"We must face the fact," President John F. Kennedy once said, "that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient -- that we are only 6% of the world's population -- that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94% of mankind--that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity -- and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem."
Good Foreign Policy a Casualty of War:Today, it is we Americans who live in infamy. By Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Go read the whole thing. I'll wait. Then reflect on the fact that John Quincy Adams warned us (er, U.S.) not to be assholes, in 1821. That's plenty of time to figure out what the words meant, y'know.
Schlesinger revists the theme of "full and searching discussion" as a necessity prior to going to war, in What Ever Happened to Protest?, pointing out, among other things, that Americans have "rarely refrained from criticism and dissent when the country was heading toward war."
This one shouldn't be any different. The Bush Doctrine, as Schlesinger refers to it, of anticipatory self-defense (comparing it to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, and I believe, quite rightly so) was lambasted in 1848 by no other than Abraham Lincoln, then discussing the Mexican War as a representative of the state of Illinois.
"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion... and you allow him to make war at pleasure...[The Founding Fathers]...resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."
From the birth of this nation, the Bush Doctrine has been considered one incredibly bad idea.
But it's so darn attractive,...if you're sure you're in the right, that is. But you can't be, can you? Not really. Life is never that black and white.