web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

‘Tired of War’

There can be little doubt that the train of thought Secretary Kerry expressed is part of the unfortunate zeitgeist.

John Kerry is back in town,

John Kerry is back in town,

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

What does it mean for a nation to be “tired of war”? Those were the words that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used the in a major statement on Syria a fortnight ago and they were reiterated this week by President Barack Obama.

“Now, we know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war,” Secretary Kerry said. He added, “Believe me, I am too.” These are odd words to use in front of the international media., especially when you know that not only your allies and friends but all your foes — including your most intransigent ones — will be watching. What does it signal when the world’s sole superpower expresses itself in such terms?

There can be little doubt that the train of thought Secretary Kerry expressed is part of the unfortunate zeitgeist. Everywhere in the West there is a sense that the last decade has been wearying. This may not matter all that much if you happen to be an exhausted Belgian or Swede: terrible for you, no doubt, but unlikely to have any wider consequence. What is concerning is when the only country in the world that really matters begins to feel and express itself in such a way.

Countless historians and analysts of all political inclinations have pointed out that the sole superpower is going through something like the syndrome it went through after the war in Vietnam. There is something in this. But for all the similarities people can point to between post-Vietnam syndrome and post-Iraq/Afghanistan syndrome, the differences cry out to be considered.

Firstly this: that during the war in Vietnam, America lost almost 60,000 of her service personnel. During the decade of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, US troop casualties came to almost a tenth of that figure. What is even more striking is that during the Vietnam war the US army was a conscript army, drawn from across the country, classes and professions, whereas Iraq and Afghanistan were operations carried out solely by a professional, volunteer army.

This is a vast difference. A conscript army by definition affects every community, family and household in a country. Whereas volunteer armies tend to be dominated by people from particular areas, backgrounds and levels of income. So when somebody after the Vietnam conflict said they were “tired of war,” they could easily have been speaking with real experience — as Secretary Kerry, a veteran of the conflict, might have done. Most households were affected in some way.

But when someone today says he is “tired of war,” let alone when a whole society says it is ‘tired of war,” what many — if not most — of these people mean is that they are fed of up reading about it every day. Or fed up with all that war stuff clogging up their television schedules.

A study done in the UK several years ago revealed an all-time low in the number of people in Britain who actually know anybody involved in the armed forces. The figure was almost in single digits. In other words, in vast expanses of the country there is nobody who knows anybody in the armed forces. I strongly suspect that the same findings could today be discovered in the U.S. Vast swathes of people, on the coasts and elsewhere, will be able to get through an average year while having no contact whatsoever with anybody actually serving their nation abroad.

Under such conditions there is something profoundly decadent about any such country, or its leadership, saying seriously that they are “tired” of war. Yet these were exactly the terms in which the U.S. sought to address to the nation over the question of involvement in Syria on the eve of this year’s anniversary of 9/11: President Obama acknowledged that the nation was “sick and tired of war.” He quoted this phrase, and another from someone writing to him who said that the nation was “still recovering from our involvement in Iraq.”

Yet it wasn’t all downbeat. The President tried to rally the nation by saying that “the burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.” He then stressed that the nation was not, in fact, going to have to bear them. If he were inclined at any point to do something about Syria, it would be something “small,” as Secretary Kerry also put it. No boots on the ground. No heavier involvement. Yet somehow not “pinpricks” either.

All of which is unlikely to make Assad tremble. But it hardly matters whether Assad trembles. What matters is what the other players in the region and the wider world make of all this. What matters is what Russia, China, and — most pertinently — Iran, will make of it. Iran has managed to keep off the front pages of world attention lately by the happy congruence of two circumstances: the election of a pseudo-moderate president, and the ongoing international dithering about what, if anything, to do about Syria. As it happens, Iran has already dipped its leg into the water of Syria by sending its proxy armies into the country. From their point of view, the reception could hardly have been more pleasing: they have managed to act without consequences.

There are many questions over what to do in Syria, and many questions over what is, or is not, effective to do. That debate should go on. But what should not go on is a period of intense naval-gazing by the Western powers. After all, what better time is there to develop an even more voracious appetite than the very moment when the only people likely to stand up to you are too busily engaged in self-pity to notice your whirring centrifuges?

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

7 Responses to “‘Tired of War’”

  1. Samuel Ramos says:

    War is a fundamental aspect of the Human Race.

  2. Samuel Ramos says:

    War is a fundamental aspect of the Human Race.

  3. Iris Frances Zaft says:

    Schmoo

  4. The cowardly John Kerry has always been tired of war…terrified or war actually. He and POTUS Obama are the perfect couple…disgraceful!

  5. rmbuchanan07 says:

    Trust me when I say kerry was not our pick and neither was obama. Notice I spelled them with small letters, which is how  a lot of us see them, SMALL, we used to be a great nation, helping others, but leadership can bring you down with decisions that we certainly do not agree with. Yes, I would say most are tired of war, but its because war kills  people good  and bad. Sometimes war is necessary to protect the innocent. I’m a 73 yr. old woman, but I would fight to protect someone who was being mistreated. But extreme Islamist do not just mistreat, they kill their own people who do not agree with them and consider Jews and Christians as infidels. Outsiders are given a choice, convert to Islam or die. GOD WILL PREVAIL.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party.
Lapid Won’t Let Defense Demands Turn Into ‘Turkish Bazaar’
Latest Indepth Stories
Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

syria_stratfo

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Phyllis Chesler

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

More Articles from Douglas Murray
NYPD officers blindfolded by new regulations.

They seek to be color-blind, and religion-blind. But in being so, they are also terror-blind.

Abdul Waheed Majeed (left), of Crawley, England, poses for photographs moments before driving a truck-bomb into a prison in Aleppo, Syria.

If we cannot see what is happening, it seems likely that we simply do not want it to be happening. But apparently not enough to try to stop it from happening.

Larger and larger swaths of people in the West keep coming back with the wrong opinion.

It was down to the press to expose the problem on behalf of everyone else.

There can be little doubt that the train of thought Secretary Kerry expressed is part of the unfortunate zeitgeist.

“The occupation of Palestine and Jerusalem is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed,” says Iran’s new “moderate” President, and the centrifuges keep spinning.

This latest decision tells us nothing about Israel or the West Bank. But it tells us what we need to know about the EU.

Disarmed despots are soon-to-be-dead despots. It is a lesson the North Koreans have taken on board with understandable eagerness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/tired-of-war/2013/09/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: