Only with the presidency of Ronald Reagan did a Lucas-like reconstitution of the war story truly begin at the governmental level. The new president defined the Soviet Union in Star Wars-like terms as an ‘evil empire,’ while the Army began advertising for recruits on TV by displaying spacy weaponry and extolling the pleasures of being ‘out there’ in search of ‘the bad guys.’ In Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, the Reagan administration managed to portray the forces it supported as outnumbered ‘freedom fighters’ struggling to roll back an overwhelming tide of imperial evil. This time, we would do the hitting and running, and yet we — or our surrogates — would retain the high-tech weaponry: mines for their harbors and Stinger missiles for their helicopters.
Meanwhile, planners discovered in an intervention in Grenada that, with the right media controls in place and speed, you could produce the equivalent of an outer space war fantasy here on Earth. No wonder that a group of junior officers at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth responsible for aspects of the ground campaign used against Iraq in 1991 would be nicknamed the Jedi Knights."
So in a matter of two or three years, about 150,000 people were killed in a war that was being waged primarily by US-backed war criminals. Less than half that many have been killed in the same amount of time in Syria.
Why weren’t war hawks in Washington calling for the US to militarily intervene to unseat the Guatemalan regime in 1983? Better yet, why wasn’t anybody blaming the Reagan administration for paling around with blood-soaked dictators of exactly the type McCain, Boot, and Diehl now accuse Assad of being? Or better still, why isn’t anyone calling for accountability for the still-living Reagan administration policymakers, say Elliot Abrams, who insisted on maintaining US support for people like Rios Montt?
It’s hard to come to any other conclusion: interventionists in Washington who couch their arguments for military action in humanitarian terms are simply not using human suffering and death counts as a criteria for US intervention. Instead, they conveniently exploit instances of conflict and human suffering when it occurs in countries that they’ve long desired to intervene in anyways."
President Obama on Tuesday forcefully rebuked Republicans on the presidential campaign trail and in Congress for “beating the drums of war” in criticizing his efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, underscoring how squarely the national security issue had entered the election-year debate.
Mr. Obama’s comments, in which he suggested without naming Iraq that the United States had only recently gone to war “wrapped up in politics,” came in a televised news conference. The White House scheduled it on a day when leading Republicans were addressing an influential pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac, at its annual conference.
There, the two leading Republican presidential candidates, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, assailed Mr. Obama’s foreign policy as ineffective and weak in their appeals to the group. The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, called for Congress to authorize the use of force against Iran.
The president was withering in his retort. “Those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re not commander in chief. When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war” — for those who go into combat, for national security and for the economy. “This is not a game,” he added. “And there’s nothing casual about it.”
“If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so, and they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be,” he said."