Category Archives: Neoconservatism

Afghanistan Now Another Korea: How Did American Taxpayers Become Financially Responsible for the Liberty and Security of Every Soul on the Planet?

anotherPresident Obama announced Thursday that the present deployment of 9,800 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan throughout the remainder of his term as president. The president cited the “safe haven” narrative to justify changing his former plan to withdraw from the war-torn nation in 2016.

“As commander in chief, I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again,” Obama said. “Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be.”

A few days earlier, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley told Morning Joe, “I think Afghanistan, as long as we stick with them, and we continue with the current program, and continue to resource that appropriately, I think Afghanistan will turn out ok.” When asked what “Ok” means, Milley gave substantively the same answer.

This is important, because it attempts to establish that U.S. military operations in the Middle East are somehow protecting the lives, liberty or property of American taxpayers. Supposedly, having “safe haven” camps to train and “radicalize” new terrorists is an essential element in the ongoing jihad against the United States.

It’s a convenient story, but it isn’t remotely true. That terrorists need to be “radicalized” in overseas camps before they’ll commit terrorist attacks in America wasproven demonstrably false by the Tsarnaev brothers in 2012. U.S. authorities tried desperately to establish the elder Tsarnaev had joined a militant group in Dagestan before plotting to kill innocent people in Boston, but failed. It turned out he had been radicalized right here in the USA.

That there are terrorists who seek to inflict harm on Americans is not in dispute. But who they are, how they’re organized, what motivates them and how effective conventional military tactics are in fighting them definitely is.

If you’re feeling outrageously generous and decide to give the government the benefit of the doubt on the Middle East, there is still the rest of the world to deal with. Why are 38,015 American troops still stationed in Germany? Why are 49,030 still in Japan and 29,041 still in Korea?

This is where supporters of the American empire start talking gibberish. They serve up empty slogans about America being “exceptional” and having a “special mission on the world stage.” We’re told that when America pulls back from “engagement” (i.e. bombing and invading) in any particular region, other countries will “fill the void.”

So what?

How are American taxpayers harmed if Germany, France and England “fill the void” left by demobilization of American troops in Europe? The troops were initially deployed as occupiers after WWII and remained during the Cold War as a deterrent to the Soviet Union.

Both the Nazis and the Soviets are long gone. That Putin represents the same kind of threat to Europe as Stalin or Khrushchev, based solely on Putin’s efforts to protect to Russia’s only two warm water ports, in Crimea and Syria, is patently absurd. Even if it weren’t, why are American taxpayers financially responsible to deter him?

American troops have been deployed almost as long in South Korea, supposedly protecting one of the richest countries in the world from one of the poorest. Why?

There seems even less reason for American troops to remain in Japan, where they were stationed to occupy the Japanese Empire following its surrender to the United States in 1945. Seventy years later, they’re still there. Why?

One justification given for the deployments in Japan are to “contain China.” Putting aside that the government is failing miserably at doing so, what benefit would American taxpayers derive from containing China if it could be done? What theoretical harm comes to them if China is not contained?

Once the ridiculous arguments are disposed of for how these military operations actually benefit the people who pay for them, proponents typically fall back on appeals to Americans’ generosity. Because they are lucky enough to live in the richest, most powerful nation in the world, they are somehow obligated to go broke defending every other. This begs the question:

How did American taxpayers become financially responsible for the liberty and security of every soul on the planet and when will this responsibility end?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Egypt in flames: A perfect metaphor for U.S. foreign policy

TAMPA, August 19, 2013 – At least 64 more people died in Egypt Friday as fighting erupted between Muslim Brotherhood-led supporters of ousted president Mohmmad Morsi and armed civilians who oppose them. Police officers were among those killed, some possibly fighting out of uniform with vigilante forces.

The Brotherhood has called for daily protests “until the coup ends,” meaning that the democratically-elected Morsi is returned to power. With chances of that close to zero, there is no clear pathway to an end to the carnage.

Egypt is in flames. It is a perfect metaphor for U.S. foreign policy.

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he was canceling joint military training exercises with the Egyptian military. “Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” the president said.

The civilians are being killed with weapons purchased with U.S. foreign aid to Egypt.

Just two years ago, the Obama administration materially supported the “pro-democracy” revolution against Hosni Mubarak, but has refused to condemn the Egyptian military’s deposing of Morsi.

If the administration were to recognize that as a coup, it would be legally required to cut off military aid.

Meanwhile, the administration is supporting a rebellion against President Assad of Syria. That has strained relations with Russia, a longtime ally of Syria and supporter of the multi-generational Assad regime. Russian president Vladimir Putin has publicly questioned why the United States is supporting rebel forces in Syria that include Al Qaeda after fighting extended wars against Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tension may have influenced Putin’s decision to grant asylum to fugitive Edward Snowden. In response to that, Obama cancelled a scheduled meeting with Putin.

The failures are not confined to the Obama administration.

The Bush administration reacted to 9/11 the way FDR reacted to Pearl Harbor. It attempted to wage conventional war against an unconventional enemy.

