The original idea of Mother’s Day was to promote peace so mothers would not have to suffer the grief that many American moms faced after the slaughter of the Civil War.
Recall that Mother’s Day was originated by Juliet Ward Howe not to fill restaurants or boost the stock of Hallmark cards but as an anti-militarism effort, to further the cause of peace.
In her 1870 Proclamation, Howe, after witnessing the suffering and horrors of the Civil War, laid the foundation for the theory that women as the more “tender” sex and better teachers of charity, mercy and patience, would naturally, if they gained power, put an end to the senselessness of wars.
However 142 years later, we see that the five most powerful women thus far in U.S. history, at a time when the United States has climbed to “military superpower” status in the world, are: Madeleine Albright, Condi Rice, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All are mothers (except Condi Rice)— and all are proving Howe’s theory completely wrong with their pronounced attitudes, actions and instigation of wars during the last two decades. This would probably make the founder of “Mothers Day for Peace” turn over in her grave.
In fact, defining aspects of these five most powerful women’s career stances and orientation towards military power jump out of their Wikipedia bios to vie with Henry Kissinger’s cold calculated Machiavellianism.
Feminizing War Does Work!
To sell it. Feminine faces and talk of noble humanitarian intentions prove useful as they serve to effectively soften and cover up the brutal bloodshed of U.S. wars and indiscriminate aerial and drone bombing that have killed countless civilians.
But this is not “soft power” or use of brains over brawn. The feminist war hawks don’t want to talk about the women and children victims of war — or even count them — any more than their male counterparts.
Perhaps due to naïveté or the sentiment expressed in Howe’s Peace Proclamation, many progressives and “liberal human rights” groups unfortunately are blindly swallowing, for instance, Power’s insidious but seductive “humanitarian war” theory which relies on sleight of hand utilitarianism and the concocting of a happy (but false or unprovable) outcome to divert attention away from unlawful, immoral, brutal means.
The female “humanitarian” warhawks’ insistence that NATO bombing of Libya “prevented another Rwandan massacre” works in much the same way as “ticking time bomb” utilitarians like Dick Cheney dupe their own base by claiming to have prevented another terrorist attack through water-boarding.
People generally so want to believe in happy endings that they don’t carefully look at the (wrongful) means being used.
In actuality, the U.S.-NATO bombing for regime change killed tens of thousands of Libyans and installed a puppet government that is still reportedly committing human rights abuses. For a comprehensive refutation of “humanitarian military intervention” see “‘Responsibility to Protect” as Imperial Tool: the Case for a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy” by Jean Bricmont (Feb, 2012) for an expose of how instituting harsh economic sanctions on Syria, said to be for “humanitarian purposes” actually encourage the very violence – if starvation and disease constitute violence – that their proponents claim to oppose.
Senator Jim Webb and Congressman Walter Jones have concerns about the ease of “humanitarian war” and are not so easily charmed or misled. They are to be praised for having introduced legislation to make it impossible for Obama to launch preventive military actions based merely on findings by Samantha Power’s Board without congressional approval per the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has previously claimed this power.
When Mothers Need to Prove Their Toughness
Getting back to the issue of Mothers Day for Peace, were Juliet Ward Howe’s notions (or hopes) about women just over-romantic? Or is there another explanation for why and how liberal expectations could be so off-base vis a vis the reality of the current crop of increasingly powerful feminist war hawks? (Feminist war-hawks who have overcome their male military colleagues’ reluctance to wage preventive war?!)
One possible explanation might lie in the kind of “Napoleonic Complex” that tends to force the first women pioneers entering a previously male-dominated profession or area to prove themselves as tough or tougher than the men.
Theoretically Juliet Ward Howe could still be right about the potential of a new women-inspired/initiated era for peace down the road. The need to prove “toughness” might lead the “weaker gender” to over-compensate for a time, but only until there are equal or greater numbers of women at the highest levels of governmental command. At the present time, sadly enough, I see only more female war-hawks knocking on the gates of power.