With plans to gather public opinion on gun control, we would like to think there is some kind of momentum building for a serious discussion of violence in our world.
We may be a long way from Joni Mitchell’s vision of bombers turning into butterflies, but fewer and fewer of us have an appetite for American military aggression. Listening to Ron Paul’s farewell address, I was reminded that the electorate truly overlooked one of the only voices of reason in American foreign policy when we nominated Obama and Romney in 2012. Having ordered five times as many drone strikes as George Bush, our president is no Gene McCarthy, but his nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense offers some hope.
Following a series of military missteps (urinating on corpses, Quran burnings and nighttime attacks on civilians), Leon Panetta tried to tell the press: “This is not who we are.”
Should he be confirmed, a good place for Chuck Hagel to begin as secretary of defense would be to admit that this was who we were but now we’re going to do something about our actions and our image by re-examining our purposes. Maybe then we can turn the tide of public skepticism of our military, which has for too long stood in violation of our trust.
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