The U.S. foreign policy advocated by leaders of both major parties is experiencing serious setbacks in multiple nations, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Recent military losses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen exemplify a joint Obama/Bush foreign policy disaster with no easy solutions.
Peace advocate Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who gave daily security briefings to two presidents, published a call to action this week in his column How to Honor Memorial Day, illustrated by the adjoining photo of Arlington National Cemetery (Sebastian Fuss photo via flickr).
Iraq deserves special attention because its rationale was controversial from the start. Authorities sold their policy to the public with doctored intelligence and other systematic deceptions, such as the claim that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) threatening the United States.
Of all the recent wars, Iraq created the greatest loss of both American lives and Iraqi civilian deaths. Additionally, the war has drained the U.S. treasury, destabilized the entire region, and has diminished U.S. and allied moral authority and other stature. President George W. Bush is shown in a file photo of his iconic “Mission Accomplished” photo shoot in 2003 aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln, a premature victory celebration.
Professor Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, last year published 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity. The former CBS 60 Minutes producer showed more than 900 deceptions used by the Bush administration to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq. In compelling fashion, he charted the war as part of a larger American decline that includes the foreign policy establishment and watchdog institutions.
As a political angle, Jeb Bush and other war-backers claim “mistakes were made” because of “faulty intelligence” and Democratic failures to send more U.S. fighting forces and arms to the region.
That’s bogus and not just because war-mongers doctored the intelligence themselves to stifle the truth. Additionally, wars built on deception never should have been started or continued for so long, especially especially in league with despotic regimes with goals incompatible with America’s ideals.
Yet thought-leaders in the nation’s capital — including both parties, academia, media and of course the “Beltway Bandits” that profit from war contracts — are overwhelmingly in favor of interventions abroad and more arms supplies. Many seek also renewed deployment of troops and mercenaries recruited from former military personnel.
On the ground, a series of military disasters have unfolded, as illustrated by such Washington Post headlines as Fall of Ramadi raises new questions about U.S. strategy in Iraq and Militants storm upscale area in Kabul, describing an attack on Afghanistan’s capital city as the latest chapter in the longest war in U.S. history, begun in 2001.