The Quest For Moral Superiority

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Kris Morgan  September 17, 2017

Liberals believe in big government at home, whereas conservatives support an interventionist foreign policy.  The two combined have given us a welfare/warfare state that cannot last.  The United States has accumulated over 20 trillion dollars in debt, over 127 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, killed innocent people abroad, and jailed millions of peaceful people.  In spite of this, the Federal Government shows no signs of slowing down.  How is it that the “freest nation in the world” manages to imprison more of its citizens than North Korea, a communist dictatorship?  Ironically, these evils exist because our debates revolve around attempts at gaining the moral upper-hand rather than an unhindered search for truth.

Since politics is always a question of when it becomes morally acceptable to use force, our views reflect our sense of justice.  We assume ourselves good and just upon entering political debates.  As a result, we define opposing ideas as unjust.  Any admission on our part that our beliefs are flawed inherently implies the other person is more just and morally superior.  These biases cause our conversations to get out of hand.

For example, many believe that the United States did not provoke Osama Bin Laden to carry out the 9/11 attacks.  Some lash out when presented with a review of US interventions in the Middle East, including sanctions in the 1990s that lead to half-a-million children dying, and our Secretary of State affirming their deaths were acceptable.  They often label the messenger as part of the “blame-America-first” crowd and ignore the facts.

Conservatives who push for interventionism abroad are frequently combative to those who highlight US aggression.  They dismiss the opposition with cliches about how the world is an unfriendly place, or claim the dissenter hates America. Admitting the US is a hostile nation contradicts their view that America is the greatest country on the planet.  To backtrack on that base belief would make them appear weak and discredit their moral authority, so they often react with a critique of their own without acknowledging yours.  This method is not restricted to conservatives.

Liberals voice support for civil liberties, yet favor central economic controls.  When an opponent points out that economic controls are violations of our freedom, they claim their foe is uncaring to those in need.  Their inconsistency goes unrecognized as they focus on attacking their opponents.  It is easier to blindly accuse adversaries of being sexists, racists, or wanting the needy to starve than face their contradiction.

Democrats and Republicans alike listen to their own bases.  If their supporters are not willing to admit discrepancies in their platforms, then politicians will continue to roam free.  The welfare/warfare state will endure until there is no wealth left to tax and the currency hyper-inflates.  Making excuses, creating strawmen, deflecting legitimate critiques, and ignoring new information has allowed our government to grow completely out of control. It is an unsustainable model for political discourse.

One can argue that libertarians are not exempt from taking part in this manner of conversation, and there may be some valid critiques.  However, libertarians have a ‘north star’ with which to follow.  While Republicans and Democrats have only their own sense of moral superiority to guide them, libertarians have the Non-Aggression Principle. This keeps our personal virtues away from our politics.  For instance, a libertarian may wish for society to build a sound safety net.  Nevertheless, progressive taxation is the initiation of force and is accordingly rejected by libertarians.  Libertarians do not use morality to justify coercion.

We are being taken advantage of by a system that knows people have a desire to appear morally strong, so much so that they will defend politicians in order to protect themselves.  The best way to smash this system is to set aside our own egos, admit when we are wrong, develop consistent ideologies, and hold our rulers accountable. We have to make this change if we are ever going to claim our rightful place as the dominant party in our relationship with our power structure.

 

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Government Unchained

 

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Jeremy Medley, September 14, 2017

Federalism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “The distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units.” Our founders were so intent on this idea that they gave us the Tenth Amendment in our Bill of Rights. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution delegated few enumerated powers to the Federal Government, reserving all remaining powers to the States and the people. Thus, powers of the Federal Government were meant to be limited by our founders, with no exception. They knew then, as we are learning now, the true dangers of a government unfettered and the beast it can become.

Our federal republic was created by joint action of the several states. It has been gradually perverted into a socialist machine for federal control in the domestic affairs of the states and the individual. The Federal Government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state affairs, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, nor healthcare. Yet these gross violations of our rights happen every day. We, as a society, are more in awe of what celebrities are wearing, or how our favorite football team is doing. We have given up on the idea that the government is beholden to the people. What caused this societal shift to take place? Can we right the course? The people must call on the Federal Government to close all unconstitutional federal agencies that usurp state power and infringe on the rights of this nation’s citizenry, such as the NSA, EPA, IRS, DEA, DHS, etc.

Throughout our history, as a nation we have allowed the Federal Government to squeeze the rights of the people away. We have nearly nothing left to give, but our labor and our lives. President Lincoln is regarded by many historians as a hero of the nation.  However, the issue of slavery aside, he was actually nothing more than a tyrannical ruler who discarded the constitution as it suited him, when southern states attempted secession.  President Franklin Roosevelt vowed to fill the Supreme Court with justices friendly to New Deal policies, which helped pave the way for our current welfare state. President Johnson and his “War on Poverty” has laid a tax burden on the people that is nearly unsustainable. President Nixon attacked the African American community with the “War on Drugs.” In recent history, Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump implemented legislation which has basically thrown your cConstitutional rights out the window with the Patriot Act. The blame does not only lie at the feet of the presidents, but they are the figurative head of the beast. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin. Yet, we have given up the the warm embrace of liberty to suckle the teat of big government.

In a nation that honors itself on freedom we have allowed basic liberties to be swept away by a few legislators like thieves in the night. Why is there no outcry? What happened to the idea of “Give me liberty or give me death”?  Does this only apply in times of national threat or crisis? If so, aren’t we standing at the precipice of a cliff on which we will be unable to climb back? Yet, we still elect the same failed officials for political expedience. We can’t be bothered with the corrupt or troublesome world of politics unless it is sensationalized via Facebook, soundbite, or tweet.

