The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 9, 2013

Bill Jones | Stop being world’s policeman and tend to home front

— In 1945, we ended a “War to End All Wars” for the second time in just over a quarter-century, and since then there hasn’t been a time without war someplace.

About the same time that World War II ended, we formed the United Nations as a mighty peacekeeping organization. So far, there hasn’t been any peace to keep, and the U.N. as been a means for instigating more war, an excuse for the United States and other nations to put troops in the field and exploit our weaponry.

In his Feb. 27 column in The Tribune-Democrat, retired Pitt-Johnstown professor Jim Scofield wrote that “it’s dangerous for a democracy to always be at war,” and noted that “Republicans and Democrats fear to challenge our wars, believing that war support is their only popular, politically sustainable position.”

It hasn’t been often that I have agreed with Scofield’s writtings, because we look at things from entirely different angles. To toss labels around, I would say Scofield is a staunch liberal and I am just as strong a conservative. I respect what he writes even if I disagree.

But this time, he hit the nail on the head, and he did it convincingly. The United States has become a war-mongering nation, always looking for a flight and jumping in where we often have no business.

We haven’t been doing all that well, either, for being perhaps the most powerful nation on earth. We fought to a draw in Korea, technically lost in Vietnam, got creamed in Somalia, came out a little ahead in Bosnia and left the job unfinished in Kuwait so we had an excuse to go back in and spend more lives whipping Iraq, and are fighting a nonwinnable war in Afghanistan.

We keep hearing promises to bring the troops home, but they are still slugging it out with an enemy that has never been defeated, and most likely never will be.

Forget the political tripe about bringing them back in a year or so, and start flying them home now.

We have no business fighting the Taliban, which is no threat to the United States, and a war that cannot be justified by the U.S. Constitution’s requirement to “provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

There is nothing in the Constitution that empowers us to provide for the defense of other nations, and certainly nothing that authorizes us to engage in “nation building.”

There also is nothing that gives Congress authority to impose taxes for the use of other countries.

“The Iraq war, launched with our 2003 invasion, is the most illegitimate,” Scofield correctly wrote.

“It had nothing to do with terrorism, Iraq had no nuclear weapons and was not a threat to the United States. Yet the Bush administration claimed all those reasons for war, and both parties and our press colluded with those dishonest rationales.”

I well remember the clamor about Iraq supposedly having “weapons of mass destruction” and we had to do something about it.

Either we the people were being blatantly lied to, or the U.S. intelligence community was worse than useless. Either answer should be alarming.

This is not to criticize our men and women in uniform. They are above reproach, putting their lives on the line for their country. May God richly bless and protect them, and may our government quickly bring them home to their families.

Scofield also noted that “now we are poising a parallel threat to attack Iran, claiming the same excuse, that it might produce a nuclear weapon.”

Even if that should happen, and I hope it doesn’t, I agree with Scofield that we have no right to attack it. It is time for the United States to worry about its own problems and stop trying to dictate to the rest of the world.

People who have been reading my columns for years may be surprised at this column, because I have always been considered a hawk rather than a dove. I still support our military and believe it should be kept strong to deter any threat of aggression against us. I do not believe we should be constantly fighting wars that are none of our business.

Our government has been very adept at getting U.N. edicts as excuses for going to war. Our country, and perhaps others, would be better off if we got out of the United Nations, and got the United Nations out of our country.

And please, President Obama, and anyone else with the powers to do so, please, please bring our troops home, now.

Bill Jones is a retired senior writer for The Tribune-Democrat.

 

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