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A Conservative Case Against War

AntiWar.com commentary:

The fetishization of all things martial by the bulk of 21st-century conservatives is inescapable and worrisome. Whether it's rapturous warmongering in the pages of The Weekly Standard or embarrassing displays of machismo on the part of our president-cum-fighter pilot, the sentiment is difficult to evade, yet impossible to understand. It is a thoughtless and superficial obsession, and thoroughly unnatural, for militarism is at odds with everything for which the Right supposedly stands.

Until quite recently, conservatives - that is, people who support limited government, controlled spending, low taxes, individual liberty, rule of law, decentralization, restrained executive authority, and cautious foreign interaction - were skeptics of the military. They regarded it carefully and from a distance, knowing full well its shameful influence on past republics. There was, of course, full recognition of the importance of maintaining a force both dexterous and disciplined, but that reasonable concession was coupled with suspicion and vigilance.

There are very few of the great conservatives who would even recognize what passes for the Right these days. Hijacked by fundamentalist religion and always looking for someone to fight, they've betrayed every principle on which the political belief was founded.

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Comments (8)

Paul Hamilton:

Exactly, and this was a man who knew the horrors of war first hand. I often wonder how things would have been different if Bush had some advisors who had served during time of war.

Paul Hamilton:

(slaps head...) Other than Colin Powell, of course, whom he completely ignored.


Colin Powell, who almost single-handedly made this one necessary.

Paul Hamilton:

What did you mean by that, Kim?


philip, is, of course, free to his opinion. and he does have some points. however, men are not automatons. we do not all believe the same things in the same proportions.

i agree i principal with the precepts of conservatism that he lists. but i'm not a skeptic of our military. and i would say that i am less cautious about foreign interactions. they were fine in the days when travel and communications took days and weeks rather than hours and minutes.

in today's smaller world, you have to interact with the world, and you have to be prepared when the world interacts with you. i see no conflict between that and the other conservative principals. after all, these founders he mentioned also went to war against the barbary pirates. sometimes it's just necessary, no matter how much we don't want to.

oh, and i'm neither religious nor am i spoiling for a fight. yet i consider myself a proud conservative.


Paul, he didn't grab all that oil when he could have 15 years ago.

Paul Hamilton:

Powell followed his orders and fulfilled the mission he was given. I didn't know that "grabbing the oil" was one of our objectives.


Powell's advice up the chain of command was to not continue. You don't get the joke about oil. I'm sorry you have to be so literal.


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