Archive for the ‘War’ Category

President Obama’s Legacy

January 12, 2017

I didn’t watch the other night, but I’m guessing President Obama didn’t cover how his presidency solidified perpetual warfare:

In a report to Congress submitted 90 days after the war began, Obama asserted that since U.S. airstrikes didn’t involve “the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof,” the WPR’s limits didn’t apply. In plainer language: If you’re bombing a country that can’t hit you back, you’re not engaged in “hostilities.”

It’s a bizarre doctrine for a putatively humanitarian, internationalist president to advance: It’s not war if you’re only killing foreigners. But as U.S. remote-warfare capabilities increase, the precedent Obama set will prove useful to future presidents of any stripe.

More here.

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“Supporting” The Troops

November 9, 2015

What’s strange is that demanding an end to the wars in which the troops are fighting, killing, and dying seems not to count as support. You’d think that the ultimate expression of support would be, “Bring them home now!” But that’s not how typical troop supporters see things. In fact, they think that’s the opposite of support—and even treason. Topsy-turvy.

While I believe their expressions of support are sincere, I also believe they haven’t thought things through. Good intentions aren’t enough. Their expressions in effect are only in support of the regime that moves the troops to dangerous spots on the map like pawns on a chessboard in the ruling elite’s geopolitical games.

More here.

Nation-Building In Afghanistan Continues Indefinitely

October 17, 2015

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Obama will keep the United States in Afghanistan past his presidency:

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asked the question that many Americans likely harbor: why are we still in Afghanistan more than 14 years after the initial invasion in response to the Taliban regime’s decision to shelter al Qaeda? It is an especially pertinent question since even the U.S. military concedes that there is no longer a significant al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan. We are now (and have been for several years) almost exclusively at war with the Taliban, whose agenda (while socially repulsive) is focused on that country and does not pose a credible threat to the American homeland.

More here.

Rand Paul vs. Ron Paul on ISIS

September 17, 2014

He doesn’t want an open-ended authorization of force and opposes Obama’s plans for arming the so-called moderate Syrian opposition.

But, Rand Paul made clear in a Sept. 4 editorial for Time, “I support destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militarily.”

His father, famously firm in his non-interventionist beliefs, doesn’t.

“If we weren’t there nobody would be getting killed,” Ron Paul says. “If ISIS still existed without us being there, maybe [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and maybe Iran would take care of them.”

“They hate each other and we hate ‘em all – except for the Free Syrian Army, those moderates who made $50,000 handing over the journalist to ISIS – if that isn’t an insane foreign policy I don’t know what the definition of insanity is,” he says, referring to reports that U.S.-backed rebels helped jihadis capture journalist Steven Sotloff, who was recently beheaded.

More here.

As horrible as the recent beheadings are, President Obama should only drop bombs if homeland security is at stake. It isn’t. The last thirteen years should have taught policymakers about the unintended consequences of robust military adventurism. Apparently it hasn’t.

More Involvement In Iraq?

June 19, 2014

From Andrew Napolitano’s column today:

Since Bush persuaded Congress and the American people in 2003 that an appropriate response to 9/11 somehow was an invasion of Iraq, that country’s stability has been undermined by the U.S., and it is now ripe for the sectarian violence that is devouring it. The stated purpose of the Iraq war was to root out weapons of mass destruction, which we now know did not exist there. Then the stated purpose became regime change, because Saddam tried to kill the elder President Bush. The other stated purpose of the war was our thoughtless embrace of the fanciful Bush doctrine, which was basically the rebranding of the discredited Wilsonian nonsense that we can use force to spread democracy.

That, too, failed profoundly. In the process, 5,000 Americans died; 45,000 Americans were injured; 650,000 Iraqis died; 2,000,000 Iraqis fled the country; a half-trillion dollars in Iraqi assets were destroyed; and we borrowed a trillion dollars to invade and occupy Iraq (and another trillion to invade and occupy Afghanistan), which we still owe to the people who loaned it to us. Al-Qaida, which was not present in Iraq before 2003, is now openly there along with ISIS, its sister organization that is about to conquer the most politically important parts of the country.

Apparently President Obama has ruled out sending combat troops to deal with the latest mess in Iraq, so at least THAT part is reassuring. The idea that the United States MUST be involved in a civil war between a murderous group of militants and a violent corrupt regime still rules the day, no matter how destabilizing the US presence has already been. We’re supposed to believe that THIS TIME the US really will bring stability to Iraq?

This Is What We Fought For?

June 15, 2014

Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki’s administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn’t need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more “anti-Iraqi” print shops.

More here.

Syria: Another Iraq??

September 3, 2013

1. The president claims chemical weapons could fall into terrorist hands.

2. The president brushes aside UN weapons inspectors.

3. The president is prepared to act, without support from the broader international community, tired of waiting for the UN to hold the rogue nation accountable.

4. The president does not believe he needs authorization from Congress to act.

5. The president is convinced our national security interests will be enhanced by taking military action.

This is what happened over 10 years ago when the Bush administration led us into Iraq. That left the United States with 4,500 dead soldiers. That left Iraq with 130,000 dead civilians and over 3 million refugees.

It’s happening again with President Obama’s belief we need to intervene in Syria. What’s going to happen to the Syrian people if we do attack?

President Obama has support, no matter how dubious that support is.

**UPDATE 9/11/13: For the moment, it appears we will not be launching missile strikes against Syria, per President Obama’s speech last night. I’m thankful restraint is being shown here, unlike Iraq. But he still asserts the right to act without congressional authority, is playing the “weapons to terrorists” card and the “they want freedom” card that we did in Iraq, and talks about not wanting to be the world’s policeman while assuming the responsibility as “the anchor of global security.” These ideas got America bogged down in needless war before.

Iraq at 10

March 19, 2013

Today is the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, the most godforsaken foreign policy decision to come out of Washington in my lifetime.

The costs: 4,500 US troop fatalities, 130,000 civilians chalked up to “collateral damage,” and $3.9 trillion.

Did this war serve any compelling national interest? Are the people of Iraq better off? Were the costs America endured in blood, treasure, and lost liberties really worth the overthrow of Saddam Hussein?

These are really uncomfortable questions this country has to come to grips with.

The Presidential Foreign Policy “Debate”

October 22, 2012

So will the candidates acknowledge how Obama’s drone campaign adds nothing to American security while creating hell-on-earth for ordinary citizens of the Arab world and facilitating anti-American beliefs?? Will they acknowledge perpetual warfare is a recipe for failure??

Informative Link on Defense Sequestration Cuts

August 12, 2012

I highly recommend this informative article on the pending defense cuts. Lots of fear-mongering over what would amount to (according to the article) 7% less spending on defense a year. Considering all the unnecessary spending on military adventurism that doesn’t make us safe, and all the money given to defense contractors building outrageously expensive weaponry (much of which isn’t relevant in our post-Cold War era), I find it offensive that trimming 7% from a $1.4 TRILLION budget is considered “catastrophic” when we need to be trimming a hell of a lot more.

UPDATE 8/22/12: The numbers are slightly different than above, but here’s what defense sequestration looks like in graph form.