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Iraq and Ideology ^ | June 29, 2014 | Jack Kerwick

Posted on 06/29/2014 1:50:13 PM PDT by Kaslin

That the vast majority of Republicans remain as committed as ever to a strong American military presence in Iraq has everything to do with the neoconservative ideology that dominates their party.

Unlike traditional conservatives, neoconservatives subordinate the contingencies of history and culture to such abstract universal “principles” as “human rights” and/or “Liberty”—principles in which they locate America’s unique, supra-historical origins. The latter, in turn, endows America with it special, indeed, messianic, mission to protect “Liberty”—to promote what neoconservatives call, “liberal democracy”—for peoples everywhere.

It is this ideological creed of theirs that accounts for why neoconservatives have always favored an American presence in Iraq.

And it is this creed that explains why neoconservatives favor the presence of the American military, not just in those places where “liberal democracy” is absent; but even in those places—like Japan, Germany, and South Korea—where it has been present for decades but is, presumably, insufficiently stable and in dire need of American soldiers to prop it up.

Let’s see how this ideology plays out in the current discussion over the disaster that is Iraq.

When President Obama declared that the war in Iraq was “over” in 2011, his neoconservative critics blasted him. Obama, being as much of an ideologue as anyone, had his own reasons for making this declaration: it was a pretext that gave him cover for making the politically advantageous decision to begin withdrawing American soldiers. Neoconservatives opposed Obama’s call, contending that there wasn’t any basis for his claim.

But now, it is they who insist that the war really was over, even if neoconservatives instead choose to speak of the war as having been “won” prior to the troop withdrawal. This semantics trickery, though, is unconvincing, for if victory had been achieved in Iraq, as we are now being told, then Obama was correct and the war was over.

However, if the war in Iraq had been won, then what would be the point in continuing to deploy more American lives and treasure to that region? To this, the neoconservative can respond easily enough: We remain in Iraq for the same reason that we’ve remained in Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc.: To insure that our victory is not lost.

Let’s us now spell out the implications of the neoconservative ideology.

First, the neoconservative is theoretically committed to expending American resources in blood, time, and treasure all around the globe and until the end of time. The belief that America exists for the sake of promoting and defending, not the liberties of Americans, but the abstraction of “Liberty,” the “Liberty” of Earthlings, necessarily leads to this conclusion.

Secondly, though he routinely rails against “Big Government,” the neoconservative is just as much a friend to it as are his enemies to his left. In fact, it is arguable that neoconservatives are actually more wedded to Big Government. The neoconservative vision, after all, requires an American military possessed of potentially limitless power. The military is government, and big military is Big Government.

Indeed, without the military, the (national) government would be but the proverbial paper tiger.

Thirdly, insofar as neoconservatives believe that “America” ought to fight for “Liberty” wherever around the globe it happens to be threatened, they believe that the American taxpayer—you and I—have a duty to work extra hours, to part with our hard earned dollars, to say nothing of parting with the lives of our sons and daughters, to defend the “Liberty” of non-Americans throughout the Earth.

The American citizen, the neoconservative would have us think, exists to sacrifice life, limb, and treasure for the citizens of the world.

But it’s critical to grasp that neoconservatives aren’t just telling Americans that this is what they ought to do.

Since the mission to fight for “Liberty” is a government enterprise that, like all other government exploits, is subsidized by citizens, neoconservatives are saying that this is what Americans must be compelled to do.

Finally, as long as “victory” requires a perpetual American military presence in the lands of those who the United States “defeated,” then there is no victory. Think about it: Suppose someone razes your old house and builds you a new one in its stead. Would you consider the job completed, a success, if the only way to keep your new house from collapsing is for the builder or his team of construction workers to move in with you and indefinitely prop it up? And wouldn’t it be that much more horrible of a deal if you knew that you would have to continue to pay them to live in and sustain your home?

This is the neoconservative ideology that underwrote the war in Iraq.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs

1 posted on 06/29/2014 1:50:13 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

And wouldn’t it be that much more horrible of a deal if you knew that they would have to continue to pay you to live in and sustain your home?

There Jack, now it makes sense.

2 posted on 06/29/2014 1:54:05 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Kaslin

There is no such thing as an “Iraqi”...there are Shia, Sunni, Kurds, and Persians - all with different goals and all with different wants...each majority has within it separation and division - there is no unity among any of them as a nation nor a tribe. This is why democratic freedoms will never work - each wants what other has and disdains others for having more and justifies murder and violence to attempt to make the situation even - but doe snot realize his neighborhoods harbor the same emotional vengeance...until Islam and the tribe mentality are left - there will be no peace in this area or the areas that Moslems occupy.

3 posted on 06/29/2014 1:56:31 PM PDT by BCW (Amazon: "Babylon's Covert War" - the Iraq conflict explained in detail)
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To: Kaslin

Kerwick’s silly contempt for neo-conservatives has blinded him to the fact that having a large military has everything to do with containing China’s and Russia’s unslaked territorial ambitions, as well as making sure that an al Qaeda state does not emerge in the Middle East and no strongman, Sunni or Shiite, emerges to unify the oil holdings of the region into a single empire. Al Qaeda’s no paper tiger - where Hezbollah kept its attacks focused on American targets in the Mid East, al Qaeda killed 3000 people on American soil. Kerwick’s essay is so nonsensical, it’s not even wrong.

4 posted on 06/29/2014 2:14:32 PM PDT by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: Kaslin

Why don’t Hillary and Obama want us to go back into Libya? They screwed it up. Don’t they love the Libyan people anymore? Or is it that they don’t want any attention on what they did in Libya?

The Democrats need to dump Obama and cut their losses. He’s killing the Democrat Party.

5 posted on 06/29/2014 2:18:07 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Kaslin

What about those of us that see things as part of a global military strategy, like Reagan, and know that Rand Paul and Obama don’t, and are bringing war to America because of their inability to see things in a strategic way?

They look at what they want to do today, rather than what it means 10 or 30 years down the road, they wish and hope, rather than plan and lead and construct and influence the shape of the future.

6 posted on 06/29/2014 2:18:59 PM PDT by ansel12 (( Rand Paul---What a tragedy if America wouldn't have gotten to see Barack Obama as a leader.)
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To: Kaslin
That the vast majority of Republicans remain as committed as ever to a strong American military presence in Iraq

Does somebody have a reference that would show this is a fact, not just an assertion.

7 posted on 06/29/2014 2:27:39 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: Kaslin; All
This is a very cogent critique of what is the ostensible basis for the Neo-Con world view. There is, I believe another rationale for certain Neocons and simply those who see themselves as adherents to revisionist realist world view. I say revisionist realist because the original ‘realist’ critics of US post World War 2 foreign policy embedded in the writings of both Hans Morganthau and George Kennan was so obsessed with the negative impacts of an active US foreign policy and dismissive of the force of supra rational belief systems such as either Stalinism or Marxist-Leninism that they rejected any necessity for a protracted and large scale militarized response to such challenges. The revisionist realist approach which certain neocons adhere to but do not acknowledge is rooted in the belief that powerful US military forces must be deployed globally to control key strategic regions (the Persian Gulf for instance) where no stable and mature national entity exists or where powerful and for the US malevolent supra-rational forces are at work. It also posits the necessity to link the US militarily with various states such as Germany, Japan and Israel that have potential or actual adversaries that are the same as the US and that have military competency and strategic location making them near permanent desirable partners in controlling and containing what amount to near permanent enemy states. The goal of these expensive and demanding activities is to fight wars over the horizon from the American homeland and make such conflicts existential for the enemy but not the US. In that sense this philosophy is guided by regarding the safety of the American homeland as the bedrock upon which all foreign and military policy is based.

Such a philosophy cannot be publicly acknowledged but it does exist within the Neocon. movement. Robert Kagan is the most public in addressing these views and his book ‘America In Danger’ comes about as close as anyone will to being explicit in stating this view. The first 40% uses the ‘wasted opportunity’ Great Britain had after 1918 to put in place the strategic architecture backed up with powerful technologically progressive military forces to create a global security regime that would have profited Britain materially and the given world as a whole a chance to have a generally peaceful environment to operate in. These views the idea of doing what ever has to be done to break the will of the enemy once hostilities of any sort begin and favors using overwhelming force followed by conciliation of the survivors. Unfortunately such tough minded attitudes are at variance with the PR oriented mentality of the current foreign policy establishment.

8 posted on 06/29/2014 2:31:38 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: Kaslin

So the thriving republics in Germany and Japan are not victories? What, then, are they? Just curious.

9 posted on 06/29/2014 2:37:01 PM PDT by AmericanVictory (Should we be more like them or they more like we used to be?)
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To: Kaslin

He has an ax to grind and he is doing it.

