Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Going “abroad in search of monsters to destroy” is making more monsters

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 10.26 am

America is constantly abroad, constantly seeking monsters to destroy—monsters which, like the hydra of mythology or Marvel, only seem to multiply as we launch war after endless war.

As much as we may want to say, “America is coming to help,” it’s never that clear-cut, and innocent civilians too often pay the price.

As ISIS commits atrocity after atrocity, it is easy to wonder if this tragedy might have been prevented had the 2003 invasion of Iraq never occurred—if we’d listen to the wisdom of Founding Fathers like Adams…and Washington, and Franklin, and Jefferson, and Madison, and more.

Adams’ explanation of the dangers of foreign intervention is now writ large in the violence in Iraq and the suppression of civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism here at home:

[America] well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power.

She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.

For more than a decade, bipartisan U.S. foreign policy has been marked by fighting for causes that are not our own—and mired “beyond the power of extrication” in the inevitable mess which ensues.

The basic posture of our government toward our citizens has changed from liberty to force, as anyone with knowledge of the National Security Agency alone well knows.

And rather than standing as a beacon of hope and liberty for the world, American foreign policy has too often become one of failed and bloody micromanagement, a bull in the china shop that is the Middle East.

I don’t know how to “fix” Iraq. But I do know that what we’re doing—what we’ve been doing for more than decade now—isn’t working.

Maybe we could start over with the advice of John Quincy Adams, and once again make our motto “Freedom, Independence, Peace.”

Read the whole thing here.

3 out of 4 of Americans oppose re-invading Iraq because it is a really stupid idea

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 11.39 am

This week’s article is about the bipartisan push for a re-invasion of Iraq:

In the last two weeks, a terrorist group too radical even for Al-Qaeda to support, the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL), has swept through the Iraq, taking city after city en route to Baghdad.

This new round of chaos has been a dog whistle to the always eager interventionists. Suddenly, hawks like Dick Cheney, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham are booking interviews like it’s 2003, and they all have the same message: America has to go to war again to fix this mess.

Meanwhile, though President Obama initially said there would be “no boots on the ground,” he’s backtracked on that promise in record time. Servicemen are already on their way to Iraq, and drone strikes (which are a terrible option) have been suggested as well. (To his credit, Obama is at least speaking in more cautious terms than his neoconservative counterparts, though it remains to be seen if his actions will be similarly restrained.)

Obama, Cheney, and pals may be ginning up a new push for war, but most Americans have very different ideas. A recent poll shows that a whopping 74% of Americans oppose sending combat troops to Iraq, and a mere 16% are for it.

This is consistent with poll after poll in the last few years that show Americans are overwhelmingly sick of war and tired of our government’s refusal to mind its own business abroad. This desire for peace spans partisan lines, and it definitely includes rejecting of re-invasion of Iraq.

So why the huge difference between what most Americans want and what Washington is trying to force on us? Well, it’s simple: Most Americans are willing to admit how awful U.S. foreign policy has been for the last decade plus and the Washington establishment is not.

The same poll which showed that 3/4 of Americans don’t want more war in Iraq also found that “more than two-thirds say the renewed violence in Iraq is a result of a centuries-old conflict that was worsened by the 2003 invasion launched by President George W. Bush.”

In other words, the people who opposed invasion the first time around were right—and people like Cheney and, now, Obama who want to continue and expand our involvement, have been proven wrong.

As Ron Paul put it, it doesn’t make any sense to listen to the people who got Iraq and America into this mess to begin with: “They cannot admit they were wrong about the invasion being a ‘cakewalk’ that would pay for itself,” and their foreign policy advice isn’t exactly credible anymore.

That’s not to suggest that Saddam Hussein was a good guy, or that Iraq would be a paradise today if the Iraq War had never been started by President Bush and continued by Obama. But it is to point out that al-Qaeda, which spawned this chaos-wreaking ISIL group, did not exist in Iraq before the 2003 invasion. The war our government started under glaringly false pretenses literally created a multitude of new terrorists, and it is that intervention which is a direct cause of Iraq’s current disaster.

Read the whole thing here.

Soldiers & veterans say: Support us by ending the wars

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 12.31 pm

This week’s article, timed for Memorial Day, is about how much better this holiday would be if war were just a memory. “Support the troops” often gets thrown around as a meaningless catchphrase of thoughtless patriotism, but it’s worth noting that—according to many actual troops—supporting them means ending the wars.

“The hardest thing for me in Vietnam wasn’t seeing the wounded and dead,” said Johnny Cash after he visited soldiers in the late 1960s. “It was watching the big transport jets come in, bringing loads of fresh new boys for the war.”

The Man in Black’s comment captured a truth that couldn’t be overstated on Memorial Day: The best way to honor those who have died is to ensure that less deaths will follow them.

It is time America ends more than a decade of being at war.

It’s easy to pay lip service to supporting the troops. Politicians have this down pat, don’t they? Anyone running for any office, anywhere in America, can talk endlessly about how much they love the troops, yet the foreign policy positions they support often tell a very different story.

John Quincy Adams proposed that, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.” His vision for a non-interventionist foreign policy has not just been ignored; it’s been demolished. With anywhere from 660 to 900+ bases worldwide, our government today is constantly sending our military on monster hunts that are secretiveexpensiveendlessillegalimmoral and counter-productive.

Americans have had enough. Iraq is now viewed as a mistake by a majority and our long war in Afghanistan grows more unpopular by the day. Our war-weary country isn’t interested in intervening in places like LibyaSyriaIran, and Ukraine. On a broader scale, record numbers of Americans want our government to stop using our military to police the world.

More Americans than ever recognize that sending a new generation to fight and die in yet another unnecessary and ill-advised wars doesn’t support the troops or honor their memory.

Read the whole thing here.