been thinking about Syria. And the decrease in government's power to
fight wars. I came of age during the Vietnam War, and I carried a draft
card. When the draft was abolished, it was very meaningful for me.
Recently, I believe it was Prime Minister Cameron who told the House of
Commons in London that President George W. Bush had poisoned the well
of government credibility with his lies about the Iraq War. Vietnam said no more mass infantry wars. Iraq said -- what? Maybe, we'll never believe you again. I'm not sure.
There's a longer historical progression here. If you go back to the
eighteenth century, the business of monarchs was war. Anybody remember
what Queen Anne's War was about? I don't, but I'm sure it involved
royal vanity, along with Kissingerian statecraft. (Actually, I just
looked it up. It was about who should be king of Spain.)
idea that governments should do things other than war -- say look after
the welfare of the people -- really got its start with the American
As I often do, I find myself feeling sorry for
President Obama. He wants to do the right thing. And here he is paying
for George W.'s sins.
But maybe, long-term, we're on a good arc. Maybe government has other tasks, beyond figuring out who has the biggest missile.