“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” – General Douglas MacArthur
6 JAN 2012
by Adam G. House
With substance abuse, divorce, PTSD, and suicide rates among soldiers and veterans at some of the highest in history, is there a moral and/or cultural price to be paid for ongoing warfare? This is the question I posed on ABC’s website to which I would like to hear all the Republican Presidential candidates answer in the New Hampshire debate. I already know the answer: YES! I don’t know exactly what Ron Paul might say, but I’ve already learned enough about him to think that he sees the moral hazard of perpetual military imperialism and foreign occupations. The current President of the United States, and all the other candidates in the Republican field of nominees, just simply do not speak or in any way show that they’re even willing to acknowledge that warfare is something to be avoided and used as a last resort, only for self-defense. This is one reason America has a Department of DEFENSE, and not a ‘War Ministry.’ International Bankers, Wall Street tycoons, and those with the money to buy their loopholes in the laws which hamper the upstart competition, have helped create this International Fascist Empire which thrives on warfare. Many great nations, especially the Republic of Rome, have given us the historical road map to tyranny and decay from within. In the Republic of Rome’s march towards tyrannical Empire, they had many great moments in which they were able to draw back some of the over-reach of the government and restore some of their greatness and a peaceful and prosperous civil society which was rich in education and culture. Ultimately, Rome fell from within. Many historians have attributed this fall to an array of symptoms, but it is consistent that more people lost more freedom during the times Rome added to the size, scope, and power of centralized government. The weight of the burden that was the Roman government’s welfare/warfare Empire eventually became too much for the people to prop up. Rome even debased their currency and made other desperate efforts to keep the bubble inflated, but gravity won in the end. Natural Law has a way of doing that. All the printing of the Weimar Republic and the ensuing military expansion of the Nazi Empire couldn’t stop the preexisting Natural Law from eventually bringing Germany down from it’s pedestal built on ideological relativism.
The Father of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” It was this belief that he could rule the people by central executive mandate over all things government and economic which eventually left Mussolini hanging upside down from a meat-hook in Milan while his own people stoned his dead body.
One of Mussolini’s contemporaries was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces 5-Star General & ultimately President of the United States , Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower led the greatest generation as they took on the tasks which were no less than saving the world. To the credit of and to demonstrate the difference in the American way, it was our leader who said, “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” By the way, Eisenhower was a Republican. This was the warning he gave us as part of his farewell speech. In the same address, Eisenhower also said, “We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this preeminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment. Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.”
We should take a lesson from our former President. The merger of state and corporate power of America’s federal government on an international scale betrays the American Revolution, the Republic, the Constitution and We The People. If Presidential candidates such as Rick Santorum want to claim the moral high ground, they must at least acknowledge that there are many prices (both apparent & unintended) to war. If we must go to war, then let’s win it speedily and decisively, then come home and let the defeated rebuild for themselves. Perpetually occupying foreign nations keeps Americans and our interests vulnerable to political, economic, and military backlash. Keeping soldiers in harms’ way long past any justifiable mission has ugly consequences which trigger-happy blowhards like Rick Santorum don’t want to think about. The fact that the war in Afghanistan has been largely ignored by the American people, and that the personnel deployed are so much fewer than Vietnam (partially due to high rate of multiple tours for the majority of soldiers), has allowed the unjust nature of continual world policing to give the moral watchmen among the American citizenry the old ‘slip.’ I grew up in church listening to the moral cases against homosexuality, abortion, and the decay of the family. I do not take part in organized religion anymore, partly because credibility is earned through consistency of message. If the moral and religious leaders in our country today want credibility with people who think for themselves, then it seems to me that consistency demands those leaders take to the pulpits of America’s churches and speak truth to power about the moral cost of war. I see much more consistency regarding the ideas of religious freedom, our Natural Rights of conscience and God-given Free Will, from Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul than any other candidate. The brand of faith espoused by Rick Santorum in his recent comments which were openly aggressive against libertarians and the philosophy of individual liberty reminds me of the religious fundamental radicalism which I saw so many people oppressed and enslaved by while I was serving in the Middle East.
“One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as a more libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world.”- Rick Santorum
This brand of religious intolerance was what I understood some of our American ancestors to be escaping when they left England and Europe for the New World. It was also the Right of each individual to choose for him/herself what religious or non-religious faith his/her conscience draws that person to believe which gave me such love for the Constitution and ultimately brought me to libertarianism to begin with. Rick Santorum doesn’t get it. If you believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible, then you must acknowledge the God-given Right of Free Will as preeminent to government. In fact, the Constitution is nothing if it is not a document which recognizes the Unalienable Rights of the Individual, and was written to restrain government from infringing on those Rights of We The People. Rick Santorum’s ideology reminds me more of the ideology of the real-life terrorists I went to fight in Afghanistan than the ideology of America’s Founding Fathers. America’s founders sought to protect the Rights of the people to be secure in their lives, liberty, and property. They also espoused a foreign policy of free commerce with all- and entanglements with none, as a guiding principle. Securing the Blessings of Liberty was to be the paramount function of government.
I doubt there are many who would argue that the American revolutionaries had it easy, or that they knew nothing of true sacrifice for their country. Indeed, these brave souls paid the price for us to have this Republic which the Founders admonished us to be vigilant to keep. It is time for the vigilant to speak. Freedom will not die on our watch. We know very little of what it was to struggle for American independence and liberty in a bitter and bloody revolution, but it is up to us to protect those liberties so costly won, from being erased by our present government leadership. The modern American soldiers and their families are paying hefty prices for their honorable service to the country we love. American taxpayers are paying dearly for a warfare/welfare and debt-drowning state run amok. American citizens are paying a hefty price for the growing powers of the police state robbing us of our civil liberties. It is time for us to have one of those moments in the sun such as Rome did on occasion, in which we roll back some of the size, scope, and powers of our government. It can and must be done… and in a spirit of peace and non-violence. It is the reason we not only want to vote for Ron Paul, it is the reason we must vote for Ron Paul for President in 2012.
THIS IS A PORTION OF AN EXCHANGE I TRANSCRIBED FROM CAVUTO TODAY WITH MIKE HUCKABEE IN REGARDS TO HIS FORMERLY RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND THOUGHTS ON THE SANTORUM CAMPAIGN:
Neil Cavuto: “There must be a great temptation.”
Mike Huckabee: “There really never was for me. And, I think every candidate has to grapple with this………. That’s exactly why I lost. But you know what? I’d rather lose and keep my own soul than to lose my soul and gain the world. And being President is sort of like gaining the world.”
Cavuto: “See, I would have rather gained the world.”
Huckabee: “But, what’s the point of it? If you can’t look in the mirror and believe…..”
Cavuto: “To get to the White House. You get to the White House.”
Huckabee: “But on what terms? And if you get there in some way that you have to be dishonest to your own heart, then just remember that whatever you used to get there is what you’ll have to continue to use to stay there. And, it’s just not worth it. When it gets down to it, it’s easier to walk away from a job you want than it is to walk away from your own integrity and character.”
I think Mike Huckabee just unwittingly made the case for why Ron Paul supporters will not compromise for the generic candidates in the rest of the Republican field. It’s about conscience, and we reserve that Right.
Adam G. House, U.S. Army, served with the famed 2/503rd Infantry Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, including a deployment to the infamous Konar Province of Afghanistan.