We're a hawk on the issues.

Kingdom of Fear: Fight Them Over There, So We Don’t Have to Fight Them Here

After over a dozen years of war and with an incredible national debt, Americans are becoming increasingly reticent about U.S. intervention in global conflicts. A poll published in March from Pew Research showed that only 29 percent of Americans believed the U.S. should “take a firm stand” in the Ukraine situation and only 8 percent of those folks thought the U.S. should take military action. This matches the thinking for other conflicts, such as those currently erupting in the Middle East.

The clichéd mantra of “fight them over ‘there’ to keep us from fighting them here” has long been used to justify the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However it is still employed by some of the GOP’s biggest hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Yet, it seems from their statements that this is simply criticism of President Obama couched in the language of fear.

In reality, I’d bet that neither McCain or Graham truly want the U.S. embroiled in another war, but the opportunity to turn American fear into animus against their opposition party is too good to pass up.

Yet, it is much more comforting, in a way, to think that the U.S. military travels to strange lands to defeat monsters rather than face the complex realities of geopolitics. Because as much as the U.S. should keep its nose (and drones) out of the world’s business, as the largest remaining superpower it is irresponsible to not do anything at all.

Of course America has lost much of the moral high-ground over the years, thanks to terrible military mistakes and our complicated relationship with torture after 9/11.  Thus our best shot is to explore non-military option at influencing other countries to do what we want them to do.

Rather than springing at the chance to make the President look weak in front of Americans, elected GOP officials should voice their concerns in private. Politicians are elected to office, but once they are sworn in they should exercise deference in their actions and comments – especially with respect to international matters – because that is what truly makes America seem weak.

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.

  • Dale Mulkey

    Republicans are nothing but scum. Everyone of them should be arrested and executed for treason

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Thanks for reading, Dale. Some of my best friends are Republicans! And I think most of us would just settle for having them voted out of office.

  • Annie Kemps

    McCain, and Graham, are a couple of nut cases but; there is a long line of them in that party that are just fricken scary,

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Annie, thanks for reading and your comment. While I didn’t mention it there are some in the GOP — many of them Tea Party “nutjobs” — who are very against military action abroad. Sen. Rand Paul is perhaps the most prominent of these folks.

  • Mark Schmidt

    Exactly how I feel about the right – fight them here and now.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mark. Although it is my hope, with articles like these and others, to change the rhetoric from “fight them” back to “talk to them.”

  • William Smith

    So if McCain wants to intervene with military action…let him go fight it for us…

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Thanks for reading and commenting. And Mr. Smith, in all fairness, Mr. McCain has already fought his war. There is no denying that. As a veteran myself, it has always struck me as odd when a man who has suffered in war is eager to send others into it.

      • Antonio Taylor

        Joshua I really think his experience during Vietnam has caused him some mental stability. I too am a Vietnam Vet and I do not want to see another American life lost unnecessarily. These young people who put their lives on the line for their country are our most precious resources. They should act like they know that!

        • Joshua M. Patton

          Antonio, thanks for reading and your comment. While this is unrelated to the topic of the series, I do want to say that I think my generation of veterans owes a great debt to yours. It was Vietnam Vets leading the charge in the early days of the war about paying attention to veterans’ needs and ensuring that the political animus surrounding it, especially Iraq, was levied at returning troops. Thanks and keep reading!