The Union’s state: A wounded soldier, a defeated America, and a depraved governing class

Last week’s State of the Union event exposed the best and worst in America. On a night when President Obama had nothing to say, save to promise despotism — for which our self-emasculated federal legislature gave him eighty-plus standing ovations — Obama, his party, and the Republicans saluted the remarkable service, survival, and nascent recovery of a young American soldier who was terribly wounded in America’s growing and now losing war with Islam.

Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg was rightfully honored by those attending Obama’s speech and — hopefully — by those watching at home. But it was a fleeting and vacuous scene, much like the glib and now ubiquitous practice of thanking of a veteran for his or her service. It was an act presented by politicians from both parties which was intended to distract all Americans from two clear facts: (a) that America has been defeated in two wars — Iraq and Afghanistan — in which all of the lives and limbs lost by its soldier-children were wasted, and (b) that those wasted lives and limbs were as much the result of the U.S. bipartisan governing elite’s no-need-to-win approach to waging war as they were the result of mujahideen bullets and IEDs.

It is time, I think, for Americans to face reality. Today, the United States is a bankrupt nation whose bipartisan leaders are such terminal, self-adoring, and power-hungry adolescents that they cannot stop spending and taxing. This fact of course — in the context of our defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq — leads to another; namely, that America is no longer a military power our enemies fear to reckon with. Strong finances are always among the most important sinews of war, and our foes know we are broke. Indeed, Osama bin Laden made America’s bankruptcy the Islamists’ number one war aim in 1996. He died a successful man.

The insurgent war al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups have waged against us since 1996 has paired nicely with Washington’s financial incompetence to make American military potential seem threatening only if you remember and remain afraid of the U.S. military of World War II. For our enemies, America’s current military is a laughingstock that twice has been soundly defeated by Islamists armed with rifles that were new in the Korean War and IEDs jerry-rigged from parts that include timers from Maytag laundry dryers. The Islamists are also rejoicing with Obama’s reaction to these self-imposed defeats. He is now cutting to pieces — budget-wise — a defeated and worn-out U.S. military so that the Democratic party can increase government handouts to future Democratic voters, preferably those who never intend to assimilate, work a day in their lives, or serve their country.

Having wrecked America’s finances, Democratic and Republican leaders also have made it known to our enemies — state and non-state actors alike — that U.S. presidents no longer care whether or not they win the wars they start, be it a necessary war, like Afghanistan, or unnecessary wars like Iraq and Libya. And this is precisely why I argue that Sgt. Remsburg’s wounds are as much the responsibility of Democrat and Republicans leaders as they are of Al-Qaeda and its allies.

Because commonsense and historical fluency are such rare commodities in contemporary America, let me rehearse a five timeless truths:

  • America should almost never go to war, not because of any womanish sense of pacifism or humanitarianism, but because genuine U.S. national interests are very few in number, and because wars are cripplingly expensive in terms of money spent, young lives lost, and our society’s political cohesion shredded. Wars of any kind also invariably open the door to the rapid growth of Executive-Branch tyranny; note the careers of George W. Bush and, especially, the boastfully despotic Barack Obama.
  • America must only go to war to protect genuine national interests. These are always life-or-death material interests — energy (thanks to Obama and his party), freedom of the seas, etc. — and not foolish, abstract goals like human rights, freedom, democracy, and women’s rights for foreigners. This absolutely excludes going to war for such pieces of madness as getting rid of Saddam, Asaad, or any other dictator because they brutalize their people; freeing Libya to make it safe for democracy; protecting the Israeli theocracy; or making sure Mrs. Muhammad can vote. Americans also should recall that no U.S. war is legal unless the Congress has voted on and passed a declaration of war. Any war fought without a formal declaration is clearly unconstitutional. The manner in which all U.S. presidents after Franklin Roosevelt have started and conducted America’s wars violates the Constitution, usurps the legislature’s power, and is an impeachable offense. It is behavior worthy of an absolute monarch, not a republican magistrate, and possible only because of the federal legislature’s ingrained cowardice.
  • Americans should recall what all their ancestors, from Plymouth Rock to the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri, knew as hard fact: Never, ever go to war if you do not intend to win. There is no more certain proof of man’s fallen nature and innate depravity than the decisions of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, and their senior advisers to send their fellow citizens’ children to be killed and maimed in wars which from the first day they did not intend to win. It would also be well for Americans to recognize the utter madness of General Colin Powell’s doctrine of “you broke it, you own it” in the post-Cold War world. If America goes to war only after being attacked, it is absolutely the right thing to do to destroy the enemy, come home as quickly as possible, and leave behind copious amounts of corpses and smoldering ruins as a pointed reminder of the dire cost that accompanies an attack on genuine U.S. national interests.
  • Americans also should recall their ancestors’ corollary to the just-made point: Wars always/always have a military solution. Wars are about fighting, and fighting is about killing, said the Confederacy’s best cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forest. If U.S. forces, in any war they fight, are allowed by our bipartisan governing elite to destroy enough enemy fighters, their civilian supporters, and their infrastructure and productive resources, the enemy will either surrender or disappear. Although wanting in many qualities — he was a Democrat after all — President Truman ended the Pacific War at a price the Japanese justly merited for attacking the United States and trying to make Asia and the Pacific a Tokyo-ruled, closed economic zone.
  • Americans should recall what ought to be clear: foreigners are not Americans. While not meriting — with a few exceptions — our trust, foreigners surely deserve our respect, help in natural disasters, fair dealing in business, and hands-off in their internal affairs as long as they do not attack us. If they do attack us, they have earned whatever lethal force is required to destroy them to the point where they stop fighting and are convinced that it would be insane to give war against America another go. Bottom line: In wartime Americans are never expendable but foreigners who are our enemies always are. After all, America would not be fighting them unless it was a matter of the nation’s life or death.