Libertarians see atrocities across the globe committed in the guise of government doing what is right for the people, and for “freedom.” In the words of Ronald Reagan  “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Our nation was started by individuals who were tired of the corrupt and oppressive rule of a government that never truly cared for its commoners, the same as we have today. Their political awakening started as a grassroots movement much like ours. Let our voices not go quietly in the night and unheard as if we were never here. We must continue our pursuit of true liberty for all.

 

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The High Cost of Freedom

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Jeremy Medley, September 11th, 2017

As we mark another anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, is now the time to rethink American foreign policy? When did America abandon the principles laid out by our founders, best stated by Thomas Jefferson as “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none,” to the current stance of nation building across the globe? A strong case could be made for World War I. But that’s for a different time and post. This path of nation making isn’t what we are about.

We as a nation were not attacked on that bright September day because of our lifestyles, not because we own a home with a two car garage and 2.5 children. We were attacked because we have allowed our elected officials to wage wars and occupy territories in sovereign nations without any thought of the cost paid not just in dollars and cents, but in lives snuffed out so we can “bomb some freedom in to ‘em.”

We’ve added 2 trillion dollars to the national debt in this endeavor alone. Yet, where has it gotten us? President Trump stated in August (2017) he plans to send an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in the coming months. Why? Have we not learned anything in over the years? As a United States Marine, I learned very quickly that we are fighting new people every day because they don’t want their homeland occupied. Would you?

How much did your home cost? We spend 110 thousand dollars just for 1 hellfire missile to strike a building that wouldn’t even be classified as a shack here in America.

We have more people killed here in U.S. cities in a single year than we have from 9/11 and the troop losses following the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the F.B.I. Should we expect armed troops patrolling our streets soon?

There is no need to even to go into the (un)Patriot Act or the lost liberty from it, but think about these things the next time you hear someone say, “They need a good dose of freedom.”

 
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Sixteen Years (and counting) Of Eroded Liberty: Where Does It Originate?

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A Guest Article, by Franc Turner, September 9, 2017

Do you know what our last three Presidents have in common?

Inner me – “Everything?”

Well, yes. But to be more specific, Bush, Obama, and Trump all escalated military action in Afghanistan within their first several months in office after running on a platform of non-interventionism.

The Bush Administration, along with the neoconservatives, laid the groundwork of never-ending military intervention, occupation, and destabilization of country after country. The torch was then passed to “anti-war” Obama, who expanded the reach, scope, and magnitude of the policies which he inherited from his predecessor. And Trump is the culmination of everything that the neoconservatives wanted to bring about during the Bush era, but just had a hard time accomplishing in eight short years.

Among these objectives were multiple and simultaneous theater wars, along with achieving military strongholds in specific geopolitical regions of the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere; not only as a means of acquiring finite resources, but also to assert dominance in areas that are considered “unfavorable” to U.S. interests (commercially, politically, or otherwise).  Also on the table was the implementation of regime change in those nations through economic sabotage, instigating manufactured uprisings, or all-out coup d’etat via tomahawk cruise missiles. They would then engage in nation building after the initial destruction, and give contracts to businesses that profit off of that very destruction. Similar to our own government, those private contractors have a vested interest in keeping all of these regions in a state of conflict.

Each and every item listed above was desired, including the countries with whom we’ve since gone to war or at least suggested that we should, by the very people who propped up the Bush presidency before he even took office. In September of 2000, one year before 9/11, a neoconservative think tank called the Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, described the objectives they wished to achieve in their publication entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” However, they also acknowledged that, “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

It has been sixteen years since they got their wish for that catastrophic and catalyzing event.  Yet, our nation is still doing the bidding for these people, even though their reign allegedly ended when Obama took office, and their  “swamp” was supposed to be “drained” when Trump took office.

Major aspects of life in this country are based entirely off that one day. This includes most aspects of foreign and domestic policy, travel, homeland security, militarized police, the ever-expanding government, the subversion of the Bill of Rights through the Patriot Act, TSA, NDAA, MCA, the surveillance state “smart grid” built up around us, warrantless searches of property, and “free speech zones.” All of which could mean the end of your privacy in regards to every action you take — whether it’s where you go, how you spend your money, your personal beliefs, etc.

Each new military action taken along with the loss of thousands of our own military, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians abroad, the torture, the destruction, the destabilization, the blowback, and new “threats” are a direct result of 19 individuals with box cutters and a bearded freak, apparently.

But, “Hey, I guess it’s all just to “protect us from the terrorists” and to “preserve freedoms,” right?” Weren’t those freedoms obliterated for the sake of having the illusion of security?  Weren’t they swept under the rug while we were too busy updating our Twitter statuses, and arguing about Obama vs. Trump vs. Hillary, and walls, and Russia, and statues, and fringe “radical” groups?”….. Yes, they were.

Every aspect of our lives seems to have been molded by that one day. The real question is who stands to gain from everything that’s transpired over the last 16 years. Is it the American citizen? Is it the countries we’re at war with? Is it those pesky terrorist organizations we just can’t seem to stamp out? Or is it the folks who were wanting these kind of things to take place, long before they ever came to fruition?

Just some food for thought, folks.

