Category Archives: anti-war

World War III ?

“What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.” Donald J. Trump, August 29, 2013, Twitter.

Perhaps Donald Trump should start re-reading his own tweets and take his own advice. Of course Trump’s failure to follow the Constitution with respect to waging war is the least troublesome aspect of the US’s latest incursion into Syria (Presidents have been doing this since Reagan). What’s more frightening is that Trump can be so easily manipulated by such an obvious attempt at foreign policy puppetry by the Deep State (aka The Swamp, the entrenched unelected bureaucrats of the various intelligence agencies both foreign and domestic).

Just step back for a second and consider what we have witnessed this past few weeks. On March 29 Trump announced plans to begin pulling US troop presence out of Syria (much to the consternation of his hawkish advisors e.g the war monger John Bolton) and by that evening he already began to back pedal on that promise. Then a mere 7 days later there was an apparent chemical weapons attack by Syrian forces against rebel groups putatively ordered by Assad. For Assad tactically this makes no sense. So an occupying force in your country, whom you do not want there, says they are leaving and your first instinct is to do something so belligerently provocative that said occupying force would have no alternative but to stay? That does not benefit Assad at all. But do you know who it does benefit? It benefits the war hawks who are plugged into the military industrial complex (that Eisenhower so presciently warned us of) looking to enhance their own fiscal or power gains. Or the sad ideologues who still drink their own lemonade of believing they can somehow transform the Middle East into some sort of Western Democratic utopia. Yeah, because that model has worked so well in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So while there was much conflicting information on the ground coming out of Syria about who carried out these attacks or whether they even took place at all, the war hawks realized they must strike fast while emotions were still running hot lest they lose the wind filling the sails of the ships headed toward war. On this past Friday the US launched a strike against supposed Syrian chemical weapons sites. Unfortunately they (and we) may get a lot more than they bargained for. Russia clearly and unequivocally warned that any such strikes would be met with an equal response. For those unfamiliar with World War I, this is exactly how World Wars get started. Each side drawing lines in the sand and gathering ever larger groups of allies on both sides. As each side begins to escalate their responses we may quickly find ourselves embroiled in nuclear war. And for what? For nothing. For either a blatant lie or for an internal heinous act that is quite frankly not in any way related to the defense or security of the United States. It would be like Russia stating it is in Russian security interests to bomb ATF headquarters after our government slaughtered innocent civilians and children in Waco, Texas.

If Trump is truly concerned with ending the deaths of innocents perhaps he should end our support of Saudi Arabia in their incursion into Yemen that is resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Yemenis children. Oh, but the Saudis are our allies, so that makes it ok when they slaughter innocents. Right, got it, murder is ok when it’s our friends. Donald Trump is just Hillary Clinton with tax cuts. As a New York Times best-selling author and historian Thomas Woods says, “No matter who elect you always get John McCain.”

Vain Pursuits

It is a curious artifact of American politics that the showcasing of a soldier’s widow (as Trump did during his recent address of a joint session of Congress) has the opposite effect one might imagine. If little Johnny were brought before the class by his teacher to show them how he lost a finger playing with firecrackers, one might expect that frightful outcome would instill in the other children a sense that perhaps holding a lit firecracker in your hand is perhaps not a good idea. We would not expect the children to feel emboldened to engage in the same activity.

Likewise, shouldn’t parading the grieving loved ones of fallen soldiers instill in our “leaders” an instinct to be more parsimonious when using this scarce human capital? We would hope they would become progressively less inclined to engage in bellicose rhetoric that necessitates sending soldiers into harms way. But no, it has the opposite effect. In order ensure the recently departed have not “died in vain” and to defend the “honor” of the country, the leaders become even more inclined to retaliate or engage in new overseas adventures with the supposed goal of “furthering US interests” or “consolidating US power.” Why is that? Because for all the high-minded sounding rhetoric (equality, peace, freedom) and apparently “civilized” structure of the modern democratic state these political decisions still turn on raw emotions. The same emotions that drove primitive bands of hunter-gatherers to raid each other’s villages today drive men in suits sitting under gold domes to murder people half a world away. There is no logic, there is no thought, just raw, visceral emotions of revenge, anger, and pride, all wrapped up in some twisted nationalistic package we label patriotism and uniformly applaud like trained seals when shoved in our faces.

