As Though we Need Another War

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel… (James 4:1-2).

It’s 50 years now since the US committed large numbers of troops to Viet Nam. That war that was founded on a Presidential deception of the US people turned into a US disaster: the most powerful nation in the world, with control of the air and seas couldn’t win, and suffered 58,000 deaths. In 1975 the US unceremoniously withdrew, humiliated by the Viet Cong and North Viet Nam.

Then there have been two wars against Iraq (which have achieved absolutely nothing, other than vast casualties, especially amongst civilians), along with a war in Afghanistan, still being waged against I don’t quite know who.

What’s been a consistent pattern of US foreign policy over 50 years?

  1.      Find a place on the globe which is a great distance from the US, representing no direct threat.
  2.      Publicise a real or fabricated evil taking place there. (Think of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in 2003.)
  3.      Send in American planes and troops to “liberate,” or “relieve,” or “rid the world of a dictator.”
  4.      Get bogged down in an unpopular and unwinnable war.

Andrew Napolitano is a US judge. Two years ago today concerning Iraq, he wrote that

We now know that Saddam Hussein posed no threat to the U.S. Regrettably, it took 5,000 American lives, more than a half-million Iraqi lives, nearly a trillion borrowed dollars and two presidential election campaigns for voters to realize that. What was the grave, profound, enduring public evil from Iraq that directly threatened the freedom or safety of Americans? There wasn’t one.[1]

If you are going to be creditable and respected in public life, you have to avoid hypocrisy. That means ensuring that statements made today are consistent with your actions. And this is where the US has a tendency to get shaky under the spotlight.

The US won’t accept that Russia has any legitimate spheres of influence, while Washington’s span the globe.  Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who used to be a sensible fellow before becoming corrupted by power, blasted Russia: “you just don’t invade a country under a phony pretext!”

I guess Kerry has never heard of the US invasions of the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya.  Or can’t remember Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin “incident.”[2]

Now, the US has the opportunity to either go ahead with international brinkmanship against the Russians, or pull back. And if President Obama feels obligated to prove something to the world, this could get ugly.


Two things have consistently brought down Empires over the centuries: war and debt. If the US seeks to further challenge Russia and Putin, it will only hasten its own demise. It’s trying hard enough as it is.

[1] Andrew Napolitano, “What is a Just War?” (, 3/2/2012.

[2] Eric Margolis, “Vlad the Bad Advances His Knight” (, 9/3/2014.