“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” When President Roosevelt spoke these words at the beginning of WWII, they were spoken to motivate and inspire the American people to victory against the Axis powers led by a truly evil and mad dictator, Adolf Hitler. Hitler built the most powerful military in the world before he began his quest to conquer Europe and to dominate the world.
Fear is a powerful emotion and politicians of all political persuasions know that it can be used to not only motivate their subjects, but to control them as well. If you create an external fear, there is less attention paid to internal problems. And it’s good business for the “Military Industrial Complex” President Eisenhower warned against in his farewell speech.
The current favorite external enemy is Iran, and its “mad dictator” Ahmadinejad. Osama Bin Ladin is dead, Sadam Hussein and his non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” is no longer with us, so now it is Iran. At the last Republican debate, each candidate, with the exception of Ron Paul, engaged in a contest to prove who could be the biggest bad ass when it came to dealing with Iran. Mitt Romney said under no circumstances would he allow, Ahmadinejad, a madman dictator, to have nuclear weapons at his disposal. Gingrich and Santorum were quick to say “Amen.” Are they really that scared of Iran? Would they really take such action or is all this talk of aggression simply campaign rhetoric.
Hitler was an evil dictator and the world had every reason to fear Germany. But Iran is not Germany. As I wrote earlier, Hitler had the most powerful military in the world at his disposal. The one thing about dictators is that they love power. Hitler wanted to extend his power over a growing empire, and he believed he had the military might to do it. Ahmadinejad is also a dictator who loves his power, but in order to have power you have to be alive. Dead dictators have no power. Does Ahmadinejad think his military can win a nuclear war with the United States? No chance! Ahmadinejad would be signing his own death warrant and sending millions of Iranians to their graves.
Fear of an Iranian nuke is irrational, but useful to politicians seeking to become the next Commander-in-Chief of our military. All this saber rattling is irresponsible and dangerous. Except for Ron Paul, all these tough talking candidates managed to avoid military service. Romney and Gingrich are from my generation and managed to avoid Vietnam. Romney had a high lottery number and Gingrich had flat feet. There was nothing however, to keep Romney from volunteering to serve his country. Santorum is younger but evidently never considered military service. It’s ironic that these would-be Presidents have never served, nor have any of their children, but evidently they will not hesitate to send your children to war.
1. If you have never watched President Eisenhower’s farewell speech you should go to YouTube and watch it. It has all come to pass.
2. Maybe some part of Ron Paul’s opposition to our interventionist foreign policy is attributable to his service as a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
3. Ron Paul has been labeled an “isolationist” but a “non-interventionist” is something quite different. An isolationist is someone who goes off to live in the mountains in order to avoid contact with other people. A non-interventionist is a person who lives with others but does not try to dictate how the neighbors live their lives. An interventionist wants to control how everyone else lives. Ron Paul is a non-interventionist.
5 responses to “Dead Dictators Have No Power”
As the wife of a service member it is irritating to have a commander in chief who has never served. I’m not saying that it is absolutely necessary in order to be a good leader (there are plenty of terrible leaders in the military), but it would at least makes me feel like he/she knows what it’s like to separate from family, to be willing to risk his/her life for a cause, and to empathize. If the Obama daughters were to enlist or commission at 18 or 22, would our President be as happy to send my husband away?
A good friend recently said to me, “Well, aren’t the deployments slowing down since Obama brought all the troops home?” I literally laughed out loud. My husband’s squadron has been busier than ever in the last two years with deployments and it’s getting worse. No one came home, they just got moved from Bush’s desert of choice to Obama’s. He just likes to pretend that he’s done some massive favor to military families. I just hope that these political agendas don’t mean my husband will miss the birth of our first baby this spring.
While I agree with most of your analysis, I do question Ahmadinejad’s rationality. I really believe that he thinks Iran can win a war with the US, especially if they are able to obtain a nuclear weapon. Their ideology labels us “the great Satan” and Israel as “the little Satan”. Included in that ideology is the desire for the eradication of Israel. So if they want to eradicate “the little Satan”, how much more do you think they want to annihilate “the great Satan”? Much like religious ferver in our own country leads to irrational conclusions, dillusions and decisions; so too does religious ferver among Muslims lead to the same irrational conclusions, dillusions and decisions.
I agree with the majority of what you have to say here. The fear mongering that has come to dominate politics and media is ridiculous and greatly unfounded and I do appreciate Ron Paul’s refusal to perpetuate that fear for political gain.
However, I am not so quick to write off Iran-nor do I agree with Mr. Weimer’s assessment that Iran believes they can win any wars. Iran and Ahmadinejad are not out to win any conflicts. They are under no illusion that they can go toe to toe with the United States, but that is not their intention. As many Christians await the second coming of Jesus Christ, many muslims-Ahmadinejad included-similarly await the coming or revealing of the 12th Imam, al Mahdi. Moreover, Ahmadinejad claims to personally communicate with Allah, and that he has been told to prepare the world for the coming of al Mahdi. Why is this significant? It is believed that the world must be in a state of great chaos for the 12th Imam to materialize and bring world peace. Ahmadinejad does not believe his legacy is to win any conflicts, but rather create such a state of chaos to enable the coming of the 12th Imam even if it comes with his own demise. That, he believes, he can do.
It worries me when people write off that which doesn’t make sense to us as irrational. While Iran seems ‘crazy’ to westerners, and while we may not understand how a dictator could be empowered by his own demise-it is important to view these issues through a neutral lens, rather than influenced by our own sense of rationality and definition of power.
Just my $.02
A few notes regarding Ron Paul:
Ron Paul receives significantly more (some sources estimate six times more) money from military supporters than the other three candidates combined.
Ron Paul carried the youth vote in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina and continues to poll strongly among that demographic.
I think you are spot on Dan, coming from the perspective of someone who has served in the armed forces which is the ONLY perspective that should be considered complete in such situations.
Wars work for political gain. Ask Joe Arpaio if the race war in Arizona is working for him.