Patriotism, literally “love of one’s country” drives not just American leaders but every other country’s ruling elite to engage in the stupidest, most ill advised behavior – from hot wars to trade wars – all to advance the goal of autarky in an “us vs. them” board game. I suppose it is true what they say, “love is blind,” but in combination with political power this aphorism becomes lethal if love of country blinds one to reason and logic. In the war on terror reason and logic would dictate that blowback and the desire to control others is the proximate cause of virtually the entire problem of terrorism. Stop throwing rocks at the hornet’s net if you want to stop getting stung; beating it harder only makes the problem worse.

You’d think we all want no more widows and orphans resulting from pursuing inane policies. That should have been the point of shoving into the face of Congress the results of their polices. If we keep wasting these fine men and women in vain political pursuits, we will one day find no one left to defend us from an actual external attack.

Never Forget

“We will never forget.” This sentiment is nearly universally applied in remembrance of the September 11 anniversary. But what does it mean? Since most do not personally know someone who perished, it is doubtful it is intended to memorialize a particular individual. Rather, it is intended as a warning to those that attacked us, “I will never forget how you hurt us; you will pay for what you have done.” It is a passive-aggressive remembrance. But when a bee stings someone perhaps it is more fruitful to try understanding why they got stung than to wage war against the hive. Yes, the bee stung me and that rightfully makes me angry, but, perhaps my buddy should not have thrown that rock at the hive five minutes earlier. Maybe, just maybe, that had something to do with it. Sometimes we pay the price for the misdeeds of others. It is not fair. It is not right. We can’t change the past. But we can change the future by learning from the past.

Instead of being led by the nose, we need to start asking the questions we’re not supposed to ask. If the 9-11 assailants did what they did because they hate us for our freedom, then why have there not been attacks on every “free” western democracy for the past two hundred years? For some reason the history books seem to be silent on jihad-style attacks in the 1920’s or 1870’s. I wonder why. It is odd that the “modern” notion of Islamic extremist only developed post 1950’s. Let’s not forget that the US and UK governments played a hand in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état that saw the democratically elected Mosaddegh ousted in favor of a puppet dictator (the Shah). Let’s not forget that the Middle East was arbitrarily carved up by European powers in the wake of World War I and II. Let’s not forget Israel was created in 1948 by the UN by forcible removal of people from their homes. There is no single cause to this mess, but, that is the nature of an abusive relationship. A multitude of transgressions, large and small, will after many years culminate in a response. An abused spouse may long endure abuse until finally one day they strike back, violently. Such events do not occur in a vacuum.

To be clear, this is not “blaming America,” unless you subscribe to the fallacy that America is its government. Consider: my neighbor repeatedly tosses his dog’s poop over his fence into another neighborhood despite their protestations to cease such behavior. Then one day those neighbors toss a grenade back which also results in my house being damaged. I’m going to darn well blame them both! My neighbor’s actions precipitated this response. Stating that my neighbor played a hand in those events does not mean I’m disloyal to my neighborhood and blaming my neighborhood. A member of the group is not the group itself. Repeat after me: blaming our government is not blaming America. That is the lesson we should never forget: the actions of those we elect have consequences.

The Freedom Illusion

Today I write this article on Memorial Day while visiting a country (Germany) that those we honor today arguably did fight to bring freedom to. Although to be precise that was only an indirect consequence of the war. They were actually fighting to stop the military encroachment of Germany on its neighbors. Had Germany been content to stay within its borders and continue on with the fascist policies of the National Socialists it is no doubt certain Americans would have not gone there to “fight for freedom.” I have often heard the phrase “as the world watched in horror” concerning the atrocities of World War II. But that is not entirely true. Some may have watched in horror, but the vast majority of people both inside and outside those countries run by fascist regimes (Germany, Italy, Spain) simply watched and shrugged their shoulders. Nothing to see here, after all, the law is the law.

Today with our 20/20 hindsight we can clearly see the violations of human liberty that occur under such fascist regimes. Now we beat our chests about how such violations of freedom must be opposed. All the while we remain blind to the violations of liberty occurring in our midst. If we open our eyes what do we see? Well if we can manage to wipe the fog from the lenses of our rose colored glasses we can see most ruling regimes follow that same fascist template we now so heartily decry. Fascism originated in World War I Italy and came to prominence under Mussolini. Others soon followed (Hitler in Germany, Franco in Spain) along with our own FDR. Fortunately we had a Supreme Court that tempered some of FDR’s alphabet soup of new “public-private partnership” agencies, but America was clearly on a fascist path. Today we are on that path yet again. To be clear, Fascism is not Nazism. Fascism is better known today as Corporatism, or Crony-Capitalism. It is a tight alliance between business and the state wherein the state calls the shots and the businesses that are serving the interests of the state collaboratively comply (energy independence, environmentalism, healthcare, education, etc). And everyone cheers the perceived benefits of sacrificed freedom.

So on this Memorial Day honor those that believed they were fighting for our freedom by recognizing the direction the world is headed in. Consider for a moment how much freedom we have already sacrificed in our permission based society. One is not free if one must ask permission to: start a business, get a job, hire employees, drive a cab, sell a product or service, keep their income, cross a border, get married, own a home. One is not free if one is subject to search and seizure in their own home or for merely walking or driving because they might have in their possession that is not approved. And on and on.

Honor the fallen (and those still with us) by fighting to both regain freedoms lost and by not sacrificing any more freedom. What the state gives us in return is either an illusion (safety) or that which we could have achieved on our own as free individuals.

Called to serve?

Top military leaders this past week called for expanding the Selective Service System (the registration wing of the currently idle, but easily re-activated, draft) to include women. Their narrative is that it is simply a matter of fairness. Women currently serve in all branches of the military just as capably as men, so at face value there really is no practical reason to continue excluding them from registration. The fact that this is being brought up now may be entirely innocuous; it was bound to happen sooner or later. Or, it could be an omen that signals this country is setting down a path of expanding, not contracting, its role of interfering in the affairs of foreign nations. An expanding global empire after all requires an expanding police force to maintain order. After more than ten long years of endless warfare our currently all volunteer armed forces is thinning out as they are stretched like an ever expanding net around a globe that refuses to be tamed by American hegemony.

The principled position regarding the SSS and the draft for which it stands is that it is an abhorrent violation of the rights of the individual. It treats our sons and (soon) daughters as mere chattel to be deployed by the state for whatever capricious whim those in power decide will benefit them and their cronies – all the while cloaking such moves under the flag of “patriotism”. Some try to claim it is one’s “civic duty” to serve if called upon by their country but that is but a smokescreen; all civic duties are forms of slavery, differing only in degree but not kind from the more familiar chattel slavery (lack of consent is at the heart of the evilness of slavery). Attempts to legitimizing slavery by calling it something noble is a ploy worthy of the Devil but not honest men. We may recoil in horror at stories of armed guerrillas in some far off country kidnapping young men and boys in order to dragoon them into service for their cause – but, in substance, it is no different than a draft into the armed forces of a modern state. A young person, against their will, is forced to take up arms and murder other human beings (or assist in that murder), and if they do not then they are put to death or imprisoned for decades by their own supposed “countrymen.”

Currently the draft is “inactive”, however the law is still on the books and it can be re-activated at a moment’s notice. For those without children between the ages of 18-26 this may not register on your political radar, but believe me, for those of us with children in this age group (like myself) it is cold comfort that it is inactive when we see that our next President will likely be one of the warmongers Trump, Cruz, or Clinton.

