As the War Machine gins us up for Iran…

remember the stuff your mother taught you: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

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  • Donna Miller

    Mark, why can’t you say it the right way like George Dubya did?

    “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me — You can’t get fooled again.”

  • No One

    well, I have to comment…

    actually, I want to comment — first, on the fact that I’m surprised no one’s commenting on this or very many of your other “state-ish” posts. I’ve been off the internet for awhile and knew your anti-statist political stands, and I have to say, kudos to you, Mark, for speaking up. For the rest of us who say nothing, have Catholics given up? Or are we just stupid?

    second, we’re not going to have Iraq-caliber wars anymore, Mark. Your FP article says so in Lesson #10. Note how it says “this *kind* of war.” We’re going to see plenty of Lybias and Syrias and potential Irans, and they’re going to be fashioned per Lesson #8, even though they’re “ugly” and lead to “war crimes.” Leadership doesn’t care. We’re bound to protect other countries.

    I’ve the thought we’re going to outsource or subcontract our military, but all this will definitely continue.

    Why is it no one cares?

    • Mark Shea

      American Idol! Dancing with the Stars! Free contraceptive candy! We are a Paris Hilton people in an apocalyptic world. That’s why no one cares.

      • Richard Johnson

        “Why is it no one cares?”

        When you are one paycheck away from foreclosure on your home, or fighting off debt collectors because you supported your government and spent like mad during the ’90s and ’00s, you really don’t have the time or energy to keep an eye on the folks in Washington. This is why our government is working so hard to kill the working class and keep so many people in poverty, both through excessive tax cuts for the wealthy and mismanaged programs for the poor.

        When you couple this with a media that is the guardian of the goverment’s memory hole, it’s no wonder that nobody cares…until it’s their son or daughter coming home in the flag-draped coffin.

        • Timbot2000

          Worse than that Richard, since 1970 (or even more accurately 1913), the powers that be through the whole concept of “honest weights and measures” out the window and introduced a fiat money treadmill that the middle and lower classes have to run on until their economic hearts burst. You need look not only at the declining real purchasing power people’s earnings, but even more telling, and the size and efficacy of central bank “stimulus” since the 1930’s. Neat graph, with each recession the stimulus (and debt) gets exponentially larger, while the ameliorative effect on the economy gets less and less. Basically, the world has been on a fiat money drug habit for 60+ years, but not the doses keep getting larger and larger to avoid withdrawal, while the high gets weaker and weaker.

        • no one

          well, duh. stupid me for asking a rhetorical question.

          I guess I meant “why isn’t anyone who’s ‘figured it out’ telling ‘the truth,’ including other catholic commentators?” .. because people do know this, it’s just not being talked about.

          I think we all know we can do nothing ..

          • kenneth

            It’s not that we can do nothing. It’s that we choose to do nothing. We could, as we did in Vietnam, raise such a stink that it threatened to make society ungovernable if they didn’t end the war. We could vote and fund only candidates who didn’t believe in eternal war. We don’t because both parties play us for idiots and have us fully engaged in the “vote the lesser evil” game.

            • Scott W.

              Well, truth be told, the driving force behind Vietnam protest was the likelihood of being drafted for regular people. For the elites it was a desire to see America lose and the communists win. That’s not an anti-war movement.

              This is why the only anti-war figure from that period I have any respect for is Joan Baez, who when she noted that after the US pullout that the Cong were killing more people in 2 years than we did in our 15-odd years there (just like that pig Gen. Westmoreland said they would), she was told to shut up by the elites. And thus the PC movement was born.

      • Martial Artist


        The list is, in actuality, much, much longer than that, although I suppose that your shorter version might well stand in as a surrogate.

        Pax et bonum,
        Keith Töpfer

    • kenneth

      No one cares for the same reason no one cared in the British or Roman empires or any other. A state of war has become such a normal thing that people are blind to it. We have been on an imperial track since after the Civil War. We have not stood down from war or been on a true peacetime footing since World War II.
      The only time we even briefly stood back from it to question the premise of the whole thing was in Vietnam, and the only reason that happened was because of the draft. The largest and most highly educated generation had skin in the game, and decided they weren’t willing to die for politicians fun and profit. Well, the politicians got wise to that. They ended the draft and moved to a professional military, and in more modern times, an outright mercenary one.
      No one cares because we don’t study history in this country. Not our own, and certainly not that of the places we invade and occupy. We don’t study that history, and brush it off when someone points it out because, like all empires, we have bought into the fatal delusion of exceptionalism.
      We’re not subject to the forces of history because we’re bigger and smarter than all of the other fools who fell into the punji trap, and God thinks we’re White Enough to be his exclusive representatives on Earth and so He will favor whatever we do.
      And besides, even if all of this fails us, we can maintain a vast technological superiority over our enemies forever, if we just spend enough money. We can build an arsenal so fearsome that the inconvenient brown people of the Earth will see that we are history’s final unimprovable product and won’t even deign to raise their eyebrows to us, let alone a weapon.
      No one cares because we have deluded ourselves into believing we don’t have to care.

