I read Mr. Kaplan's well written and vivacious article, On Forgetting the Obvious. St. Augustine, if he were alive today, I am sure would agree with this brilliant narrative and many of the conclusions drawn by Mr. Kaplan.
And even though I am not Catholic, I agree with the late Pope Paul's writings on the Intersection of Faith and Reason. And just as those two polar opposites ought to be able to peacefully co-exist, certainly a civilian and military class ought to, with mutual admiration, be able to exist side by side.
I do not believe, however, that the average American is as passive, with respect to war, as the author infers, or that the American civilian has any less respect today for the American warrior than Americans did 100 years ago.
The average American has supported and continues to support the war effort as well as our warriors in Afghanistan for example. However, with respect to Iraq (and thanks for giving me some wiggle room on the Iraqi war), the average American probably believes as I do that the Iraq war is more about politics than it is about protecting the American citizen from terrorism or any other real threat to America. I have attended and participated in many Congressional sessions as well as discussions where that viewpoint has been elucidated over and over again.
I don't know of anyone, personally, who believes that America was threatened by Iraq, the late Saddam Hussein or his regime - in any way. And I believe that Americans have demonstrated in the past and in the present their sustaining belief in that old adage and scripture that 'there is a time to fight' - this simply was not the time. And truthfully, for many in the Republican Right that shipped has also sailed - many of them have publicly acknowledged, of late, that the war was a mistake. Just consider the comments by William F. Buckley, George Will and even Newt Gingrich of late, to make my point. Besides them, there are many others to date, who are expressing a similar viewpoint.
Many of us simply do not believe that fighting an obstructionist-interventionist war is by any stretch justifiable under any circumstances. The current incursion into Iraq, for many of us, simply does not meet the smell test of a just cause for war, as was posited by the late Roman monk, St. Augustine.
The Commander in Chief and the Military, most of us believe, are simply asking us to swallow too much this time. I will concede however, that perhaps some of us are placing the blame on the wrong individuals - those in the service!
Having said all of that, it is comforting to know that we have men as brilliant as you are in service of our nation.
Peace & grace
The article written in American Interest Online July-August 2007
by Robert D. Kaplan
(See the excellent references to 6th Century BCE, Chinese warrior Sun- Tzu, and 19th Century Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz).