Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Pre-emption of Peace


While Mr. Karr hits makeup for his grand tour of the morning shows, the obligatory book tour, and perhaps an advertising deal with Moet, there is other news besides his exoneration (I can't wait to see the headline of the Post tomorrow: "DNA Talks, Creep Walks") and the anniversary of Katrina.

The carnage in Iraq continues apace, for both the American army and the native population. The daily toll of death and suffering is here. The cause of it all is still here; and Terry McKenna is back to discuss the corrupt ideology that still goes under the name of policy.


Pre-emptive (or preventive) war* is not new, but started during the cold war with war plans for a “first strike” against the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons facilities (presumably, they had the same war plans against us). Fortunately neither side took action, still a nuclear first strike remained part of our war plans throughout the cold war - see this article from PBS.

Outside of the nuclear arena, the US relied on pre-emption by subversion. Direct subversion occurred in places like Iran and Guatemala – in other areas, we armed and trained elements within the local military – most notably in Latin America. For information about the infamous School of the Americas (a training ground for right wing oppression), look here and here.

The legacy of pre-emption is clear: we are better off for having avoided nuclear pre-emption against the Soviet Union. And we are worse off for our numerous pre-emptions in the third world.

Still, the dream of pre-emption lives on. In the last presidential election, John Kerry tried to articulate his concerns about unilateralism and pre-emption but the right wing sound byte machine smothered him. The right wing counter argument is:

a) that we always have the right to defend ourselves; and
b) do we really want to leave the defense of the US up to the international community? (Read: those sissies at the UN? Or the hated French).

Of course, the real world is never so simple as the imaginary world of test cases. We never know the consequences of history until we act. And once we act, we can’t take anything back.

If history could speak to us, it would suggest endless caution.


—T. McKenna

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* Some writers make a distinction – that pre-emptive war concerns an immediate threat (like the threat posed to Israel before the 1967 war); while preventive war deals with a remote threat – such as that posed by Iraq in 2003. This article makes no distinction between the two.

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Site Note: For those of you who pay attention to the rotating quotes in the banner above, we're adding a wrinkle to it. The quote has no citation: it's up to you to guess who the speaker or writer is/was, and give any other information you might have on the selection. This week's is a doozy, and the answer will appear Friday. Post your guesses into the Comments.

1 comment:

Miss Bitty said...

The quote is JK Rowling from The Half-Blood Prince. I have it saved in my "Nuggets" file, where I keep quotes that inspire me, make me laugh, etc.