I have heard the cry so many times in my life it’s beyond tiresome and so obviously partisan. People don’t think through these things.
Whenever some partisan, on any side, doesn’t like our involvement in any conflict, “That money could be better spent elsewhere…” usually with no specifics provided.
Sometimes the cynic in me asks, “Don’t you mean WASTED elsewhere?” Or, “Are you going to make sure that money is spent ‘elsewhere?'” Or, “Is this just performative?”
I’m sure they would say they will make sure. But they don’t. Or highly partisan times assure they won’t. And it doesn’t say much about humanity, does it?
This common claim contains an overly simplistic view of how things actually work.
Right now we have partisans who previously demanded we stay in Afghanistan… (for how many years?) demanding we dump out of Ukraine. Even though we have no troops there and we are doing what the Soviets and the Chinese did to us in Nam and Korea.
Just one year later? Partisans supposedly “tire” so quickly when they don’t consider the conflict politically correct. One side claims the fight is for “freedom,” the other not.
If it was fair during Iraq and Afghanistan, is it fair now to call them, “Surrender monkeys?”
Year after year, conflict after conflict, this is the pattern. The actors switch sides, act out the opposite role, but the claim is the same. Seems abandoning allies is a bipartisan game controlled by perceived political correctness, just like slogging it out year after year is. In a twist of irony NOT slogging it out, despite giving a nation back to whom we were holding off, for the first time in my life was started by Trump and finalized by Biden. Those who insist one or the other “would have done it better” are as involved in meaningless time travel partisan speculation as those who insist LBJ would have stopped Nam, and Nixon: who actually expanded the war, would have actually stopped it with Watergate and Agnew’s humiliation providing him a need for a distraction: Vietnamization. His “secret plan” was nowhere to be seen before that.
I am no peacenik. I admit as a very flawed species we get ourselves into these fine messes far too easily, but sometimes we must. Yes, “must.” Yes, “if” we had done this or that MAYBE we could have avoided war, but WE DIDN’T.
Once again time travel speculation is worthless. WE DIDN’T. And the Butterfly Effect comes into play. Every change in the timeline brings up unexpected results. Hindsight is very appropriately named: only asses think looking at something after the fact will stop us next time. There is no perfect formula to stop it next time.
So far time travel is an impossibility. “If only we had” means little since we didn’t. Circumstances are never the exactly the same. I love movies with a Groundhog Day set up, when done well. But days never reset. Circumstances may be similar, but never the same.
That doesn’t mean we don’t try. And I actually think Vietnamization-ing Ukraine is a pretty good option if we are to mess around in that mess. Just having us or the UN march in would have been a BAD option. But doing nothing was no answer, especially if we claim to believe in freedom.
Agree with it, or not, our commitment to Ukraine is an example of what we HAVE learned. For years the Domino Theory had us wasting our youth on hills we would abandon and let the “enemy” take back.
However, the idea that we will just recommit the money elsewhere NEVER HAPPENS. It’s an empty suggestion.
If I were to use the phrase, how about this; “Endless politically driven investigations? That money would be better spent elsewhere?”
Do you think that will happen?
“Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.