"I’ve been in the Army twenty-six years, and I can tell you it’s a con. War is absurd. Boys don’t know any better. But for a grown man to be trapped in stupid wars—it’s embarrassing, it’s humiliating, it’s absurd."
For all the dissimilarities, botched analogies, and tortured comparisons, there has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that, in recent years at least, Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals. Civilian suffering is, in fact, the defining characteristic of modern war in general, even if only rarely discussed in the halls of power or the mainstream media.
Also, in his retirement, this general runs his own Leadership Institute and Museum out of a Hobart, Oklahoma, storefront. And he would like to sell you some “high performing mother cows” from his ranch, online at 4StarRanch.net. So you know he’s good.
Romney supporter Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “What is it?…I think [Romney’s policy is] ‘listen to the commanders’ and if it’s that, that’s OK with me.”
Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “You would have to tell me what exactly you mean by ‘his policy.’ That’s a long discussion that I don’t want to get into.”
Carl Levin (D-Mich): “I sure don’t know what [Romney’s Afghanistan policy] is…From what I’ve read, I can’t fathom his position on Afghanistan any more than I can fathom his position on a whole bunch of other things.”
UPDATE 8: Friday, Jan. 13, 1 p.m. EST: Where do the GOP presidential hopefuls stand on the Marine video? There’s no way of knowing, because not one has released a statement on it, and no reporter has yet pressed them for an opinion.
The candidates have long attacked President Obama’s anti-terrorism and war strategies and made the case that they can keep America safer, but on this issue they’re eerily silent.
There are three more Republican debates between now and Tuesday, when voters in South Carolina select their preferred candidate; it remains to be seen whether the aspiring commanders-in-chief will address the Marines’ behavior, and its implications for US foreign policy and a culture of respect and dignity.