Bomber McCain recently said he would be fine with keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for 100 years or more. Except for Ron Paul, all the career politicians currently running for president, while mouthing token opposition to war, agree with McCain to a greater or lesser extent. They embrace the War on Terror as the great friend of politicians and bankers everywhere.
The WOT is the supreme public works project, an unstoppable, endless engine of growing government power. Although the notion of fighting a tactic as opposed to an enemy is a modern innovation, the promise of centuries long war is straight out of the Dark Ages.
Today we call it The Hundred Years War. At the time it didn’t have a name, but it had the usual sources of imperial ambition — greed, a lust for glory and the natural human need to boss everybody around. It also featured the destruction, suffering and death of imperial warfare throughout history.
Unlike Imperial America’s altruistic wars to spread democracy, however, at least medieval conquest tried to make some economic sense. In 1337 the French wanted their own king and Edward III of England wanted to be king of France, too. He thought there would be a profit in it. France had a lot more land and people than England did at the time. He wouldn’t do nearly as well as the IRS does today, but as their king he would get a nice cut of everything everybody produced. It was the traditional imperial model, where the empire thrives on the sweat of the conquered.
America, on the other hand, runs its imperial wars as though they were huge make-work projects. We spend billions to bomb perfectly good utility plants, factories, roads, bridges and buildings to rubble. Then we spend billions to replace them better than ever. It’s like hiring a vast crew to dig holes and other to follow it around filling the holes back in. The only difference being the thousands killed and wounded in the project.
Like the U.S. Army in Mesopotamia the medieval English had much early success. They whipped the French navy at the Battle of Sluys. English longbowmen at the Battle of Crécy slaughtered French knights by the thousands. After some setbacks to the Black Plague, the English archers continued an embarrassing dominance over the chivalrous knights of the French nobility for the best part of a century.
The problem was that conquest was never all that lucrative. The size and population that made France an attractive object of conquest made it difficult to occupy. Armies, like young mistresses, are expensive, high maintenance, and dangerous when cranky. Little real wealth got back to the English throne by way of taxes. And burning and pillaging is pretty much a one-shot deal that leaves everyone poorer in the end. Empires then, as now, end in bankruptcy more often than military defeat.
In the 14th century central banking hadn’t been invented, so there was a limit on how much the government could steal from people. Bankruptcy couldn’t be delayed, as it can be today, by sucking every last drop of wealth out of the productive economy with inflation.
As late as 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt, English archers were still slaughtering French knights. Knights were a hardheaded lot. Stuck on the idea of the cavalry charge long past the time when it still worked.
But a few years later all the French needed was inspiration from Joan of Arc and a lucky cannon shot that took out the Duke of Salisbury. Suddenly, the end of English rule in France was inevitable. England was broke and running out of archers, after a hundred years of war, England was back where it had begun but poorer and lacking the thousands of lives that had been squandered.
John McCain appears ready to commit the United States to waging a Hundred Years War in the Middle East. It’s not unreasonable to expect him to inform the American people, who will be responsible for supplying the blood and money for the project, just what they can expect in return.
Ron Paul issued a press release with his ideas on the subject. Those ideas align pretty closely with my own. He pointed out that if he supports it, McCain should tell us the real costs of such an ambitious long-term occupation and what will have to be sacrificed at home. Dr. Paul observed that McCains support for hundred years war would help recruit our enemies and put current soldiers at greater risk. Surely it will.
And finally, Dr. Paul noted that the real security and prosperity interests of the United States would be much better served with an immediate withdrawal of our troops from the Mideast and foreign countries all over the world. A true pro-American foreign policy would not include the idea that we are the world’s policeman.
Dr. Paul is a scholar and student of both economics and history. No other
candidate can claim his level knowledge or his commitment to truth and
the principles of liberty. The chance that he will be elected president is the one
long-shot chance that
has to avoid imperial bankruptcy, a police state, and medieval poverty. All of which will attend our continued trust in paper money, imperial war and men like John McCain.