Since the tea party burst onto the scene, conservatives have talked a great limited government game and rejected much of the anti-Constitutional rhetoric of the Bush years with the exception of one crucial issue: war.
There is a monumental disconnect between the military and the rest of the federal government within the conservative mind. They readily admit and can explain with acuity the problems of centralized power on issues ranging from guns to education to the economy to the environment and so on. However, government power suddenly becomes sacrosanct when it involves the military. What can explain this inexplicable divergence within conservative thought?
The divergence has happened because many of their core beliefs have been twisted over the years. Conservatives believe in national greatness, American exceptionalism and a strong national defense. These are admirable notions, but they have been completely distorted by political opportunists. Somewhere along the line, the idea of a strong national defense was perverted into a strong national offense. American exceptionalism became an excuse to impose our values upon the whole world through force. National greatness became international greatness through an expansionist empire.
Many illegal, aggressive wars have been waged by the United States in the name of spreading freedom and democracy. We have seen invasions or bombing campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Haiti and many other countries. This is not just a conservative problem, mind you, as these interventions have taken place under Republican and Democratic control. Military adventures have cost billions of dollars and thousands of American lives. What do we have to show for it? Is the world any safer for freedom?
If anything, the world is more chaotic than ever, and that chaos is starting to be felt in the homeland. When a country has a belligerent foreign policy that regularly commits atrocious, and human rights abuses such as torture and the extrajudicial murder of innocents, it eventually spills back onto its own shores. The idea that a government can bulldoze innocent populations with extreme prejudice, but exercise restraint at home is without historical precedent.
Look at what has happened to the country since the War on Terror began. All of the policies that the feds promised were only to be used on the terrorists have been expanded onto the entire population. From the Patriot Act to the NDAA to NSA spying to the DHS villainizing ordinary Americans as terrorists, it is abundantly clear that we are living in a full-blown police state. This police state evolved as the direct result of aggressive, unneeded war-making. Without the wars, the feds would not have had the pretext that they needed to turn the entire Republic into a Constitution-free zone.
Building up this military power over many years was supposed to make us more safe, but in reality the opposite has happened. The expansion of the military under conservative regimes only set the stage for Obama to be bestowed with the most powerful military the world has ever known. Now, we see it being used to support Al Queda in Syria and Libya. We see Al Queda reigning supreme in Fallujah after the War in Iraq was supposedly won. The unprecedented military buildup has backfired on conservatives big time.
Conservatives need to understand that excessive federal power is an unnecessary evil that cannot be tolerated on ANY issue. This does not mean that we need to disband the military. This means follow the law, do not overextend ourselves, and exercise serious caution before beginning a military adventure. We can have a strong military that responds to attacks and threats without getting involved in conflicts that are none of our business.
We offer legislation, the Defend the Guard Act, that would make it more difficult for our troops’ lives to be sacrificed at Obama’s whim. The legislation stops National Guard members, under the jurisdiction of the governor, from being used in unconstitutional military invasions. Nullification usually applies to domestic policy, but this is an exception. The Defend the Guard Act gives activists a way to bring troops home without having to grovel to corrupt federal politicians to do so.
It is a truly conservative viewpoint to stop the squandering of our precious blood and treasure for the reign of one of the most anti-constitutional presidents in our history. Reforming the military is not something that can be put off any longer. It has become a matter of life and death. We must support the troops rather than subjecting them to federal dictates. That begins with defending the guard.