If only President Barack Obama had declared war. If only he had exceeded his executive authority and preemptively invaded and militarily occupied another nation. If only he had unleashed the dogs of war to slaughter thousands of foreigners. If he had done all of this, Republicans would not have just passed a lawsuit against him for trying to ensure everyone had affordable healthcare. Nor would there be an Impeach Obama Movement. They won’t admit this publicly, but their anger and intolerance stems from their war addiction. Their love affair with militarism and imperialism. Their need to identify against a common enemy. Their craving to seek meaning in a perpetual state of war.
President Obama had many opportunities to declare war. But each time he has refused, despite being pressured from ultraconservatives and Cold War warriors, military contractors and corporate lobbyists, and Republican warmongers religious fanatics. He did not attack Iran for aiding groups in Iraq which were fighting U.S. troops. Regarding the Arab Spring and the destabilization of Syria, Libya, Egypt, even Gaza and Lebanon, he refused to send a half-a-million troops. More recently, the Obama Administration has pursued a cautious approach regarding the Ukrainian-Russia crisis. Too cautious for Republicans. Less spectacular but deadly drone strikes have not pacified them.
Republicans and their backers have a history of finding meaning in a perpetual state of war. President George W. Bush and his administration was lost and floundering until the September 11, 2001 attacks came and stirred the waters. It was only then that he and his Republican cohorts awakened, finding a new sense of purpose and happiness in fighting the Global War On Terror. President Richard M. Nixon also thrived in wartime, using his executive privilege to pillage and plunder Vietnam. Although he secretly expanded the Vietnam Conflict and committed innumerable war crimes, his impeachment dealt with a break-in. Without the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln have been a footnote in history.
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Republicans are not the only ones addicted to imperialistic ambitions and presidential war-making powers. Some independents and Democrats also find satisfaction in a perpetual warfare state. Just think what Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson would have accomplished without a state of war. Just imagine how they would have been remembered. Along with minority groups, pacifists have also met enormous persecution. They have been and socially alienated and ostracized. They too have been imprisoned, beaten, shot, hanged, and at times, violently purged. For some, the thought of a somewhat pacifist-oriented leader is a nightmare instead of a dream.
Arthur G. Miller writes about this in The Social Psychology Of Good And Evil. Since good people can be recruited into evil through education/socialization,(1) is the same true of war and media/socialization? The mass media complex and movie and gaming industries are filled with violence and warring images. Thus, many have been indoctrinated to adore and desire war. These “war primers” are colorful, entertaining and habitual, filled with remote experiences and misinformation that leads to desensitization. Coupled with screen addiction, institutionalized war has spread pervasively and insidiously through perverted minds, inhibiting critical thinking and peaceful alternatives.
Immersed in a national security state and permanent war culture, some have become uncomfortable with a national nonviolent state and stable peace culture, subconsciously wanting presidents to make war. Even now, television hosts and radio pundits are calling for military action against China, North Korea, and Central America-yearning to declare a war on immigrants. War against other states improves ratings. It also sells, which explains the many displaced wars currently being reported and waged within American society. When a president does not declare war, like President Obama, there will be a clamor for lawsuits and impeachment. War is the health of the U.S., its entire “being.”
Sadly, many have grown fond of war. They only respect presidents that reflect their ideals of war, a perpetual commander-in-chief. General Robert E. Lee said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” When he said this, the U.S. was not a military power or technologically advanced nation. It had not yet become imprisoned in its virtual world of mass entertainment, of fighting and observing wars from a distance, of someday being inoculated to the sufferings that its war machine would cause in foreign lands. Today, at least in the U.S. and for those wanting to sue and impeach President Obama, “It is well that war is so euphoric, or we should grow too uncaring.”