Sinceitsfounding,TheNewRepublichasbeenissuingopinionsaboutwhenandwheretheUnitedStatesshouldgotowar。

Whatfollowsisasurveyofsomeofthepositionstakenbythemagazine’seditorsandcolumnistsonanumberofmilitaryinterventions,stretchingfromWorldWarIthroughthisweek’sLeonWieseltierpieceonSyria。

(Note:Thishistoryisadmittedlyincomplete,withgapswherearchivesweren’tavailableonline。

)

WORLDWARIHerbertCrolyandWalterLippmann,foundingeditors,initiallymaintainedanisolationiststance。

Butthingsgotabitwobblyafterthe1915sinkingoftheLusitania,whichoccurredsixmonthsafterthepublicationofthemagazine’sinauguralissue。

TheGermans,theeditorsdeclared,“shouldclearlyunderstandthateventhoughsacrificesaremadetoavoidwar,thesinkingoftheLusitanianolessthanthesinkingoftheMainewillberemembered。

Itisboundtomakeagravedifferenceinthesubsequentrelationsbetweenthetwocountries。



Still,TNRresistedbackingtheinvasion。

Lippmanncounseledneutrality,writing“thenationwhichwishestocountforpeacemustbepreparedifnecessarytocountagainstitsenemies。



ThemagazinechangedcourseinNovember1916;pertheEncyclopediaofAmericanJournalism,Croly“begantoadvocateamoreinterventionistpolicythatledtothemagazine’seventualsupportofaCongressionalwardeclarationinApril1917。

”(LippmannlaterjoinedtheWilsonadministration。

)

WORLDWARIIAccordingtoMerrillPeterson’sComingofAgewithTheNewRepublic,themagazine’sregretfor“ridingWilsonianidealsintoEurope’swarin1917”wasthecatalystforitsreversiontoisolationismduringWorldWarII。

“ThisnationhastobereadyforallieddisasterinEurope,”saidtheeditors,whobelievedthatthecountry’sattentionbelongedonthehome?

front。

THEICELANDOCCUPATIONInMay1940,BritishtroopsinvadedReykjavík,shortlyafterGermanyoccupiedDenmarkandblockedcommunicationsbetweenIcelandandDenmark。

Ayearlater,BritaintransferredresponsibilitytotheUnitedStates。

“TheAmericanoccupationofIceland,”proclaimedtheeditors,is“grandgood?

news。



VIETNAMWARIntheveryearlyyearsofthewar,TNRpublished“pro-Diemarticles”byJosephButtinger,afriendoftheSouthVietnamesepresident。

By1962,theeditorswerecallingonPresidentKennedyto“actdecisivelynowtoregroupnon-Communistpoliticalforces[。

]”Thenextyear,theywereconcernedaboutthedominotheory,warningthat“[n]eithertheUSnoritsalliescantakeamilitarydefeatontheSoutheastAsianmainland”becausetodosowouldjeopardize“themajorprizeinAsia,orperhapstheworld?

India。



NICARAGUAIn1985,theeditorsacknowledgedthataninvasionofNicaraguawasnot“morallyorpoliticallyjustifiable。

”But,theyargued,“thatdoesnotrelieveusofresponsibilitiestothedemocraticresistancemovementthathasformedinNicaraguaandamongNicaraguanrefugeesand?

exiles。



THEGULFWARIn1987,TNRrananarticlecalled“BackIraq:It’sTimeforaU。

S。

Tilt”byDanielPipesandLaurieMylroie,whicharguedthattheUSoughttoprovideIraqwithweapons。

(Mylroie,asPeterBergenwouldputityearslater,“believesthatSaddamwasnotonlybehindthe’93TradeCenterattack,butalsoeveryanti-Americanterroristincidentofthepastdecade,fromthebombingsofU。

S。

embassiesinKenyaandTanzaniatothelevelingofthefederalbuildinginOklahomaCitytoSeptember11itself。

”)

Fouryearslater,themagazinefeltlesssanguineaboutIraqandranacoverofSaddam-as-Hitler,mustacheincluded。

TobuttresssupportfortheBush-ledinvasion,TNRpublished“[a]comprehensivecasefortheuseofforce”byCongressmanStephenSolarz(D-NY),whohadmetwithSaddamHusseintwiceanddidapparentlynotcarefor?

him。

HAITIIn1994,TNRseemedambivalentabouttheincursionintoHaiti。

“ThebestwaytokeepcasualtiestoaminimumwouldhavebeentostayhomeinFortDrum,”theyallowed。

However,“nowthatwe’rein,wecan’tleavewithoutsomethingmoretangibletoshowforoureffortsthana“safeandsecureenvironment,”orevenazeroAmericanbody?