Some have argued it is actually beneficial to have an active draft in place, as it makes politicians more cautious about sending the sons (or daughters) of their constituents off to die. However I think Vietnam put the lie to that argument. President Johnson was all to happy to send 58,000 young men to their death in an utterly pointless conflict that had zero bearing on US security. Now consider that conflicts in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq also have had zero relevance to US security and we see that politicians will never tire of wasting American lives and treasure in fruitless endeavors. All the more reason to completely end the draft and the SSS once and for all. Women should not welcome this kind of equality.

If the US mainland were actually threatened or attacked the problem would not be getting recruits, it would be organizing the overwhelming number trying to join the fight. By and large most feel the instinct to defend what is theirs; after 9/11 recruitment levels sored. Declining numbers in the volunteer armed forces is not an indication of declining patriotism. Rather it is voting by deed, and this vote loudly proclaims the American population does not view with much seriousness the shrill warnings from the ruling class that danger threatens us on every front. Particularly when those fronts are 8,000 miles away.

Entangling Alliances

The recent downing of a Russian military jet by Turkey should serve as a reminder of the sage advice of Thomas Jefferson during his inaugural address, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.” It is that last bit – “entangling alliances with none” that is most apropos. Turkey is a member of NATO, as is the US and virtually all other Western European countries. For anyone mindful of the deadly domino effect that plunged Europe into World War I (the assassination of a single man), this recent series of events should be a wake up call to de-escalate this situation as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, so far it seems Russia has shown an incredible level of restraint; one can only imagine the outpouring of jingoistic bellicosity had a US jet be downed by a close Russian ally. This may be simply that Russia is formulating a strategically crippling blow to Turkey or that it plans to milk this event diplomatically for all it is worth considering that Russian presently occupies the catbird seat of moral authority. The Russian jet was shot down and its pilots assassinated mid-air after entering Turkish airspace for a mere 17 seconds. Although Turkey insists the plane was warned for approximately 10 minutes to veer away lest it enter Turkish airspace, the standard course of action is to fire warning shots or to “escort” the plane back to the border. Yes, if Russia violated the airspace Turkey had a right to respond – proportionately. Mere flight is not in and of itself provocative enough to warrant instantaneous death, particularly when geographically it is the equivalent of flying over Key West and claiming a gross violation of the airspace of the US mainland. What Turkey did is akin to shooting the neighbor’s dog because it urinated on the edge of your lawn.

The magnitude of the overreaction by Turkey suggests something more is going on here. As it turns out this trivial border violation was but a pretext for Turkey to do what it has long wanted to do: directly provide military support for the Turkmen rebels in northern Syria who are fighting against Assad. The “airspace” violation merely provided cover to tactically engage with Russia without fully committing itself to an all out war with Russia over Syria. In other words, this was a sucker punch against a stronger opponent. Sometimes that tactic makes your opponent angry, but sometimes it stuns them into retreat. The outcome remains to be seen here.

So why attack that particular plane? It was on a well-known route that would end in it bombing regions of Syria where Turkmen reside. Russia has been bombing not only ISIS forces but also all those that oppose Assad, and this includes the Turkmen rebels fighting with the Free Syrian Army in the north. Sure enough, after the plane was shot down those Turkmen rebels shot and killed both airmen and destroyed a Russian rescue helicopter – with U.S.-made and supplied TOW rockets no less. The Turkmen (as one could have guessed) are ethnically Turkish but who happen to live on the wrong side of the arbitrarily drawn borders following the western led partitioning of the former Ottoman empire after World War I. Those arbitrary borders resulted in the Turkmen being inside what is today known as Syria. Turkey has long had an interest in aiding their ethnic siblings. Assad is no saint and has long suppressed the Turkmen minority (through attempts to Arabicize them, land seizures, and the banning of Turkish language). So to be sure there is plenty of blame to go around; there are no “good guys” in this Syrian conflict – not even the US, who in an attempt to undermine Assad (in furtherance of aiding our ally Turkey) gave arms to “Syrian rebels” who eventually morphed into ISIS and now threaten the stability of the entire region.