      • You know…

        I was cheering you on with each point you were making until you inserted colour and race into this….oppression is colour blind. Look at Sudan, Egypt, Rwanda, etc.

  • Will

    I did not agree with Iraq or Afghanistan. Just curious – what do we do with Iran?

    • kenneth

      The same things we’ve done with every other country tempted to go nuclear. First, work to convince them that they don’t need to and that it’s more trouble than its worth. That means we have to stop doing things that send the message that nukes are the only way to ensure national survival and sovereignty. Among other things, that might mean a treaty formally renouncing our intention or “right” to invade them or foment “regime change” at any time for any reason.
      It means offering them some real financial carrots to renounce nukes. If they do arm, it means containment. It means reminding them that if the enemy is now in range, so are you. A first strike by them or their proxies from a “lost” weapon would mean the end of their civilization. We need to give up the idea that we can stop a nation from arming by pre-emptive strikes. That may have been the case in countries with marginal programs like Iraq or Syria. It is not the case in a country with the industrial and human infrastructure of Iran, with numerous facilities and the most critical ones in hardened locations under mountains.

      • Martial Artist

        I would only add that we also need to engage in free and open trade with them (other countries, not solely Iran), in any segment of the market in which it is to our mutual advantage to do so. People who think that the sole sane Presidential candidate in the current race is way off base in supporting such free trade simply know neither history, nor economics. If we want peace, then we need to be peaceful, and leave the military focused on what is unambiguously the defense of this nation.

        Pax et bonum,
        Keith Töpfer, LCDR, USN [ret.]

  • Please tell me that linking to Stephen M Walt’s Iraq War analysis is an alliance of convenience on this issue only. I’d hate to think that you had a broader agreement with the guy on issues like the Israelis. I’d never have pegged you for a neorealist so I’m still hopeful.

    • Mark Shea

      I have no idea what a neorealist is, nor have I followed what Walt has to say about Israel. I post the article because I think what he has to say about the Iraq war is accurate. I take it I am to ignore the argument because it’s author is a ritually impure source? Or what?

      • No, you shouldn’t ignore good stuff coming from bad sources, but you should handle it with tongs. Walt was 1/2 of a duo that wrote a paper turned book titled The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy. There were charges of anti-semitism sufficient for me to keep the names in the back of my head for awhile to see whether they would be shown to be justified. Mearshimer came through and confirmed the suspicion at least to my satisfaction while Walt has remained for me a question mark.

        So the source material for me is a bit tainted by the ax grinding that Walt has (see the book) that it was the jews who got us into Iraq and see (in the article), the jew caused war didn’t serve us well.

        Tongs are called for… long tongs.

        • Kirt Higdon

          In fact the book is not in the least anti-semitic (I’ve read it) but simply a realistic history and analysis of the power and activities of the Israeli lobby (mainly AIPAC) in the US. Walt and Mersheimer do not blame “the jews” or “the jew” for anything. They do blame the Israeli lobby for a lot. Can anyone doubt the power of that lobby when the US president and every Republican candidate except Ron Paul goes before AIPAC to pledge unlimited support of Israel?

  • Mark,

    How dare you endorse a man’s opinion without vetting every other opinion he holds?

    Such laziness!!!

    • Mark, from his comment, seems genuinely unaware of the antisemitism controversy and the prior Walt opinions that it was the jewish lobby that created the Iraq War and his obvious dislike of said lobby. Now he has been informed on that and perhaps he will also stir himself to examine what neorealism is and how comfortable he would be in associating with a school of foreign policy that is against freeing the enslaved even when it costs us little to nothing to do so. They are against it on principle.

      • Mark Shea

        Ah! So this is one of those, “If you cite a ritually impure source, then you should know that from here on in, you will be suspected of anti-semitism” things. Even though I’ve made clear many times my hostility to anti-semitism. Yes. That has been a favorite Stupid Pet Trick with the End to Evil crowd since forever. Frum used that to great effect in his bull of excommunication against war opponents in 2003. It’s kind of worn thin since then. One need not be an anti-semite to acknowledge the salience of the arguments in the piece I linked. But shouting “anti-semite” is one of the little stunts still pulled to shut down debate by the war zealots.