The religious devotion to the military and nation-state – whether wrapped up in Christianity or secularism – explains why some people can never be trusted on the question of war. When Ann Coulter expresses skepticism toward Afghanistan, it is the function of a watered-down and vulgar America First sentiment. But America First is only a bulwark for peace when it’s radical, consistent and coupled with a concern for the dignity and humanity of foreign victims of the regime. If the only reason to oppose war is it’s a waste of American blood and money, there will be no stopping the next Republican president from unleashing even more death and destruction than did Bush, so long as it can be excused in the name of "national security." For Americans to embrace peace, they must accept the notion that foreigners have all the natural rights Americans do, and dropping bombs on them while they sit peacefully in their homes and neighborhoods is every bit as barbaric, monstrous and murderous as 9/11 or any other terrorist act. Most left-liberals are too poisoned by nationalism and love of government to fully admit this. But conservatives, in particular, are generally incapable of even wrapping their heads around the notion.
And so it is that half of the rightwing critique of Obama is completely off-base. The president is "handcuffing the military" or "dithering" on the war. He is cutting Pentagon spending (a total lie). He is neglecting Afghanistan, when in fact he is much, much more belligerent there than Bush was. He is a secret Muslim who doesn’t really believe in U.S. wars. He is a product of the anti-American pacifist left. He is dedicated to destroying Wall Street. He is anti-police. He has weakened Bush’s war on terror. He is "soft" on suspected terrorists. Much of what the right says about Obama makes him sound infinitely better than he actually is. It was the same way under Bush, but to a much lesser degree. The left did critique Bush disingenuously, talking about how he was slashing the public sector, which was not true in the slightest. But more of what the left said about Bush was valid, than what the right seems to be saying about Obama.
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