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Flexing muscles

Published on -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

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A recent public opinion survey must have the military-industrial complex drooling. For a supposedly peace-loving nation, there's a growing segment of the population that wants even more intervention in foreign locations.

We, apparently foolishly, would have thought America to be tired of war. More than 10 years in both Afghanistan and Iraq might have resulted in the capture and killing of both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, but a hefty price was paid. Thousands of U.S. military and hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals died. The trillions of dollars spent have put undue pressure on necessary social programs here. And the region remains vastly destabilized compared to pre-invasion situations on the ground.

U.S. drone strikes continue in Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Somalia as the War on Terror continues. Limited military operations are taking place in Georgia, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Eritrea as well.

Yet a Pew Research Center poll released this week shows one-third of Americans believe the U.S. does too little to address global problems. We want more done to combat Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq, and at least initial steps taken against Russia for its encroachment on Ukraine.

We're a blood-thirsty lot.

The most dramatic shift in public opinion is found amongst conservatives. Tea party types, who appear willing to starve governments in every other department, are the most willing to step up U.S. military involvement. Some 54 percent of this group wants more action.

Again, reasonable people might think we've overextended ourselves already with little to show other than creating a more dangerous world. Count us among this faction.

We do not advocate an isolationist approach to current affairs. We cannot stand by while regimes are built that have zero concern for human rights or international agreements.

But we cannot police the world by ourselves. We cannot unilaterally decide who is right and who is wrong, and then bomb the bad guys back to the Stone Age.

We can place more reliance on existing partnerships such as NATO and the U.N., even if the same war-clamoring crowd distrusts those groups more than they do President Barack Obama. Heck, we can't even support attempts to curtail illegal international arms transfers for fear this somehow could undermine our sacred Second Amendment rights.

As a nation, we need to dial back our anger and demand for action. It's been 70 years since we fought a war that resulted in good triumphing over evil. Even our declared victories since World War II have been pyrrhic. When we create more avowed enemies than we kill in these military engagements, we're not advancing civilization. We're helping destroy it.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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