So in other words, our “entangling alliance” with Turkey, a moderate Islamic ally no doubt, resulted in the US directly playing a role in the creation of the most radical Islamic regime this world has even seen: ISIS. If the US is not careful, our entangling alliance with NATO and the requirement we come to the aid of NATO members who come under attack (i.e. Russian attacking Turkey in retaliation) may very well plunge us into World War III with a nuclear capable rival. Be afraid, be very afraid.

The Rise of Radicalism

In my prior article I made the argument that the real reason the terrorists target the US and other Western countries is not because they “hate us for our freedom” but rather that they hate us for interfering in their lives. The US and other Western nations (such as France) have a long and sordid history of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, be it either operative-fomented coup d’états or outright military actions. There is a willfully selective blindness in the west that allows us to only see where we are but not how we arrived. But, my point is not to rehash my prior thesis but to respond to one of the stronger objections to it. It has been pointed out that this sort of argument ignores the fact that radical Islam truly wants all non-believers to die, that it is akin to Nazism and must be wiped out – those making that argument are correct, but not in the way they presume. Yes, indeed there are some adherents of Islam that believe these sorts of things. They are called radicals. Within any group of humans that subscribes to some ideological concept there are those who lie on the fringe and have their own unique interpretation of the group’s ideas. These ideas, by virtue of being “fringe,” are in the minority; the rest of the group quietly ignores such types lest mere acknowledgement of their ideas imply tacit acceptance.

For example, there are fringe groups who use the Bible as justification for their belief that the earth is flat, that “kinds” should be separated and thus racism is a “Godly” viewpoint, or that firebombing abortion clinics and murdering the abortionists is legitimate. Now of course all of us in the majority disagree with these viewpoints and claim their interpretation is obviously faulty, but nevertheless they still make the claim. So maybe, just maybe, radical Islamists fall into the same category of distorted interpretation. I imagine for every cherry picked outrageous phrase from the Koran one can find an equally outrageous cherry picked line from the Bible. Are we to honestly believe that ALL of Islam 100% agrees on the violent and hateful interpretations of such cherry picked lines? Christianity alone is proof of man’s inability to agree on anything. For something that is supposed to be the absolute word of God (the Bible) there sure are an awful lot of denominations with differing viewpoints on various aspects of scripture. Yet somehow we are supposed to believe that there is absolute solidarity among Muslims with regards to their scriptural interpretation.

The truth of the matter is that yes there are indeed radical Islamists that do believe we should all die, but it is the ignorant and ham-fisted actions of the west in the Middle East (primarily since the end of World War II) that have given their crazy viewpoint more credence and expanded their sphere of influence among fellow Muslims. When the radicals preach that the non-believers are devils who will come to kill them and destroy their way of life and then an endless onslaught of non-believers comes in and does exactly as they predicted year after year that tends to strengthen, not weaken, the position of those making the prediction. So the more any country occupies, bombs, and overthrows ruling regimes in Muslim countries the more they play right into the narrative the radicals are selling. This bolsters their authority and makes it that much easier for them to win more recruits and adherents. More bombs feed the flame of radicalism, they do not extinguish it.

Think of it like this: the majority of people view white supremacists as radicals, but now imagine what would happen if there were a massive and organized movement wherein all non-whites started killing white people en masse. Do you not believe this would have more and more people listening to what these white supremacists had to say? The longer such attacks continued the more and more people would turn to their ideas and do whatever they said in order to protect themselves. Then, one day they would no longer be a “radical” group but instead would represent the mainstream. This is what nearly 70 years of open and clandestine interference in the Middle east has wrought: turning the followers of a small and obscure sect of Islam into a growing force that will someday soon become the dominant authority. Apropos the Hitler reference: the only reason we had to fight Hitler is because the American government (by virtue of Wilson’s desire to plunge us into WWI) had a hand in creating the onerous Treaty of Versailles that primed Germans to welcome his radical rhetoric and ensured his rise to mainstream power.

If a drug company invented both a disease and the drug to cure it there would be outrage, yet when the state creates our enemies that only it can now slay we welcome it with open arms and applause.

