As we hurtle into bankruptcy, that cackling you hear is Osama laughing at us from beyond the grave. Just as the Vietnam war drained American resources and led to an economic downturn, so America’s post-9/11 rampage through the Middle East similarly depleted our reserves, and on a much grander scale.
9/11 radically distorted our foreign policy, and handed it over to a cabal of neoconservative ideologues whose policies, however much they damaged America, are being faithfully carried out today under a Democratic administration. The war of conquest started in Iraq has been extended to Pakistan and taken on new forms in Libya: the "multilateralist" NATO operation is John McCain’s "concert of democracies" in action. No wonder the old warmonger is over there cheering them on and posing for the cameras.
The debate over Afghanistan – and our continued presence in Iraq, for that matter – is really about a larger issue: what kind of country are we? Are we a republic, where the power of government is constrained by a written Constitution, which fights only in self-defense — and only against those who initiate coercion? Or are we an empire, the guarantor of peace and order in the world, the final arbiter and global hegemon whose "responsibility" and "destiny" is to establish a New Rome?
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