In today’s Washington Post, conservative icon George Will has come down on the side of immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is huge. This is a sea change in American conservative thought.
This man is a pillar of American conservativism. He is the William F. Buckley of the 21st Century. He gave nearly unqualified support to the Bushites in their first administration and in their second administration he kept politely quiet for the most part. This is a radical evolutionary event in the mind of the American conservative. Read this article. It is literally an historic day in America today. This is a very big deal. The Earth may very well move off its axis this afternoon.
If American conservatives cannot support these western Asian wars, this country has evolved a lot more quickly and has come a lot farther than I would have thought possible last December. I doubt that this has anything to do with Democrats in power. Politial thought just does not work that way. People take a very long look before they switch philosophical horses in the middle of a river. No, this may very well be something deeper, something much more significant in the evolution of American conservatism.
American conservatism appears to have found its soul again.
That is extremely important because Americans are basically a conservative people with a deep strain of an ultra-Calvinist and Manifest Destiny group belief system that rears its head time and time again throughout our history. We see it as our solemn duty to drag the rest of the world into our corner of a world view, even if they must be dragged kicking and screaming. From our point of view, a forced baptism at the point of a gun into the fellowship of American style capitalism is better than no baptism at all.
We truly believe that we are God’s chosen people in a Puritanical vein. We believe that we are here on this Earth to show the rest of the world how to live in a democratic society. We believe that our form of capitalism is pre-eminent and that the others need to bend to our will. We really, honestly and completely are convinced that we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave." There is simply no doubt in our minds about that.
This utter trust in our own messianic, economic mission to the world is what drives us into these overseas debacles time and time again. It is what makes us so strong. It is also what makes us so naive, so easy to manipulate and so incredibly transparent to our enemies. We wear our national heart on our national sleeves. Ultimately we are as sophisticated as a five year old. And the rest of the world uses that realization against us.
If you understand that we are all about "mission" you can lead us around by the nose. We are like an open book that anyone can read if they take the five minutes it requires to understand our motivations. We absolutely, utterly and completely believe that the drive to "make a buck" will bind the world together in one, big, happy capitalist bazar. We are all about making the international marketplace into our preconceived image of bigger and better and newer. Because we utterly believe that in the end, this shared economic vision will bring all of us peace.
In the end, the entire Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan debacle is our attempting to move our economic influence into a region of the world that sees us as highly educated and completely clueless buffoons.
In my opinion, this is why the military industrial complex has had such an easy job of seducing us into believing that what is good for the armaments and defense industries is good for America. It has taken our natural inclination to see ourselves as crusaders for Western style capitalism and turned that natural desire to bring the benefits of Western capitalism to the world against us. It has used our willingness to be missionaries for "the American way of life" and raped us with our own cosmological genitals. To state this simply brother and sister veterans, we did this to ourselves.
As far as I can tell, George Will is finally beginning to see this. There is hope for us yet.
This is a great day for America.
CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)