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Betrayal Of The American Media

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Kris​ ​Morgan,​ ​September​ ​6,​ ​2017 
 
I​ ​know​ ​everyone​ ​loves​ ​their​ ​right​ ​to​ ​bear​ ​arms,​ ​but​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​the​ ​press​ ​is​ ​first​ ​in​ ​America’s​ ​Bill of​ ​Rights.​ ​​ ​The​ ​right​ ​to​ ​bear​ ​arms​ ​exists​ ​for​ ​the​ ​instance​ ​that​ ​our​ ​government​ ​becomes unbearable.​ ​​ ​Freedom​ ​of​ ​speech​ ​is​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​stop​ ​tyranny​ ​from​ ​forming.​ ​​ ​The​ ​late​ ​Former President​ ​John​ ​F.​ ​Kennedy​ ​​articulated​​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​the​ ​press​ ​on​ ​April​ ​27,​ ​1961​ ​when​ ​he addressed​ ​the​ ​profession​ ​directly,​ ​stating: 
 
​ ​“…And​ ​that​ ​is​ ​why​ ​our​ ​press​ ​was​ ​protected​ ​by​ ​the​ ​first​ ​amendment.​ ​​ ​The​ ​only​ ​business​ ​in America​ ​specifically​ ​protected​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Constitution–​ ​not​ ​primarily​ ​to​ ​amuse​ ​and​ entertain,​ ​not​ ​to emphasize​ ​the​ ​trivial​ ​and​ ​the​ ​sentimental,​ ​not​ ​to​ ​simply​ ​give​ ​the​ ​public​ ​what​ ​it​ ​wants–but​ ​to inform,​ ​to​ ​arouse,​ ​to​ ​reflect,​ ​to​ ​state​ ​our​ ​dangers​ ​and​ ​our​ ​opportunities,​ ​to​ ​indicate​ ​our​ ​crises and​ ​our​ ​choices,​ ​to​ ​lead,​ ​mold,​ ​educate​ ​and​ ​sometimes​ ​even​ ​anger​ ​public​ ​opinion…​ ​And​ ​so​ ​it​ ​is to​ ​the​ ​printing​ ​press,​ ​to​ ​the​ ​recorder​ ​of​ ​man’s​ ​deeds,​ ​the​ ​keeper​ ​of​ ​his​ ​conscience,​ ​the​ ​courier​ ​of his​ ​news,​ ​that​ ​we​ ​look​ ​for​ ​strength​ ​and​ ​assistance,​ ​confident​ ​that​ ​with​ ​your​ ​help​ ​man​ ​will​ ​be what​ ​he​ ​was​ ​born​ ​to​ ​be,​ ​free​ ​and​ ​independent.”  
 
Media​ ​today​ ​is​ ​certainly​ ​not​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​being​ ​watchdogs​ ​of​ ​government​ ​overreach.​ ​​ ​Instead​ ​we have​ ​what​ ​we​ ​all​ ​know​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​liberal​ ​media​ ​and​ ​conservative​ ​media.​ ​​ ​Deep​ ​down​ ​we​ ​know​ ​we are​ ​getting​ ​a​ ​spin,​ ​but​ ​hope​ ​that​ ​the​ ​effects​ ​are​ ​negligible​ ​and​ ​the​ ​facts​ ​are​ ​solid.​ ​​ ​​ ​We​ ​are​ ​in​ ​the midst​ ​of​ ​an​ ​anti-intellectual​ ​movement​ ​that​ ​is​ ​powered​ ​by​ ​these​ ​left/right​ ​biases.​ ​​ ​Conservatives and​ ​liberals​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​stick​ ​to​ ​their​ ​own​ ​sides​ ​in​ ​media​ ​consumption.​ ​​ ​As​ ​a​ ​result,​ ​each​ ​thinks​ ​the other​ ​nothing​ ​short​ ​of​ ​pure​ ​evil.  
 
This​ ​observation​ ​was​ ​echoed​ ​by​ ​​Mediaite​​ ​when​ ​they​ ​published​ ​the​ ​following​ ​in​ ​an​ ​article:​ ​“Most of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​get​ ​their​ ​news​ ​only​ ​from​ ​Fox​ ​News,​ ​Matt​ ​Drudge,​ ​Rush​ ​Limbaugh,​ ​Sean​ ​Hannity​ ​& Breitbart.com​ ​think​ ​Donald​ ​Trump​ ​is​ ​a​ ​savior​ ​who​ ​is​ ​certain​ ​to​ ​win​ ​(the​ ​2016​ ​election)​ ​and​ ​that Hillary​ ​Clinton​ ​is​ ​the​ ​anti-Christ​ ​[sic].​ ​​ ​Almost​ ​everyone​ ​who​ ​only​ ​consumes​ ​the​ ​New​ ​York​ ​Times, Washington​ ​Post,​ ​MSNBC,​ ​CNN,​ ​NPR​ ​&​ ​The​ ​Huffington​ ​Post​ ​are​ ​sure​ ​the​ ​opposite​ ​is​ ​true.”  
 
These​ ​attitudes​ ​stop​ ​intellectual​ ​discourse​ ​before​ ​it​ ​even​ ​starts.​ ​​ ​How​ ​can​ ​people​ ​with​ ​differing points​ ​of​ ​view​ ​possibly​ ​have​ ​a​ ​productive​ ​conversation​ ​if​ ​they​ ​each​ ​go​ ​in​ ​thinking​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other person​ ​as​ ​the​ ​devil? 
 