Games without Frontiers

As the horrific events unfolded last Friday in Paris before a world stage, we, the audience, sat in stunned silence as waves of helplessness washed over us. If only we could protect those in harms way and end the madness. This sense of helpless resignation caused me to reflect on a line from Peter Gabriel’s song “Games with Frontiers” – ‘In games without frontiers, war without tears.’ Indeed this would seem contradictory, as this was a time for tears; however, for those in control of the game, there are no tears. This ‘war on terror’ is a boundless chess match in which the ‘leaders’ on all sides are utterly lacking in remorse when a few of us pawns get knocked over. They may wear their heart on their sleeve when addressing the masses, but when the cameras are off the mask of empathy is stripped away. Were this not true they would endeavor to engage in peaceful dialogues or simply withdraw rather than doubling down on the violence (which as I write this France has already done). As each side lobs their bombs at each other, we pawns become haplessly caught in the crossfire (the 9/11 attacks, Malaysia Air 17, Pan Am 103, Iran Air 655, Bali bombings, Russian Metrojet 9268, London bombings, countless others, and now, Paris). When will it end? If our ‘leaders’ have their way, never. All leaders have an agenda. Agendas require power to execute. Leaders derive their power from others willingly giving it to them. So like the con artist, they use deception to trick their target into willingly giving them what they want. When we feel unsafe we turn to those who claim they will restore what we desire. Problem is, those who promise that are the ones who precipitated the events that we now fear. But like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, we fall for it every time.

This pattern of misdirection to reinforce one’s power position is not unique to the West. All conflict involves two parties fighting over some real or imagined initial injury. But human pride is such that neither side will ever back down. You attack me, I attack you, ad infinitum. At some point all conflicts distill down to the point that no one even remembers what started the conflict, only that they must strike back to get back for the prior strike upon them. This is where we are today. Feuds going back dozens, hundreds, or thousands of years drive just about every conflict in the world today. The leaders justify continued attacks by dehumanizing the opponent and his motivations into an absurd caricature that allows us all to feel justified in mass murder. Both sides do it, but the irony is we laugh at the ludicrousness of others being angry at the US because they think we are the “devil” but take with deadly seriousness being told we are attacked because we are free. To see the lie in that statement all we need to do is witness the words and deeds of these so called haters of freedom. Osama bin Laden put that one to rest over 10 years ago when he stated “If Bush says we hate freedom, let him tell us why we didn’t attack Sweden”. Then even more usefully he tells us how we can end their motivation to attack us, “the best way to avoid another Manhattan is to not threaten the security of Muslim nations, such as Palestine and Lebanon”.

If we truly wish to “do something” to prevent future attacks then please channel some of the energy you used in changing your Facebook profile to demonstrate solidarity with France into the more useful endeavor of supporting leaders that promise to withdraw our military and political presence from foreign soils where we have no business. If we withdraw from and ignore those who hate us we defuse the ability of their leaders to demonstrate how “bad” we are to their would be fighters. Few want to fight an enemy that has done nothing to them in ten years. Let’s start that clock now.

Consider how angry and upset we are over these attacks in Paris and then reflect on the fact that similar attacks occur on an almost monthly basis by drone and yet we hear nothing about it. Innocents murdered in cold blood and yet from the media all we hear are crickets. Those affected are just as upset as we are now and such actions only serve to keep the feud alive.

If a drone destroyed your child’s school or a mall where your loved ones were shopping (or even a hospital) would you not feel a sense of overwhelming rage and a desire to “get back” at whoever sent that drone? I am not suggesting such actions motivated by revenge are justified, but rather simply pointing out that this desire for revenge is a natural, primal human response. So given this knowledge, why do we keep throwing rocks at the hornet’s nest if we know the hornets will without fail sting us?

Imagine

This one still gives me chills. It touches on a visceral emotion that all humans share, namely the instinct to defend oneself and ones loved ones from actual (not hypothetical) aggression. We know how we (Americans) would react… why is it so hard to understand that others respond the same way?

 

Ron Paul, March 11, 2009

“Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”

Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up checkpoints on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.

Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.

Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.

The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe-straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment towards us.

According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of re-evaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn’t stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. 50,000 troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.

Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.”
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Imagine!: speech written & given by Ron Paul

CREDITS:
Ron Paul for the speech
Voice & Music: Jeremy Hoop
Video animation: Nicholas Bozman & MysteryBox. http://mysterybox.us

Tiger by the Tail

With the ongoing debate about the “Iran Deal” and whether or not it is “good” or “bad” no one has thought to ask why should there be a “deal” at all. Think about it – wherefrom does the United States, or any other country, assert the right to dictate to other nations what they may or may not do within their own borders? Do you think our government or citizenry would stand for one second if say France, Brazil, and Argentina got together and told the US government it must immediately cease all production of nuclear weapons and dispose of those that it had? The idea is laughable and yet that is exactly what our government, in league with other countries, is dictating to the Iranian government. Now make no mistake, I’m no apologist for the Iranian government. All governments are so bad the only way to rank them is from least bad to worst. But, if we are to accept the narrative of the statists, namely that the people’s of each country have the right to elect their own government (and yes, Iran is a republic with elections) and be ruled by them without external influence, then certainly the hubris of demanding that the people of Iran beg for permission to behave as other countries is evidence of rank hypocrisy.

Nobody asks why are trying to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. To answer that we must ask why do we think they would behave any differently than other bomb-holding nations. The simplistic answer is, “they hate us” or “they hate Israel”. But why? People don’t just start hating other people for no reason whatsoever. Some might say it is their religion that drives them to hate us. But if so, then it seems quite odd none of these feeling manifested themselves prior to 1953. What’s so special about that year? Well it is the year the UK and US governments orchestrated a coup of the democratically elected Prime Minster of Iran, Mosaddegh, and the installation of our puppet dictator the Shah. Perhaps living 25 years under the Shahs’ brutal regime tended to foster a bit of resentment among the populace. Perhaps US aid to our good friend Saddam Hussein and Iraq in its war against Iran in the 1980’s made them somewhat skeptical of the neutrality of the US. That’s not to say that if Iran did acquire a bomb and used it that it would be justified, but it would at least be understandable in the same sense we can understand why a battered wife, after enduring years of abuse, would buy a gun and kill her husband. As our fictional friend Commander William Adama once said, “Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.”

Like a parent who abused their children when they were young and helpless, there comes a day when those children grow up ready to strike back. This deal is an attempt to forestall that inevitable day of reckoning a bit longer. We have been propagandized to fear that day will be marked with a mushroom cloud. But the ruling class knows that won’t happen, they are far more concerned that if Iran acquires nuclear capability then their power and influence will be reduced and they will have no choice but to treat Iran as an equal (or at least no longer meddle with them). North Korea has a far more evil government than Iran and yet we hear nothing in regards to “regime change”. It couldn’t be because North Korea has a nuclear weapon could it? Just as a gun on the hip commanded respect in the old west, so today does a nuke in ones arsenal grant one the right to be left alone. The idea that Iran would nuke Israel is laughable. Israel has its own nukes and would instantly respond in kind. But even more so, the geography of it makes no sense. It would be like New Jersey nuking Long Island and expecting Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut to not get upset by having a nuke dropped in their backyard.

Iran is like a mistreated tiger that we have firmly grasped by the tail. We know if we let go we may very well get bit, or worse. But that cannot go on forever. Someday we must let go. Perhaps if we do so voluntarily by lifting all sanctions and extending a hand of respect and friendship we can show we are serious about making amends for the past misdeeds of our government. That will not only pave the path toward real peace but will disarm the arguments of those in the Iranian government who, like our own chicken hawk Neocons, are saber rattling, using our bellicose behavior as proof of their need to strike against us. Remember, the Japanese didn’t just wake up one day and decide to bomb Pearl Harbor; the US had a years long Naval blockade – economic sanctions – on Japan. Actions have consequences. Some say to have peace you must prepare for war, but sometimes preparing for war sends the signal that there can be no peace.