Recalling and then acting according to these truths, sadly, is not enough for Americans to protect their soldier-children from the useless deaths and maimings that Bush, Cheney, Lieberman, Obama, Biden, both Clintons, McCain, Graham, and many other Republicans and Democrats are obviously eager to send them off to suffer. There are two sets of domestic enemies to U.S. military personnel and our country’s survival that Americans will have to eliminate by the vote — for now.

  • First, Americans must recognize that in the task of defeating our enemies — those who attack us, whatever their motivation — U.S. civilian and military lawyers, law school professors, and most of the rest of the academy and the media are on the enemy’s side. They all accept the killing and crippling of U.S. military personnel as an acceptable price for abiding by the nonsense of what is called “Just War Theory.” Prior to 1945, this theory — which was founded in an era of manly Christianity — never demanded national suicide or giving the enemy an unopposed chance to kill our troops. But today the theory is applied as a means of protecting the enemy. American parents are forced to see their sons and daughters killed — or grievously wounded, as was Sgt. Remsburg — because the U.S. military’s rules-of-engagement require our service personnel to be targets instead of killers, and also require “proportionality” in war, which amounts to fighting on the enemies’ terms. Those who hawk the Just War Theory as its stands and those deluded, usually Ivy-League educated political leaders who apply it in the anti-American form into which academics, clerics, and lawyers have twisted it since 1945 are as much the foes of America — “enemy combatants,” if you will — as are the mujahideen.
  • Secondly, Americans need resolutely to use their votes to elect leaders who will stop intervening in overseas events that have nothing to with genuine U.S. national interests. Because of more than thirty years of Washington’s relentless and often mindless bipartisan interventionism, America is fighting what now amounts to a growing world war against Islamist militants and has only its military and intelligence services to defend the republic. Those services cannot win this war so long as our current political class continues to aid the enemy by deliberately losing wars and intervening politically, militarily, and culturally in the Muslim world. As the Islamist threat grows in size, lethality, cohesion, and geographic reach, our bipartisan leaders continue to intervene across the Islamic world and thereby provide the main motivation driving our Islamist foes to attack America. These politicians, for example, support a military coup against a fairly elected Islamist government in Egypt; they back a pervasive Saudi police state and call it America’s trusted ally, even as Riyadh exports a kind of Islam far more vicious than anything bin Laden and his ilk had in mind; and they accept bribery disguised as “campaign contributions” from those disloyal, Israel-First Americans who intend to lead the U.S. military into direct involvement in the wars Israel will soon fight and ultimately lose to the Islamists brought to its borders by the Arab Spring. At all times, there is only a short list of U.S. national interests for which the lives of our military personnel must be risked, but the support of an Egyptian tyranny, the appeasement of a Saudi police state, and perpetual enslavement to Israel’s interests are never on that list. An end to Washington’s interventionism would reduce the motivation of many of Islamists to attack us; shatter their growing cohesion; motivate them to turn more fully on their true enemies: the Arab tyrannies, Israel, and the Shia; and allow the U.S. military a much improved chance to kill those Islamists and their supporters still bent on attacking the United States.

So if Americans want to honestly and substantively honor Sgt. Remsburg — and all U.S. military and intelligence personnel — they must elect leaders who will not start unnecessary wars; who will win the very few necessary wars America must fight; who will not intervene in places and on issues that are none of America’s concern; and who will never forget that the United States is their country of first and only allegiance.

Conversely, Americans must stop electing Democrats and Republicans of the kind now found in Washington. To build their personal and party power, the current U.S. governing class as a whole will continue to ruin the country financially; expand the already near-monarchial powers of the Executive Branch; murder our young by engaging in wars they do not intend to win; intervene in other nations’ affairs, thereby stoking unprecedented hatred for America; and knowingly welcome into the United States the corruption and loss of American independence that results from their groveling devotion to the alien interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“No punishment, in my opinion,” the greatest American once wrote, “is too great for the man who can build his greatness upon his country’s ruin.”* Let us pray that that there is time for the above-named political leaders and their colleagues to be punished by the simple and decisive means of the ballot box. That said, their punishment in whatever decisive form that proves necessary in the years ahead is surely needed and merited if America is to survive.

*George Washington to Joseph Reed, 12 December 1778

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.