According​ ​to​ ​​Business​ ​Insider​,​ ​as​ ​of​ ​1983,​ ​90%​ ​of​ ​everything​ ​we​ ​read,​ ​hear,​ ​and​ ​see​ ​is​ ​owned by​ ​just​ ​six​ ​corporations.​ ​​ ​Prior,​ ​it​ ​took​ ​50​ ​companies​ ​to​ ​make​ ​that​ ​same​ ​market​ ​share.​ ​​ ​This​ ​is important​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​much​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​manipulate​ ​a​ ​handful​ ​of​ ​companies​ ​than​ ​50.​ ​​ ​The​ ​lack​ ​of diversity​ ​in​ ​mainstream​ ​media​ ​is​ ​most​ ​visible​ ​when​ ​government​ ​wants​ ​war.
On​ ​the​ ​10th​ ​anniversary​ ​of​ ​the​ ​invasion​ ​of​ ​Iraq,​ ​​Howard​ ​Kurtz​​ ​(CNN)​ ​reflected​ ​on​ ​the​ ​beginnings of​ ​the​ ​war​ ​and​ ​wrote​ ​“Major​ ​news​ ​organizations​ ​aided​ ​and​ ​abetted​ ​the​ ​Bush​ ​administration’s march​ ​to​ ​war​ ​on​ ​what​ ​turned​ ​out​ ​to​ ​be​ ​faulty​ ​promises.​ ​​ ​All​ ​too​ ​often,​ ​skepticism​ ​was​ ​checked​ ​at the​ ​door,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​shaky​ ​claims​ ​of​ ​top​ ​officials​ ​and​ ​unnamed​ ​sources​ ​were​ ​trumpeted​ ​as​ ​fact… From​ ​August​ ​2002​ ​through​ ​the​ ​March​ ​19,​ ​2003​ ​launch​ ​of​ ​the​ ​war,​ ​I​ ​found​ ​more​ ​than​ ​140 front-page​ ​stories​ ​that​ ​focused​ ​heavily​ ​on​ ​administration​ ​rhetoric​ ​against​ ​Iraq.”  
 
While​ ​we​ ​do​ ​appreciate​ ​people​ ​like​ ​Mr.​ ​Kurtz​ ​writing​ ​such​ ​pieces​ ​years​ ​later,​ ​the​ ​damage​ ​is done.​ ​​ ​War​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first​ ​example​ ​used​ ​in​ ​this​ ​essay,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​media’s​ ​weakness​ ​is​ ​not​ ​limited​ ​there. How​ ​economic​ ​circumstances​ ​are​ ​reported​ ​is​ ​also​ ​not​ ​entirely​ ​factual. 
 
Matthew​ ​Stein​ ​of​ ​the​ ​​Huffington​ ​Post​​ ​opened​ ​an​ ​article​ ​on​ ​the​ ​2007​ ​financial​ ​collapse​ ​with criticism​ ​of​ ​the​ ​free​ ​market.​ ​​ ​“Unregulated​ ​greed​ ​will​ ​result​ ​in​ ​the​ ​demise​ ​of​ ​our​ ​planet​ ​just​ ​as surely​ ​as​ ​it​ ​is​ ​causing​ ​the​ ​collapse​ ​of​ ​our​ ​economy.”​ ​​ ​Indeed,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​always​ ​a​ ​tendency​ ​to blame​ ​free​ ​markets​ ​for​ ​all​ ​economic​ ​woes​ ​and​ ​praise​ ​government​ ​for​ ​economic​ ​boons.​ ​​ ​That​ ​is to​ ​be​ ​expected​ ​when​ ​the​ ​two​ ​major​ ​parties​ ​are​ ​products​ ​of​ ​​Keynesian​​ ​economics.​ ​​ ​For​ ​a​ ​market to​ ​be​ ​free,​ ​all​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​government​ ​(Federal,​ ​State,​ ​and​ ​Local)​ ​have​ ​to​ ​restrict​ ​their​ ​actions​ ​to the​ ​protection​ ​of​ ​private​ ​property.​ ​​ ​No​ ​economy​ ​riddled​ ​with​ ​regulations,​ ​taxation,​ ​fiat​ ​currency, central​ ​banking,​ ​wars,​ ​uncertainty​ ​about​ ​those​ ​in​ ​power,​ ​a​ ​welfare​ ​state,​ ​etc.​ ​can​ ​be​ ​said​ ​to​ ​be free.​ ​​ ​It​ ​makes​ ​absolutely​ ​no​ ​sense​ ​to​ ​blame​ ​that​ ​which​ ​doesn’t​ ​exist.  
 
Before​ ​2007,​ ​for​ ​about​ ​​two​ ​decades​,​ ​the​ ​central​ ​bankers​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Federal​ ​Reserve​ ​and​ ​politicians alike​ ​specifically​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​giving​ ​cheap​ ​credit​ ​in​ ​the​ ​housing​ ​sector.​ ​​ ​In​ ​essence,​ ​they​ ​inflated a​ ​bubble​ ​that​ ​was​ ​certain​ ​to​ ​burst.​ ​​ ​Credit​ ​and​ ​interest​ ​rates​ ​are​ ​reflections​ ​of​ ​assets​ ​on​ ​hand and​ ​time-preference.​ ​​ ​Using​ ​politics​ ​to​ ​control​ ​interest​ ​rates​ ​obscures​ ​the​ ​information entrepreneurs​ ​use​ ​to​ ​gauge​ ​how​ ​many​ ​resources​ ​are​ ​available​ ​and​ ​where​ ​to​ ​invest.​ ​​ ​It’s​ ​easier to​ ​spend​ ​$100​ ​in​ ​your​ ​wallet​ ​if​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you​ ​have​ ​$1,000​ ​in​ ​the​ ​bank.​ ​​ ​What​ ​happens​ ​when​ ​you spend​ ​that​ ​money,​ ​only​ ​to​ ​realize​ ​later​ ​that​ ​your​ ​account​ ​is​ ​also​ ​empty?​ ​​ ​Free​ ​Market?​ ​​ ​You might​ ​as​ ​well​ ​blame​ ​space​ ​aliens,​ ​at​ ​least​ ​then​ ​it​ ​might​ ​be​ ​possible. 
When​ ​I​ ​was​ ​younger​ ​I​ ​dutifully​ ​watched​ ​the​ ​news.​ ​​ ​I​ ​believed​ ​I​ ​was​ ​staying​ ​informed​ ​about​ ​the world.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​I​ ​later​ ​realized​ ​I​ ​was​ ​exposing​ ​myself​ ​to​ ​story​ ​after​ ​story​ ​of​ ​some​ ​evil​ ​crime taking​ ​place;​ ​people​ ​harming​ ​their​ ​own​ ​babies,​ ​shootings,​ ​robberies,​ ​assaults,​ ​etc.​ ​​ ​After​ ​years of​ ​studying​ ​economics,​ ​philosophy,​ ​politics,​ ​logic,​ ​etc.​ ​I​ ​came​ ​to​ ​the​ ​conclusion​ ​that​ ​the​ ​media​ ​is nothing​ ​more​ ​than​ ​the​ ​watchdog​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people.​ ​​ ​Rather​ ​than​ ​keeping​ ​an​ ​eye​ ​on​ ​government acquiring​ ​unjust​ ​power,​ ​the​ ​news​ ​seems​ ​more​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​running​ ​negative​ ​stories​ ​that originate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​general​ ​public,​ ​almost​ ​as​ ​a​ ​reminder​ ​of​ ​why​ ​we​ ​‘need’​ ​the​ ​state.  
 
