Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is an interventionist. In fact, he’s your classic interventionist. He believes that the U.S. government should intervene in conflicts around the world, at least where “national security” is at stake.
Boot has a plan for Iraq. The plan was set forth in Sunday’s Washington Post in an op-ed by Boot entitled in the print edition “A Better War Strategy.”
Boot’s plan calls for more U.S. bombs to be dropped on Iraq, more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, no-fly zones, enlisting domestic support, and nation-building.
What an ingenious plan! Why didn’t anyone think of that before now?
But wait a minute! Somebody did think of that before now. Wasn’t that the interventionist plan for Iraq since the Persian Gulf War, when the U.S. government turned against its partner and ally Saddam Hussein?
Bombs, no-fly zones, sanctions, enlisting domestic support, invasion, occupation, round-ups, torture (e.g. Abu Ghraib), indefinite detention, and, yes, nation building.
We have definitely been down this interventionist road before. How’s that original plan for Iraq working out for Max Boot and other interventionists?
Obviously, not very well. In fact, it has left Iraq in such horrible straits that Max Boot, the premier interventionist, now feels compelled, after more than a decade of interventionism in Iraq, to come up with a “new” interventionist plan for Iraq, one that is really no different from the original interventionist plan for Iraq, the one that has obviously left Iraq in a horrific mess.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, if the original interventionist plan for Iraq had been a success, there would have been no reason for Boot to be coming up with a “new” plan for Iraq, a plan that is pretty much a duplicate of the previous interventionist plan for Iraq.
How’s that old saying go with respect to the definition of insanity? Something about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
But there is something else that has long fascinated me about Boot and other interventionists. They obviously felt that getting rid of Saddam Hussein and rebuilding Iraq into a stable, pro-U.S. regime was important to U.S. “national security.” They also never cease to thank the troops who were sent to Iraq for defending our rights and freedoms.
Yet, notice something important here: At no time has Max Boot ever volunteered for military service in Iraq or, equally important, gone to Iraq to join up with the Iraqi armed services to ensure that the government’s isn’t taken over by the Islamic State?
Why not? Doesn’t he think that national security and protecting our rights and freedoms are worth it?
If the United States were invaded by a foreign power, my hunch is that most American men and women would volunteer to defend our nation from the invaders. You can count me in that group.
But could you count on Max Boot to be fighting alongside us? I don’t think so. And the reason I say that is because he isn’t offering to fight in Iraq notwithstanding his obvious conviction that an Islamic State victory will constitute a grave threat to U.S. “national security” and to our rights and freedoms as Americans.
Now, I happen to believe the fear-mongering about the consequences of an Islamic victory in Iraq is nothing more than imperialist bunk, the same type of bunk we heard from interventionists in the Cold War — that if Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Brazil, and other Latin American countries were to go communist, it wouldn’t be long before Americans lost their rights and freedoms to a communist regime in the United States.
Therefore, since I’m convinced an Islamic State victory would not threaten the existence of the United States or the rights and freedoms of the American people, the last thing I’m going to do is travel to Iraq and embroil myself in their civil war. Is it regrettable that U.S. interventionism has unleashed another horrible civil war in Iraq, just as U.S. interventionism did in Guatemala? Of course it’s regrettable, just as the U.S. civil war was regrettable. But that doesn’t mean that a civil war in Iraq or an Islamic victory in Iraq is going to mean that the terrorists, communists, or Muslim extremists, or even Afghan opium producers are going to be running the IRS and the rest of the federal government any time soon.
But Boot is in a different position. He obviously believes that U.S. “national security” is at stake in Iraq. He obviously believes it’s necessary to send the troops back to Iraq to protect our rights and freedoms. That’s why he has a new interventionist plan for Iraq. Yet, here he sits, safely ensconced in his office at the Council on Foreign Relations, coming up with new interventionist plans for Iraq instead of going over there and fighting for our “national security and for our rights and freedoms.
And the same holds true, of course, for Boot’s interventionist cohorts. Notice that not one single American interventionist has gone to Iraq and joined up with Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS. There is nothing preventing them from doing so. Instead, the mindset of Boot and other interventionists has long been and continues to be: Send other Americans to do the fighting, to drop the bombs, to shoot people, and to “rebuild” the nation. Let them do the killing, dying, maiming, torturing, and detaining. Let them come back wounded, maimed, guilt-ridden, violent, all screwed-up in the head, or dead.
In the event the United States were ever invaded, would I endorse conscription to force Max Boot and others of his ilk to join up with those of us who were fighting to defend our nation and our rights and freedoms?
Of course not. Freedom entails the right to just sit back and come up with plans, while others are doing the fighting, which is precisely what Max Boot and his interventionist ilk are doing.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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