David Cortright. (Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, CO., 2011)
David Cortright is Director of Policy Studies at Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN. David is a Vietnam veteran, as well as Director of SANE, the largest disarmament organization in the United States. He has now helped create Win Without War, a coalition of national organizations opposing the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Following are some Cortright quotes and thoughts, along with some personal reactions on my part both when I read the book several years ago, and now.
p. 12 - “Wars are conflicts between sinners, not between the righteous and the wicked.”
I believe “Just War” is a political rationale for what is otherwise an immoral behavior. Therefore, the “Just War” theory does not deserve political support from the church. War is a non-Christian response.
P12-13 - “When foreign policy is heavily militarized, as in the United States, the use of armed force often becomes a primary response rather than a last resort.”
It was this current policy that allowed George Bush to invade and occupy Iraq. The U.S. Military-Industrial Complex has now taken over American politics and uses its economic rationale to maintain itself, for so-called “security reasons. This allows it to dominate American Diplomacy, which is precisely why some nations abroad call us “Yankee Imperialists.” Beneath the political umbrella global policing becomes our self-justified American imperialism.
12-13 - Cortright finds the “goal of a ‘more accountable, and effective government in Afghanistan” a worthy goal, but as he points out, that did not necessarily require our military action. In fact, Cortright gives evidence that our military emphasis actually hindered our supposed objectives in Afghanistan.
Al Queda suicide attacks have killed more civilians than have U.S. troop operations.
Our extended military presence in Afghanistan has proven to be the best motivator for enlisting additional suicide attackers; thus, our heavy military presence hindered more than helped our primary goals of protecting civilians and building up the nation.
Afghan women’s rights was more of a political issue than primary goal for President Bush, and using women as a defense for the military action is a questionable ethic,
Cortright suggests women [rape] more justified in Africa than Afghanistan, but not as politically expedient or desirable to military interests.
The author refers to 9400 conflict related civilian deaths in Afghanistan between 2006-2010, and bombings killed hundreds more in Pakistan, 70% of which were caused by Insurgent Forces, whose primary motive for insurgency was American military presence.
p29 - “The greatest threat to U.S. Security is not al Queda itself, but the misguided strategy of countering terrorism with military means.” Cortright insists that “Terrorism” is a police issue and not a threat by a government using military force … Large scale military action caused death and injury to tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers, eroded international relations, and cost more than $1 trillion, in addition to “creating” Islamic recruits.
P32 - Military occupation is the driving force of suicidal terrorism. This point was also made earlier.
P123 - “The current strategy of large-scale counter-insurgency and target bombing is questionable morally, unsinkable politically, and unsustainable politically. The alternative may be risky but it is preferable to the known dangers of war.”
Peace cannot be forced from the top down by military force. Unfortunately,
P100 - Development and deportation efforts have remained subservient to military operations. Aid programs foundered on intractable problems of insecurity, corruption, and the rejection of foreign intervention [military intervention]. Cortright lists a 5-point development program suggested by aid organizations, but not yet accepted by the military.
P101 - A 2009 Carnegie Endowment Report concluded: “
“U.S.-led forces should halt offensive military operations and focus on protecting civilians.”
P102 - “The increasing involvement of U.S. and allied troops has been a principal cause of insurgency and the growth of Taliban influence” (emphasis added).
Some would find this “dry” reading. As I read it, I wondered to myself, “Am I reading a blueprint of what President Obama is actually trying to bring to fruition as he closes military operations in Afghanistan?” It appears to be an academic approach to resolving an irreconcilable war.
IF our desire is to prove our military might, we are paying too high a price. Politically, we seem to be saying, we can afford a war but we cannot maintain our infrastructure at home. In this case, al Queda is wining, because they are escaping defeat while making us PAY DEARLY.
If our desire is to protect the citizenry of Afghanistan and establish the nation’s governmental powers, then we need to CHANGE OUR MILITARY STRATEGY, REDUCE OUR “PRESENCE”, and turn the job over to the people who know how to do the nation building (which is not in the job description of soldiers of war).
Al Queda remains an illusive, non-governmental organization of loosely-knit terrorists and global criminals. THE TALIBAN are conservative extremists of Islamic faith, with whom we disagree politically and religiously. They OPPOSE OUR FOREIGN PRESENCE, but if we removed our troops, they would take the lead in opposing Al Queda and work with us in some kind of nation-building effort.
Posted Christmas week, 12-20-16 as we celebrate the birth of whom it was said:
“(23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emman uel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (24) Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: (25) And kjnew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” Matthew 1:23-25 KJV).
Merry Christmas and May the Peace of God rest upon our Global Community. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth his week, we continue a trek that takes us to the Miracle of Easter . . . from walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com