​When​ ​politics​ ​is​ ​involved,​ ​reporters​ ​seem​ ​to​ ​act​ ​like​ ​starving​ ​dogs​ ​at​ ​a​ ​dinner​ ​table,​ ​waiting​ ​for their​ ​masters​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​up​ ​any​ ​extra​ ​crumbs,​ ​begging​ ​our​ ​politicians​ ​to​ ​answer​ ​a​ ​question​ ​or provide​ ​a​ ​comment,​ ​so​ ​they​ ​can​ ​simply​ ​repeat​ ​it.​ ​​ ​This​ ​is​ ​not​ ​the​ ​media​ ​JFK​ ​spoke​ ​about​ ​in​ ​his brilliant​ ​​speech​.​ ​​ ​I​ ​am​ ​not​ ​alone​ ​in​ ​this​ ​observation.​ ​​ ​​The​ ​Guardian​​ ​published​ ​an​ ​article explaining​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​negative​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​consuming​ ​too​ ​much​ ​news​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​impotence of​ ​the​ ​media​ ​in​ ​explaining​ ​how​ ​the​ ​world​ ​actually​ ​works. 
 
Although​ ​much​ ​more​ ​could​ ​be​ ​written​ ​on​ ​this​ ​topic,​ ​I​ ​think​ ​it​ ​would​ ​be​ ​more​ ​productive​ ​to​ ​start brainstorming​ ​what​ ​changes​ ​we​ ​can​ ​make.​ ​​ ​The​ ​news​ ​gives​ ​us​ ​information​ ​about​ ​events​ ​taking place​ ​and​ ​provides​ ​us​ ​with​ ​some​ ​hard​ ​facts.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​when​ ​we​ ​dive​ ​into​ ​any​ ​analyses​ ​that requires​ ​serious​ ​thought,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​economics​ ​or​ ​whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​to​ ​support​ ​wars,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​to research​ ​these​ ​topics​ ​in​ ​detail.​ ​​ ​It​ ​is​ ​irresponsible​ ​to​ ​use​ ​soundbites​ ​from​ ​biased​ ​media​ ​to​ ​make long-lasting​ ​decisions.​ ​​ ​Don’t​ ​be​ ​afraid​ ​to​ ​study​ ​opinions​ ​that​ ​contradict​ ​your​ ​own.​ ​Most​ ​people stick​ ​to​ ​media​ ​and​ ​explanations​ ​that​ ​reflect​ ​their​ ​own​ ​​assumptions​​ ​about​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​​ ​We​ ​are​ ​all prone​ ​to​ ​this​ ​behavior.​ ​Opening​ ​ourselves​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​possibility​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​wrong,​ ​or​ ​have​ ​been taught​ ​incorrectly​ ​by​ ​people​ ​we​ ​love​ ​and​ ​trust,​ ​creates​ ​uneasiness.​ ​​ Rather​ ​than​ ​put​ ​our​ ​first instincts​ ​to​ ​the​ ​test​ ​as​ ​we​ ​should,​ ​we​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​associate​ ​with​ ​people​ ​who​ ​echo​ ​our​ ​own​ ​bias.  
 
The​ ​world,​ ​with​ ​its​ ​nuclear​ ​weapons​ ​and​ ​tools​ ​for​ ​economic​ ​manipulation,​ ​cannot​ ​afford​ ​to​ ​be ruled​ ​by​ ​people​ ​who​ ​are​ ​not​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​step​ ​outside​ ​their​ ​comfort​ ​zones.​ ​​ ​Spotting​ ​our​ ​biases​ ​is not​ ​hard.​ ​​ ​Simply​ ​ask​ ​yourself​ ​why​ ​you​ ​believe​ ​X,​ ​and​ ​if​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​evidence​ ​and​ ​logic​ ​in your​ ​answer,​ ​then​ ​your​ ​stance​ ​is​ ​based​ ​on​ ​assumption.​ ​​ ​Ask​ ​yourself​ ​why​ ​others​ ​believe​ ​the opposite​ ​you​ ​do.​ ​​ ​Study​ ​their​ ​literature.​ ​​ ​Converse​ ​with​ ​those​ ​of​ ​varying​ ​viewpoints.​ ​​ ​Leave​ ​the “anyone​ ​who​ ​disagrees​ ​with​ ​me​ ​is​ ​the​ ​devil”​ ​stuff​ ​at​ ​home.​ ​​ ​While​ ​there​ ​are​ ​exceptions​ ​to​ ​every rule,​ ​for​ ​the​ ​most​ ​part​ ​we​ ​all​ ​want​ ​the​ ​same​ ​things,​ ​to​ ​be​ ​physically​ ​and​ ​financially​ ​secure​ ​and have​ ​long,​ ​happy,​ ​and​ ​productive​ ​lives.​ ​​ ​It​ ​may​ ​be​ ​more​ ​beneficial​ ​in​ ​debate,​ ​especially​ ​on​ ​social media,​ ​to​ ​determine​ ​if​ ​you​ ​and​ ​the​ ​other​ ​person​ ​share​ ​the​ ​same​ ​values​ ​before​ ​you​ ​begin.  
 
