The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Should we have a “war on terror”?

with one comment

Candidate John Edwards offers a thoughtful foreign policy speech, including:

The war on terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe.
It’s a bumper sticker, not a plan.

Hmm. Think of what we expect when a crisis becomes a war. In war, bombs are dropped. Armies invade. Civil rights are limited. Calling it a war means “it’s now a military campaign.”

But if it’s a crisis without the war label, military action remains the last resort. Diplomacy—through a host of channels—takes the lead. Aren’t we hearing from every expert and commission that diplomacy is exactly what we’ve lacked? Edwards again:

… The so-called “war” has created even more terrorism–as we have seen so tragically in Iraq. The State Department itself recently released a study showing that worldwide terrorism has increased 25% in 2006, including a 40% surge in civilian fatalities. …

The “war” metaphor has … failed because it exaggerates the role of only one instrument of American power–the military. …

Ian Welsh, at Alternet, describes Edwards’ foreign policy speech like this:

Edwards’ speech is perhaps the best I’ve read in foreign policy terms this electoral season … it seeks to make the military just one tool for foreign affairs; it urges America to live up to her own ideals …

… instead of talking about a great crusade, he remembers a man named Marshall – the man who created the Marshall plan and helped rebuild Europe, ensuring that America both had strong allies and good friends. The US, after World War II, was truly mighty, with over half the entire world’s industrial production. It didn’t have to be generous; it didn’t have to be kind – but it was, and in so doing it sowed the seeds for 50 years of American security and prosperity.

Edwards point is not that the swords should be beat into plowshares, or that a military isn’t needed. … His point, rather, is that the military is only one part of America’s power, and that it is not suitable for all tasks.

That seems like sober leadership to me. There’s much more at the article here, or the speech itself, here.

Tags: , , , , , , Monte Asbury


Written by Monte

June 4, 2007 at 11:37 am

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

One Response

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  1. Well said Monte. It is some consolation that at least one of the “dems top three” is speaking out in this way. Alas, the rest of his party now holding elected office are taking ACTIONS that prove the dems are in cahoots with the repubs on continuing this war.

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer


    June 4, 2007 at 2:16 pm

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