The Bush administration had a plan for a Standing Forces Agreement of 20k men to remain in support and advisory positions as we left combat operations Obama wanted none so he told the military to give him an alternate number. They did — it was 10k and he responded with about 3500 and said that he would not even leave that unless a full Parliament approved the SFO as a full act of the Government, something we don’t ask for in many cases.

Irag decided he was bailing and ignored him.

Conservatives in general, have no control how a Democrat Admin disengages — the opinions are all over the park. We want to see the country not become a puppet and than option has been lost by Obama. It will now be a seat of Islamic terror funded by bank money stolen and oil resources captured. The rest is dithering about who “dissed” who in each party.

The key is Obama and Hillary bailed on the SFO — end of story.

10 posted on 06/29/2014 2:37:06 PM PDT by KC Burke (Gowdy for Supreme Court)
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To: Kaslin

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

John F. Kennedy, neo-conservative

11 posted on 06/29/2014 3:32:59 PM PDT by VinceASA
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To: Kaslin
Would you consider the job completed, a success, if the only way to keep your new house from collapsing is for the builder or his team of construction workers to move in with you and indefinitely prop it up?

Poor analogy; once you build a house the only way to keep it from collapsing is through continuous maintenance. In any case, contractors don't live at the job cite during construction or maintenance.

12 posted on 06/29/2014 3:41:15 PM PDT by eclecticEel ("The petty man forsakes what lies within his power and longs for what lies with Heaven." - Xunzi)
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To: Kaslin

Thanks for posting Kaslin.

Great stuff as always.

I have believed since 911 that the practical vigilance necessary to keep us safe would not be maintained.

The problem is bipartisan. This Townhall article well illustrates the “faux” conservative case more adamantly articulated by Rand Paul.

Proto Marxists like Moore and the libertarian right agree that American aggression is the “root cause.”— which is utter nonsense.

Evil as a Judeo-Christian construct does not exist. In fact, it is the belief in such notions that ‘cause evil.’

I knew the withdrawal clock was ticking the moment we invaded Afghanistan and the anti American war crowd was especially enraged at the invasion of Iraq.

It should be clear that withdrawal and isolation fails— which these anti American warriors are now trying to rationalize. This essay is a great example of that.

It is completely sad and tragic but the nation must wait to be hit again— perhaps harder than 911.

The outrageous fiction that the world has the same technological equipment as 1776 keeps up a lot of the ‘leave them alone they will leave you alone’ mythology.

Baghdadi has promised to re-visit New York as soon as reasonably possible.

The strange thing to my mind is that we have probably never been as well sourced as today to fight, contain and diminish this problem.

When Jefferson wanted to attack the Barbary [’muslim] pirates for kidnapping our sailors, he had to first build the US marines. We were spending one million out of seven million from our annual USFG budget just on ransoms.

After more than a decade of multiple presidents confronting the radical Islam problem, we opted for regime change lead by Americans and moderate muslims in Libya.

American arrogance is not the cause of terrorism. The pride of men and the power of sin combine to make grand designs on evil possible. We must continually fight against it. And yes, this means military force.

We have air craft, drones, tomahawks, satellites, precision munitions and so many specialized tools for stopping these radical clowns but the anti-warriors dominate the intellectual scene.

Hopefully courage will one day return. I wish our own citizens here at home did not have to die here at home.

Apparently that is required to throw off periodic bouts of isolationism.

13 posted on 06/29/2014 3:52:40 PM PDT by lonestar67 (I remember when unemployment was 4.7 percent / Cruz 2016)
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To: Zhang Fei
having a large military has everything to do with containing China’s....unslaked territorial ambitions.

Then why did we move most of our manufacturing and heavy industry over there not to mention military technology, icluding ICMB missle technology, and entire military aircraft factories?

as well as making sure that an al Qaeda state does not emerge in the Middle East

Then I guess Uncle Scam shouldn't have been arming Al Qaeda the past few years to overthrow Syria cause they just announced their new state today.

14 posted on 06/29/2014 4:20:38 PM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: Zhang Fei
Kerwick’s silly contempt for neo-conservatives has...

I've never witnessed a term, neo-conservative, that makes otherwise intelligent people go bat-crap crazy.

Jesus Christ: You can’t impeach Him and He ain’t going to resign.

15 posted on 06/29/2014 4:45:53 PM PDT by rdb3 (Get out the putter, this one's on the green.)
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