I presented​ ​this​ ​article​ ​for​ ​two​ ​major​ ​reasons.​ ​​ ​First,​ ​libertarianism​ ​takes​ ​a​ ​great​ ​deal​ ​of​ ​abstract reasoning​ ​to​ ​fully​ ​grasp,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​why​ ​we​ ​are​ ​so​ ​often​ ​painted​ ​as​ ​people​ ​who​ ​want​ ​the​ ​poor​ ​to die​ ​off​ ​and​ ​everyone​ ​else​ ​to​ ​shoot​ ​up​ ​heroin.​ ​​ ​Second​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​we​ ​let​ ​the​ ​news​ ​control​ ​us,​ ​by feeding​ ​us​ ​constant​ ​streams​ ​of​ ​negativity​ ​which​ ​make​ ​us​ ​fearful,​ ​we​ ​lose​ ​domestically​ ​and​ ​we lose​ ​internationally.​ ​​ ​We​ ​cannot​ ​expect​ ​to​ ​make​ ​sound​ ​decisions​ ​when​ ​we​ ​are​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​anxiety. When​ ​our​ ​population​ ​digs​ ​deep​ ​and​ ​pushes​ ​back​ ​against​ ​this​ ​news​ ​lead​ ​anti-intellectualism​ ​we will​ ​get​ ​on​ ​track​ ​towards​ ​real​ ​virtue. 
 
 
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Terrorism Unleashed

terrorunleashedKristopher Morgan, June 30, 2017

“The Wise Warrior Avoids The Battle”
(Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

I had just started my senior year in high school.  As I entered my Criminal Justice classroom, I observed my teacher frantically searching for a socket to plug in our television.  As the screen turned on, what I saw was unreal, a skyscraper with smoke pouring out of it.  I stood there in disbelief, unable to register from any of my remaining senses, as I watched the World Trade Center twin towers collapse.  For the time being, I felt numb, thinking I had been dreaming.  As the day wore on, I experienced a series of feelings ranging from fear and sadness to anger and confusion.  Whatever doubts that were still in my mind about joining the military had vanished.  My generation’s Pearl Harbor happened just six weeks before my 18th birthday and I was mad as hell.  This is just my personal story, but during my time in the Army, I met many who had similar experiences.

The narrative, as I understood it at the time, was very simple.  The United States had been minding its own business, and on September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, orchestrated a terrorist attack that resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths.  I did not fully understand why this happened, but the fact that it did happen was enough for me.  The people in those buildings were innocent office workers. They were not in the midst of any battle and had attacked nobody.  Only a madman would even consider taking such an action.  On October 7, 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom began in Afghanistan, as it was believed bin Laden was hiding along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  By the following February, my Army papers were signed; I left that June.  Having been raised to believe in the best of my country, I never questioned the official story, at least not until the second invasion of Iraq was under way.

On March 19, 2003 President George W. Bush declared war on Iraq.  In the declaration he stated: “Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens peace with weapons of mass murder.”  Paying serious attention to politics for the first time in my life, you can imagine how it felt later when no WMDs were found.  Inspectors consistently failed to find such weapons.  Indeed, on April 25, 2005 NBC News reported the CIA had issued a final report stating no WMDs were found in Iraq.  Upon hearing this news, I noticed something strange.  President Bush did not fall back on his position.  He began claiming that Iraq had connections to terrorists, but the evidence did not support this story either.  In 2008 CNN reported that Iraq under Saddam had no connections to Al Qaeda, according to the Pentagon.  Already refusing to reenlist, I decided I was not willing to be part of a war effort with a president in office who seemed to say anything to get support for the war in Iraq. This finding signaled my mistrust had guided me well.  In light of this, I decided to do my own research into Al Qaeda, Iraq, and the United States.  If you have not researched these topics for yourself, and are merely listening to the media, please take the time to do so.  We owe it to ourselves to know our enemies.

Al Qaeda is Formed

It all started with the Soviet/Afghan war, which lasted almost a decade (1979-1989).  In 1988 Al Qaeda was formed to aid in the effort to destabilize Soviet forces.  According to The Guardian, “11 AUGUST 1988 Al-Qaeda is formed at a meeting attended by Bin Laden, Zawahiri and Dr Fadl in Peshawar, Pakistan.  The creation of the group brings together extraordinary Saudi wealth, the expertise of a lifetime Egyptian militant, and a philosophical foundation for jihad from a Cairo intellectual.”  This is towards the unexpected end of the Cold War, so guess who helped pay some of the bills? In a 1998 NBC article titled Bin Laden Comes Home To Roost, Michael Moran explains how Bin Laden was running an organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar (MAK) which “was nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.”  By Christmas day 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and Al Qaeda found themselves with a new opponent.

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm

On August 7, 1990, in response to Iraq’s attempt to annex the oil-rich land of Kuwait, 500,000 troops were sent to the Arabian Peninsula to defend Saudi Arabia against an attack from Iraq.  Kuwait was a major supplier of oil to the United States. Saddam’s goal of annexing them would have caused a dramatic shift of power in the region.  Operation Desert Storm is the code name of the first Iraq war.  Lasting 43 days, from January​ 17 until February 28, 1991, environmental damage was great as Iraqis destroyed oil fields in Kuwait after retreating, and lost lives ranging in the hundreds of thousands.  The United States lost only 148 soldiers.  While the war itself had ended, Iraq fell under heavy sanctions and was even intermittently bombed throughout the 1990s.

