Cognitive Dissonance Department: Conservatives vs. the U.S. Military

By James Fallows

Some time today, please read this item by Heather Hurlburt, at Democracy Arsenal. It's about the way the professional U.S. military is increasingly at odds with (wait for it) modern GOP right-wingers, on issues ranging from containing Iran to using biofuels.

Part of her explanation for the tension:

The military-industrial complex is small-c conservative -- and I'm using both those terms in a completely value-neutral, descriptive way. It looks for fights it can win, not fights -- like a land war in Iran, or endless, bank-breaking fuel bills -- that might fatally weaken it. It looks to consolidate.  It is a status quo power seeking to preserve the status quo. And these days, preserving the status quo involves fuel made from seaweed, talks with Iranians, and getting out of the prison business.

Whatever the conservative movement in America is at the moment -- conflicted, in a battle for its soul, looking to get its groove back -- it isn't a status quo power... That just may also have something to do with the percentage of military campaign contributions reported to be going to either President Obama... or Ron Paul.

This was the subtext in the series of fascinating appearances yesterday by Colin Powell, about his new book. Several times he was asked about Obama-v-Romney endorsements, and each time he said that it was "premature" to get into such matters. But he explicitly was a fan of Obama's gay-marriage statements; almost as explicitly was suspicious of the hawks on Team Romney who had snookered him [Powell] into the Iraq war; and very obviously is not a fan of the U.S. opening a new front in Iran.  I have first-hand reason to be sure of his views on this point.

The military as Democratic Party bastion? Not imminent, but this item suggests that it is conceviable. Worth reading.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/cognitive-dissonance-department-conservatives-vs-the-us-military/257614/