Nuance in understanding US reasons

Robert Mandel takes off on a rant that is well worth reading. (Why We fought, Mandelinople 05ma15). He discusses the idea that the rationale for going to war often gets simplified and made more concrete after the fact based on some particular easily grasped phenomena. This goes to the heart of the “Bush Lied” mantra centering on a weapons threat, the Holocaust death camps, various other genocides, or even jihad.

The other lesson they must learn is that we do not fight wars to stop genocide. Though I would certainly agree that stopping them is a just and noble cause, we are not the 21st century Knights Templars. We fought WW2 for one reason, and one reason only:

for the defense of our civilization and for the building of a better civilization in the future.

We didn’t go to war in Europe because Hitler was gassing thousands of Jews daily. That the revisionsts today justify the war for that reason is deplorable, for it is many of the same who are apologizing for Stalin and Yalta. We went to war for the same reason we went a generation earlier:

The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.

Why this simplification might be worth consideration boils back to the issue of pride in one’s country and a proper understanding of its unique values and efforts. The role of secularism, hedonism, academic bias, Viet Nam, and others could be shoehorned into this topic as well.

Our students have been led to believe that they are entitled to whatever they want. If they’re unable, it’s unfair, it’s bias, it’s time for a lawsuit. A college degree is a guarantee of a high paying, low effort job, even if the degree is in recreational studies. (It’s not a joke) A cell phone and an iPod are endowments from the Creator, which the student has an unalienable right to in a classroom. No longer do students have to work a little harder. Just call for an IEP and get a specially tailored instructional program.

As in Vietnam, the US had high goals often cited as attempting to prevent the domino effect of communistic takeover. But greed, expressed as fear of the draft, and idealism separated from reality or intellectual integrity turned a victory based on ideals into a pragmatic and selfish defeat that was almost suicidal.

A contrast with ‘the other side’ illustrates that even this issue cannot be made binary. The US actions towards Japanese citizens at the start of WW II, the Japanese historical revisionism and difficulty in dealing with events such as the rape of Nanking, the German difficulties in reconciling their behavior in WW II with a healthy self view – behavior and motivation must be made to fit with a lesson learned and an identity based in reality and not fantasy.

Understanding the more abstract, such as how “make love not war” can be an oxymoron, is where progress can be made. Maybe war is a means to ‘make’ love.

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