The Sanctions

First applied in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the sanctions on Iraq are quite possibly the worst evil that have been imposed on any country in recent history.  Restricting food, medicine, arms, and investment, estimates showed over half a million Iraqi children died as a result by 1995.  Whether or not these figures are inflated is up for debate, but imagine the world’s surprise to the response Madelyn Albright gave when questioned on 60 Minutes:

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

By 1997, UNICEF reported 32% of children under five were malnourished, an increase of 72% since 1991.

The Bombings

For over a decade before Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the United States had been bombing Iraq.  Nick Turse wrote the following in 2011 to explain the situation:

“From 1991 to 2003, the U.S. and its allies conducted a low-level air war to enforce no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, while attacking Iraq’s air defenses and other targets. In February 2003 (still before OIF), the U.S. would, again, conduct a blistering “shock and awe” campaign and, by mid-April, Iraq had been subjected to 41,000 sorties and 27,000 bombs dropped. The U.S. air war would continue on as, year after year, U.S. planes attacked targets, killing enemy fighters and civilians alike.”

The no-fly zones were originally set up to protect Kurds in the North and Shiites in the South, and were enforced by U.S., Britain, and French forces.

The sanctions and Bombings of Iraq during the ’90s were a way of continuing efforts to control the country.  Saddam Hussein’s attempt to annex Kuwait showed the world he was aggressive.  Had he succeeded, Kuwait’s precious oil would have been under Saddam’s control, which could have given him the resources he needed to set his sights on Saudi Arabia, a major Western ally.  The UN, lead by the U.S., targeted Iraq’s alleged WMDs through Bombings and inspections.  In 1998, Iraq stopped cooperating with the UN commission to destroy their WMDs.  Between 1998 and 2003 multiple bombing raids were conducted and President George W. Bush was outspoken about Iraq’s threat to stability in the region.  Public support to launch a full scale invasion would not come until the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Al Qaeda in the 1990s

Al Qaeda launched two terrorist attacks prior to 1996.  The first was the 1992 Yemen Hotel bombing, which targeted US soldiers on duty headed to Somalia, in which two Australian tourists were killed.  The second was a bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993.  Six people were killed and over 1,500 were wounded.  It was not until 1996 that Al Qaeda made an official declaration of war on The United States.  In that declaration, bin Laden made clear the reasons for going to war.  The length of this article is too great to copy and paste it in its entirety, but I urge you to read the text in full.  There is language in it about us refusing to go along with Sharia law and what not, but that is true for much of the world.  So I shall share parts of the declaration that I think reveal why the US was targeted specifically:

Though it is towards the end, finishing with a powerful message in my opinion is the format for declaring war. Bin Laden wrote:

“The youths hold you responsible for all of the killings and evictions of the Muslims and the violation of the sanctities, carried out by your Zionist brothers in Lebanon; you openly supplied them with arms and finance. More than 600,000 Iraqi children have died due to lack of food and medicine and as a result of the unjustifiable aggression imposed on Iraq and its nation.  The children of Iraq are our children. You, the USA, together with the Saudi regime are responsible for the shedding of the blood of these innocent children. Due to all of that, whatever treaty you have with our country is now null and void….”

Finishing a declaration of war talking about hundreds of thousands of dead children makes it easy to paint the US as crusaders, at the start, which he did:

“It should not be hidden from you that the community of Islam has suffered from aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed on them by the Zionist-Crusaders alliance and their collaborators; to the extent that the Muslims’ blood became the cheapest and their wealth as loot in the hands of the enemies. Their blood was spilled in Palestine and Iraq. The horrifying pictures of the massacre of Qana in Lebanon are still fresh in our memory. Massacres in Tajikistan, Burma, Kashmir, Assam, the Philippines, Fatani, Ogadin, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya and in Bosnia”

After the declaration, in June of ‘96 a truck bomb killed 19 military members in Saudi Arabia and in 1998 embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania were bombed, killing 200 and injuring 5,000.

It is my sincere hope that, if anything, the reader understands the complexities on the issue of terrorism.  Anyone who, for whatever reason, did not pay attention to Iraq in the 1990s, myself included, is now aware that there is a very complex history.  The United States was not just strolling idly along until one day some crazy people flew some planes into two skyscrapers in New York.  Bin Laden listed 11 other countries in which conflict took place.  Now I’m not suggesting that something is good or bad based on what bin Laden said in his declaration of war, but if we are to be responsible, we should not get behind any war without at least being able to speak intelligently about the history involved.  Unfortunately getting a truly complete historical account is beyond the scope of this article.

September 11, 2001

Now we revisit this sad day in history with a fresh perspective of events that lead to it. Al Qaeda had declared war on the U.S. five years before, citing several conflicts and concluding by highlighting the half-a-million dead children in Iraq.  We revisit this tragic day keeping in mind that the CIA once used Al Qaeda as a pawn to battle Russian forces in Afghanistan as part of a Cold War operation.  The United States also launched Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm as Saddam Hussein attempted to annex Kuwait and bring about a power shift in the Middle East.  500,000 American soldiers were sent to invade Iraq and defend Saudi Arabia from further Iraqi aggression.  President Bush claimed Iraq had ties to the notorious terrorist group while trying to gain support for the war.  Now, let’s recap the events of 9/11.

At 0819 am Flight attendants on board a Boeing 767 traveling from Boston to Los Angeles notified the FBI that the plane had been hijacked, just twenty minutes after takeoff.

0846 am The above flight is flown into floors 93-99 of the North World Trade Center building, killing everyone on the plane and hundreds in the building.

0903 am Hijackers flew a second Boeing 767, also traveling from Boston to Los Angeles, into floors 75-85 of the South World Trade Center building, again killing everyone on board and hundreds in the building.

0937 am Hijackers fly Flight 77 into the Pentagon, killing 59 passengers and 125 people at the building.