“Mission accomplished,” declared President Bush in May, 2003, after U.S. forces had marched into the Iraqi capital, the traditional measure of victory in a conventional war.

The problem was that Saddam Hussein’s forces weren’t the real enemy. Eight years later, the U.S. left Iraq a nation in chaos, its infrastructure razed, two million refugees displaced, an ancient Christian community destroyed, and a government with strong ties to Iran.

“No one in his right mind speaks of a U.S. victory in Iraq these days,” wrote former Congressman Ron Paul.

Paul also noted that the Taliban has recently opened an office on Doha, Qatar, where it will negotiate with the U.S. on ending the war in Afghanistan. Few doubt that the Taliban will be a major influence in Afghanistan, if they don’t eventually return to power altogether, after the U.S. withdraws.

The entire, twelve-year U.S. adventure in the Middle East has been an unmitigated disaster, using any of the measures of success offered by its proponents.

It did not neutralize weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They didn’t exist.

It did not permanently depose the Taliban.

It did not eliminate or even reduce al Qaeda, which filled every vacuum created by U.S. arms.

It has not made the Middle East more stable.

It certainly has not made Americans freer. The Patriot Act, the TSA, NSA collection of phone and e-mail data, indefinite detention without due process and the presidential kill list have all accompanied the war on terror. While military intervention did not cause these domestic policies, it has done nothing to reduce the perceived need for them.

The U.S. has learned nothing from the Cold War. The two significant military interventions during that period were its only failures. The U.S. left Viet Nam in defeat. The Vietnamese largely abandoned communism on their own in the decades that followed.

The U.S. prevented North Korea from taking over South Korea, but still finds itself entangled in the six decade standoff that followed it. North Korea is one of the few truly communists countries left in the world, largely because an outside threat unites people behind the government.

It’s time to give serious consideration to a noninterventionist foreign policy. The results of trying to police the world and export democracy have been exactly the opposite of what was intended. It’s a lot like when the government intervenes into the economy. When it puts price controls on food to help the poor, it results in food shortages and the poor starve.

It is often said that if the United States did not have its massive military presence around the world, other powers like China would fill the void. Let them.

The idea that there is something to fear from potential rivals “controlling resources” is based upon economics as spurious as those employed by the price controllers. Natural resources are worth nothing if not sold to all potential buyers. Oil is not sold from government to government. It is sold to major exchanges and from there to the highest bidder.

While the United States is bankrupting itself blowing up bridges and then rebuilding them in Middle East backwaters, China is investing in resources in Africa and elsewhere. They do not appear worried about their security despite the absence of military bases outside their borders.

The interventionists would do well to read the inauguration speeches of the first 22 U.S. presidents. Regardless of their differences on domestic policy, their comments on foreign policy play like a broken record.

Nonintervention worked. It’s no coincidence that the United States rose from one of the poorest economies in the world to the mightiest economy in human history while this was its foreign policy. Being the world’s policeman has played a large part in reversing that trend.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

McCain, Bolton and the NeoCons are on the wrong side of history

TAMPA, January 31, 2013 — Republicans behind John McCain and the neoconservatives have picked the wrong fight. With the Democrats in the ascendancy and feeling confident enough to attack the Second Amendment for the first time in almost two decades, the Republicans need to pick some battles they can win if they want to survive the decade as a relevant political party.

Gun ownership would be a good one if their record on defending this right were better. Opposing Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense is not.

Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain made news today saying that Hagel was “on the wrong side of history” in opposing the troop surge in Iraq.

How ironic.

The troop surge during the Iraq War may or may not have achieved a temporary tactical objective, depending upon who you ask. It really doesn’t matter, because history will judge not only the Iraq War but the entire, neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC) as an utter failure.

The U.S. government’s invasion of Iraq removed a secular dictator who presided over a relatively modern, stable Middle Eastern nation and replaced it with utter chaos, out of which emerged an Islamic state with strong ties to the supposedly most dangerous American enemy in the region, Iran.

Apparently incapable of learning from even the most recent history, the U.S. government has achieved similar results supporting various Middle Eastern revolutions collectively known as “the Arab Spring.”

It is also about to achieve Viet Nam-like results in Afghanistan, where a Taliban return to power is likely when the U.S. government finally declares “victory” and triumphantly cuts its losses and gets out.

The whole, multi-decade adventure in the Middle East will have squandered trillions, cost millions of lives on all sides, and not only achieved nothing, but actually made the landscape in the Middle East much worse. If Islamic fundamentalism truly is a threat to the Western world, then PNAC has increased that threat by orders of magnitude.

History will judge PNAC and the neoconservatives harshly. The American public is already there. Americans are finally beginning to question the wisdom of trying to remake the rest of the world through military intervention. They are beginning to ask the crucial questions. What is the cause and effect relationship between invading Middle Eastern backwaters and my relative freedom or security? If we had not invaded Iraq, exactly how and why would I be less free?

Read the rest of the article at Communities@ Washington Times…