How many liberals give a damn that Obama has returned US troops to Iraq and committed our presence in Afghanistan beyond the end of his term, despite his earlier pledge to withdraw troops by this year? Does anyone remember that he was granted the Nobel Peace Prize at the start of his presidency because of all the promises he made to bring about world peace? The casualness with which we are letting ourselves get sucked in to those quagmires again is truly astonishing, but I’m seeing very little outcry from most quarters. Most on the right, of course, have learned absolutely nothing from their foreign policy mistakes and are still in thrall to neoconservatives notions of nation-building and solving the world’s problems through military force, but given the bile that Democrats spewed against Bush junior, one might think they would exercise a little more skepticism about continuing our foreign interventions.
The truth, of course, is that with a liberal in the White House, the political incentive to oppose the military-industrial complex has vanished. In Libya and Syria, Obama has shown himself incapable of withstanding the pressures to get ever more deeply involved in other countries’ problems. Since the average American is not paying for the war directly in blood, he thinks it doesn’t concern him, making the political contest about domestic issues. But Americans are paying for these wars in our exploding debt that taxes our economy to death. I think the way in which American citizens are being taxed indirectly, rather than directly, goes a long way towards explaining why they can’t see that the solution is shrinking government, rolling back our foreign and domestic commitments and returning to principles of peace, free trade and the free market.