“The inescapable truth is that the world needs a policeman. The inescapable truth is that only the United States can play cop,” he wrote this month. “A further inescapable truth is that evil exists and needs to be fought.”The danger of such thinking – that the United States can decide alone and for itself who will be subject to military strikes – cannot be overstated. And it is a view that seems inconsistent with the words of one of America’s great military leaders, Dwight D. Eisenhower.Speaking as president in 1953, Eisenhower said the best that could be hoped for in a world riven by the constant threat of war was:
“[A] life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”Over the past dozen years the United States has devoted more than a trillion dollars to the conduct of one war after another – the national Priorities Projectestimates that American taxpayers have been paying some $11 million per hour on total war costs since 2001. We have gone into unimaginable levels of debt. Our economy remains anemic. With every act of war we arguably become less secure, while the “need” for more violence seems only to rise – costing more money and requiring the application of yet more violence.