count。



AFGHANISTANBackin2001,whentheUSfirstbeganbombingAfghanistan“withthemorallyspectacularassistanceofGreatBritain,”theeditorsfeltitwas“importantforAmericanstounderstandthat,iftheseindeedarethewarplansoftheAmericangovernment,OperationEnduringFreedomrepresentsagreatcorrectioninthecontemporaryAmericanunderstandingofwarfare。



“SoenoughaboutthepluralisticfutureoftheHinduKush,”theywroteaweeklater。

“Wearedestroyingoneoftheworld’smostprimitiveandtyrannicalregimes,butwehaveperfectlyjustreasonsofourownfordoingso。

Thistimewearenotmakingtheworldsafefordemocracy,wearemakingtheworldsafeforAmericans。



Shortlythereafter,theeditorscomplainedthat“[t]hereissomethingexceedinglystrangeaboutAmerica’swarinAfghanistan。

ItappearstobeawarthatinvolveslittleinthewayofrealAmerican?

combat。



THESECONDGULFWAREvenbeforeitwascool,TNRwaspreppedforaninvasionofIraq。

LessthantwoweeksaftertheSept。

11attacks,whiledowntownManhattanwasstillasmokingcrater,themagazineranastorybyformerCIAdirectorR。

JamesWoolsey。

Headvised:“Intelligenceandlawenforcementofficialsinvestigatingthe[attacks]woulddowelltoatleastconsideranotherpossibility:thattheattacks?

…weresponsored,supported,andperhapsevenorderedbySaddamHussein。



Butayearlater,theeditorsgrousedabout“theBushadministration’sunconvincingargumentsaboutanIraq-AlQaedatie”,notingsorrowfullythatsuchallegations“onlyconvinceskepticsthatthisWhiteHousewillofferanyrationalefor?

war。



Theweekbefore,themagazinehadmockedaspeechgivenbyAlGoreinoppositiontotheforthcomingwar。

Theeditorssaid“itsoundedlikeapoliticalbroadsideagainstapresidentwhoGorenodoubtfeelsoccupiesapostthathehimselfdeserves。

Butbitternessisnotapolicyposition。

”So?

there!

LIBYAHoweagerweretheeditorsforengagementinLibyainMarch20011?

Here’stheheadlinethedayaftertheUSbeganmilitaryoperations:“InLibya,ObamaFinallyDidtheRight?

Thing。



SUDANAfewmonthslater,inJune2011,themagazineturneditsattentiontoSudan。

Toforcethegovernmenttheretostopkillingitscitizens,theeditorssuggested“armingtheSouthSudangovernmentwithsurface-to-airmissiles?

…orleaningonChina,acloseallyofSudaneseleaderOmarBashir,touseitsinfluencetostoptheviolence[。

]”

SYRIALastAugust,theeditorsacknowledgedthatwithSyria,unlikeLibya,“amilitaryinterventionisnotpossible[。

]”However,ObamaandSecretaryClinton,theysaid,“shouldberelentlessinspeakingoutonbehalfoftheprotesters。

AndtheyshouldnotsendmixedsignalsaboutwhetherwethinkAssadshouldstayin?

power。



ButbyFebruary,theeditorswerenowsayingitwas“timetoact。

”“ShouldtheUnitedStatesactontheseoptions?

Itisnotaneasyquestion,butwethinkthatthecasefordoingsoisstartingtolookstrongerthanthecaseagainst。

”Although“[t]obeclear,wedonotwanttoseetroopsdeployedto?

Syria。



Theirrecommendationinstead?

“[T]hattheUnitedStatesanditsallieslookforwaystohelptherebelsholdoffAssad’stroops,byarmingthemorusingsomedegreeofairpowerontheirbehalf,or?

both。



Inthisweek’sWashingtonDiaristcolumn,LeonWieseltierrevealed,inadditiontoastrongantipathytoRachelMaddow:“Trashingforcemaywinyoualotoffriends,butitisstupid。

Thereisnothing‘artificial’abouttheprimacyofdefensebecausethereisnothingartificialaboutthreatsandconflictsandatrocities。

TheAmericanpoliticalsystem’s‘disinclination’towarmustnotbepromotedintoadisinclinationtohistory。

Wearenotthecountrywewereintheeighteenthcentury,aseveryliberalinsistsabouteveryotherdimensionofAmericanpolicy。

Anyway,thisiswhatPresidentJeffersonsaidin1806:‘Ourdutyis,therefore,toactuponthingsastheyare,andtomakeareasonableprovisionforwhatevertheymay?

be。

’”

AndinthehistoryofTheNewRepublicthereasonableprovisionseemstoalmostalwaysbe:military?

might。