It’s far more difficult than it should be to find a critique of US foreign policy in the mass media. What’s most depressing, however, is the criticism that does appear.
It’s the same kind of criticism one could find of the Soviet Union in Pravda—right after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It’s constructive criticism, like the kind that Hermann Goring would’ve had for the Hitler after Stalingrad (“a colossal disaster”), or how Robert McNamara discussed the US war in Vietnam.
Consider this quote below from an excerpt of an interview with Noam Chomsky:
He (Robert McNamara) sent American soldiers to fight an unwinnable war, which he thought early on was unwinnable. The cost was to the U.S. It tore the country apart. It left people disillusioned and skeptical of the government. That’s the cost. Yes, there were those three million or more Vietnamese who got killed. The Cambodians and Laotians are totally missing from his story. There were a million or so of them. There’s no apology to them.
Below are 7 common critiques of US foreign policy that citizens would never accept if it were coming from an intellectual class that wasn’t American. Imagine the following points were raised by a Soviet commissar. Would he be considered courageous for his criticism of the Soviet invasion of ______?
1. Time Magazine: “Never again, we thought, would our military’s senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It’s 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again….”
“We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty.”
2. USA Today—Rep. Gil Gutknecht: ”Now is not the time to go wobbly… I don’t think ‘stay the course’ sells.”
3. Senator Chuck Hagel: “The worst thing we can do is hold ourselves hostage to some grand illusion that we’re winning. Right now we are not winning.”
4. Charles Krauthammer: “…When he became president in January 2009, he (Barack Obama) was handed a war that was won. The surge had succeeded. Al-Qaida in Iraq had been routed, driven to humiliating defeat by an Anbar Awakening of Sunnis fighting side-by-side with the infidel Americans…”
“Obama was left with but a single task: Negotiate a new status-of-forces agreement (SOFA)… He blew it. Negotiations, such as they were, finally collapsed last month. There is no agreement, no partnership. As of Dec. 31, the American military presence in Iraq will be liquidated.”
5. The American Prospect: “How can we afford all this? This coming fiscal year’s federal budget deficit already is approaching $500 billion. Add in the extra spending, and it’s close to $600 billion. And that’s just one year’s tab. The total over all the years it will take to stabilize both Iraq and Afghanistan and win the war against terrorism is likely to be far higher. Bush and the Republican Congress have no real plan to pay for these extra costs.”
6. The New York Times: “Afghanistan, and the American military, are running on a different clock, based on more intractable realities. Some of the most stubborn and important scourges they face — ineffectual governance, deep-rooted corruption and the lack of a functioning judicial system — the report (presented by Barack Obama) barely glanced at.
7. David Sanger: “The bottom line is that Pakistan is a country where we have little influence, little access and little credibility,” one of Mr. Obama’s aides said as the review was being put into its final form. “And we’re still struggling with re-wiring the place so that their interests and our interests are aligned.”