Rubio: Heirs to Bush-Obama Militarism
I see no point splitting hairs over
whether Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is the more
egregious warmonger. Both love the bloody and costly
U.S. empire. Both believe in American exceptionalism.
(Rubio arrogantly calls for a "New American
Century.") Both want to make war in the Middle East
(and beyond) and "stand behind Israel," though such
policies provoked the 9/11 attacks. Both want to
pour money into the military, as though America were
militarily threatened. (The U.S. military budget
equals the budgets of the next seven highest
spending nations.) Both want to prevent detente with
Iran, which poses no danger. Both hype terrorism as
an existential threat. Both want the government to
spy on Americans, especially Muslim Americans. Both
want to "control the border," code for violating the
natural right of people to move freely and make
better lives without government permission.
On the Middle East, admittedly, we see a difference.
Rubio, having learned nothing from the Iraq and
Libya interventions, would overthrow Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad while also attacking the
Islamic State. Cruz, to his credit, realizes that
regime-change would leave Syria in the hands of bin
Ladenites or worse, so he'd "carpet bomb" ISIS only.
Thus Rubio toes the neoconservative line more
faithfully. The neocons, who front for Israel's
ruling interests, want Assad ousted because he's an
ally of Iran and weakening Iran is the priority.
After all, without this
manufactured threat, how could Israel continue,
with America's blessing, to crush the Palestinians'
independence aspirations or have its way in southern
Lebanon and the Golan Heights?
But this difference between Rubio and Cruz should
not be exaggerated. Cruz's website declares he would
all-in for Israel: "We must make clear to the
world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a
strategic bedrock for the United States. Americaís
security is significantly enhanced by a strong
Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the
Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. Our
American-Israeli alliance is something to
Cruz's site goes on to pledge that "a Cruz
administration will continue to support Israelís
regional qualitative military edge and make sure
that, especially in light of the worsening security
climate caused by Iran and ISIS, Israel has
everything it needs to defend itself." It also says
Cruz "would immediately reassess US policy towards
the Palestinian Authority. Not one penny of American
tax dollars should go to an organization that
incites hatred against Jews and seeks to partner
with the terrorist group Hamas."
Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz could have written
that. So could have
I can see Cruz being persuaded to move on regime
change in Syria under the right circumstances (which
perhaps could be easily arranged). His position on
George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, please note,
is that it was a mistake
"knowing what we know now." But these are weasel
words. Lots of authoritative people knew in 2002
that Iraq had no WMD and that Bush's warmongering
was based on cooked intelligence.
When Cruz says, "Without [intelligence reports of
WMD], it is difficult to imagine the decision would
have been made to go into Iraq, and that predicate
proved erroneous," he is being either naive or
dishonest. The Bush foreign-policy team and the
neocon brain trust outside the government wanted to
overthrow Saddam Hussein before 9/11. After
the attacks the administration strove to blame
Saddam, to the point of trying to torture
confessions from prisoners and spreading false
stories about Iraqi meetings with al-Qaeda
representatives. Does Cruz not know this?
If you need further proof of the essential sameness
of Cruz and Rubio, you need only observe their
attempts to portray Barack Obama as a peacenik
determined to dismantle the American empire.
Considering that Obama is bombing at least seven
Muslim countries; sending more troops to
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; and backing the
Saudis' genocidal war in Yemen -- and that he
supported Secretary of State Clinton's disastrous
regime-changing intervention in Libya -- we can
imagine what Cruz and Rubio think a hawkish foreign
policy should be.
So go ahead and argue about who would pursue the
American policy of perpetual war with more gusto. I
don't think that game is worth the candle.
keeps the blog Free
is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center
for a Stateless Society, and
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