Vice President Michael Richard ‘Mike’ Pence has always come across to us as the classic, old school Republican – a white conservative with strong religious views.
He has often described himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Being in a situation where he is the proverbial leader who is one heartbeat away from the presidency, his usual demeanor could be reassuring to us most of the time. If, for any reason, he had to take the place of President Donald Trump, the consensus was that the US would be in good hands.
His comments over the weekend made us change our minds. Speaking before this year’s West Point graduating class, Pence stated that war was likely to break out all over the globe in the next few years. In his words, war was “a virtual certainty.”
The inevitability of war was something that the incoming officers of the US Armed Forces had to accept, Pence said, and with it the likelihood that a good number of West Point class of 2019 would become casualties of war. At worst, some would come home in body bags.
This is not acceptable.
For one, we do not believe that war always has to be inevitable with any of the countries that our country is not in good terms with. There is such a thing as diplomacy, which is the most potent tool to prevent any country, including our own, from becoming a battlefield.
For another, few countries would be foolhardy enough to wage war with the US, which still possesses the most powerful military force in the planet. Any country that dares invade US territory is assuring itself of total destruction.
“It will happen,” Pence said. In the next eight years, he added.
We say it does not have to.
What is worrisome about the vice president’s statement was the implication that the US would be the one to invade and occupy foreign soil, as is happening now in Afghanistan and Syria. Before that, there was Iraq and Kuwait. And before that there was Vietnam.
The oft-stated reason for US waging war abroad was to defend our country’s interests, which is a catch-all phrase that is practically meaningless.
In our view, there is only one justification for the US to wage all-out war with any country, and that is if a country would start military hostilities by physically invading our territory, or any of our closest allies. A missile attack is covered by this one condition.
In this day and age, we no longer want to see our men and women occupying foreign countries, when technology can very easily take their place. Not when we have drones and we have satellites in the sky. Not when we have military robots and a host of unmanned fighting machines.
Let there be no mistaking one thing: we stand foursquare behind our armed forces. They keep us safe from foreign aggression. We also fully support any and all of their actions when it comes to battling the scourge that is global terrorism.
The wars that Pence spoke about is another matter. He clearly has not experienced first hand the horrors of war. If he had, he never would have accepted the inevitability of war.
That old saying is true, Mr. Pence. War is hell.