

A Son Retunrs from War

Nov. 30, 2006
Ft. Wainwright, Alaska

I stood on a folding chair, holding a sign over my head, looking for Michael as 300 or so soldiers of the 1-17 INF, 172nd Stryker Brigade marched in a relatively rigid formation across the large hangar. Many of them couldn’t help but turn their heads to the crowd and look for their wives and children, parents, and friends. Then they stopped, turned and faced a commander who began reciting words that disappeared before registering any meaningful message. When he dismissed them, a different thunder and commotion ensued as long awaited reunions rushed to begin.

I got down off the chair and scanned the building, then turned to find Michael right next to me. A small band played music but for that one minute all the outer sounds seemed compressed into a different dimension. All I heard was the patting of our hands on each other’s shoulders as we shared a great big hug. Then, standing apart at arms distance, I looked into his eyes and saw a strong and healthy young man, a soldier smiling like a teenager who just graduated from high school.

Later in the evening we went out for dinner. The restaurant was nearly vacant. He ordered a Corona and grilled salmon. In the quiet fitting the cold and dark shade of an Alaskan winter night, our voices were low and the conversation wandered without purpose.

How do you talk to a soldier who’s been overseas in a war that you believe shouldn’t have happened and should have already closed the book of failure on itself? I listened to a few stories of firefights in the night and improvised explosive devices. He patiently listened to a few of mine.

“I can’t fathom what you’ve been through,” I began telling him as we got ready to leave. “But I believe that every soldier would prefer there were no wars to fight.”

“We all hate it,” Michael replied.

I was reminded of a quote by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the allied forces in Europe during World War II. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Michael isn’t a general and isn’t running for president. But his simply declared truth comes with experience that commands respect. I imagined him as a student in Eisenhower’s class, then in a class with our former president that our current one will never attain.

I’m thrilled that Michael is home. They all deserve to come home. His battles are over, but our pursuit for peace isn’t.

There is an interesting quote in here by President Dwight D. Eisenhower–>”I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Yet so many times war and its threat is used as a tool of international relations.  I guess it fits with the realism ideology.  But Roosevelt had it right.  It’s the people in the offices who are developing foreign policy and it’s soldiers who seet the true effect.  Rooselvet was able to see the truth that many can’t see.  I admit I’m a liberalist, but that’s because I don’t see the point of war unless is for our imminant protection, and the term “imminent threat” can’t be falsely generated to persuade me.

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  1. Unfortunately the US hegemony dominance over the world has begun to take a turn for the negative and the frontline in facing this is our soldiers abroad. It is also unfortunate that the notion of realism has taken us to a stage in the war that I am sure no one wanted. However the best thing to do now is to just support those immersed in the conflict and maybe shift our ideologies and priorities before the next conflict and to make sure every angle of diplomacy has been exhausted.

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