Complaints about President Obama's foreign policy can be heard among those who voted for change from his predecessor. But determining what to do about Guantanamo Bay, the rights of suspected terrorists and even finding ways to end the failed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will only address symptoms of a deeper problem.
Not even a revolution will cause substantial change if no one knows the root of what harms our nation. We should understand that we had a revolution in 1963. It would serve us well to recall how we got from there to here:
In November of that year, several shots fired from different directions felled President John Kennedy in broad daylight in Dallas, Texas. An innocent man, Lee Harvey Oswald, was framed for the crime and the authorities missed several leads, such as dozens of "ear" witnesses who said the fatal shot came from in front of the president's motorcade.
Enter Lyndon Baines Johnson, sworn in next to the late president's widow, who still had his blood on her clothes. As soon as LBJ covered up the JFK assassination by appointing enemies of JFK to "investigate" the coup was complete. The revolution began and has never stopped.
Johnson went on to reverse JFK's draw down of our involvement in a war in Viet Nam. And after using false reports of U.S. ships being fired upon in the Gulf of Tonkin to get "authority" to prosecute the war, he never looked back. He attempted to fund social programs to fight poverty and the war.
Enter Richard Nixon who said we had to choose one or the other. Guess which one he chose?
The war ultimately took the lives of millions of Vietnamese people along with over 58,000 of our troops. The public found out by that time that our leaders had lied about the war thanks to the Pentagon Papers and other reports.
Enter Jimmy Carter. Elected after the only non-elected President, Gerald Ford, took over from Nixon, Carter said he would not lie. But even the president who used military force least often among recent presidents got us involved in a covert war in Afghanistan. He shipped weapons illegally through Pakistan to a group of people who fought alongside Osama bin Laden.
We had to stop the communists!
But the CIA wanted more covert action to fight the communists in Nicaragua. Carter wouldn't do it. Not a problem. The revolution continued with some new leaders.
Enter Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Reagan was the front man who talked tough about Iran who held our people hostage. Bush was the guy in the back room making deals with the Ayatollah by sending him weapons in exchange for a delay in the release of the hostages.
Since then, we have continued with a succession of presidents who have kept the military happy. Bill Clinton went for Somalia and Bosnia, while George W. Bush used a false 9/11 story about terrorists as a pretext for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Now Obama has kept the war drums going in both nations.
How does war always come up as the answer?
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