0959 am South Tower collapsed

1028 am North Tower collapsed

0520 pm Seven World Trade Center building collapsed.

The attacks took the lies of 2,977 people in total.

Who Were The Terrorists?

On December 13, 2001 a tape was released in which Osama bin Laden took credit for the attack.  The actual Hijackers consisted of 19 people, 15 of which were citizens of our ally, Saudi Arabia, (as Bin Laden also was), one of Egypt, two of United Arab Emirates, and one of Lebanon.  While bin Laden was the mastermind, the tactical leader of the attack was 43 year old Mohamed Atta, from Egypt.

A Brief Bio of bin Laden

Mastermind Osama bin Laden himself was born in 1957 and was the 17th out of 54 children fathered by Muhammad Awad bin Laden.  Bin Laden’s father was a Yemeni immigrant who ran a billion-dollar construction company in Saudi Arabia.  In 1979, after studying Public Administration and Economics at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, bin Laden left for Afghanistan to join the battle against the USSR.  He remained in the fray from 1979 until 1989; everything after 1989 has already been covered.

More Reasons

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 signaled that Al Qaeda was willing to take the battle to the next level.  Most Americans, myself included, were stunned.  It wasn’t until well after my Army years that I learned there was actually a list of demands following the attack.  We don’t read the list of demands so we know what we must do. We read them understand our enemies’ point of view, in hopes that we will be educated enough to design a world that is just for everyone.  Below is a summary followed with a link to the text in it’s entirety.

The text begins with a lot of language about following Allah and fighting against evil forces in the world.  Later bin Laden seeks to answer questions Americans seem to be pondering: “1) Why are we fighting and opposing you? And 2) What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?”  He then goes on to answer question one.

“Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.  You attacked us in Palestine.  The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews.”  Language about Palestine goes on for several paragraphs. Then he discusses Somalia, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Lebanon.  After which he takes issue with puppet regimes saying “Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis. (The US installed the Shah in Iran in the 1950s).

Then he wrote about Iraq:

“You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day.  It is a wonder that more than 1.5mil Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, you did not show concern, yet when 3,000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.”

The answer to question two has two basic parts.  First, they demand that the United States turn to Allah and follow Muslim law, which would mean no usury (interest on loan repayments), gambling, homosexuality, and so on…  The second part is a call for our country to mind our own business; stop intervening in Middle Eastern affairs and stop supporting Jews over others who claim the holy land for themselves.

Again, we don’t want to know these things because we want to appease bin Laden, or whoever runs the show at present.  We want to know these things to understand our enemy’s motives and to make sure our own actions are truly virtuous.  The US is by far the most powerful country in the world, and that gives us the obligation as citizens to be careful in what actions we get behind.  As we have seen with documented history and the declaration of war, along with this list of demands after 9/11, there is far more to the story of terrorism today than a group of crazy people flying some planes into the world trade center one random day because they hate freedom.  They are blaming us for many things that would make us just as angry. Right or wrong, our officials have taken credit for them.

The aftermath of 9/11 was the invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq.  It was believed Osama bin Laden was hiding along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that Saddam Hussein either possessed WMDs, was a terrorist supporter, or both.  As a result of these invasions, the United States has emboldened another enemy, ISIS, and has been involved in military operations all over the region in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia.

Who is ISIS

ISIS, according to Richard Allen Greene and Nick Thompson, is a group very similar to Al Qaeda that was formed in 2004.  Like Al Qaeda, they had ties to Osama bin Laden and are identified as a terrorist organization.  What makes them different, however, is their willingness to use more brutal methods and establish solid governing bodies.  Once they dominate a territory they establish almost Western-like governing structures, with legislatures and governors put in place to rule.

ISIS gained traction as a powerful force, a result of the invasion of Iraq.  Generals in the Iraqi military were wise enough to know they would be quickly overpowered by US forces in conventional warfare, and their military was  defeated in a matter of months.  In fact, by April 2003, much of Baghdad had fallen into American hands.  It was the occupation and nation building that has taken a decade and a half.  The Iraqi generals, seeing they were not going to be successful, joined the ranks of ISIS, and they have been very effective.  As Hendawi and Abdul-Zahra explained:

“Under its leader, Iraqi jihadi Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group’s top command is dominated by former officers from Saddam’s military and intelligence agencies, according to senior Iraqi officers on the front lines of the fight against the group, as well as top intelligence officials, including the chief of a key counter-terrorism intelligence unit.  The experience they bring is a major reason for the group’s victories in overrunning large parts of Iraq and Syria. The officers gave IS the organization and discipline it needed to weld together jihadi fighters drawn from across the globe, integrating terror tactics like suicide bombings with military operations. They have been put in charge of intelligence-gathering, spying on the Iraqi forces as well as maintaining and upgrading weapons and trying to develop a chemical weapons program.”

Conclusions: The Middle East and Terrorism

The Middle East is a very different civilization from the first world Western nations.  Osama bin Laden spoke in his list of demands of the United States and its allies as agents of the Devil, attacking their countries directly and indirectly, as well as giving in to every known vice.  Separation of Church and State does not seem to be as strong a value as it is here in the west.  However, they do have legitimate reasons to be upset.  They chose to declare war on the US specifically for reasons that surpass those which motivated us to occupy the entire region for a decade and a half.  Whether the number of children who died in Iraq (over half-a-million) is accurate or not, sanctions were placed, they harmed the civilian population, and our representatives went on television in front of the world and said it was worth it.  In their eyes, no matter what you think, the West is the problem in the world, which means no matter how hard we press, the terrorism problem is not going away. It will only intensify as long as warfare is the strategy.

Conclusions: American Foreign Policy

The United States has enjoyed the position of being the dominant power in the world ever since World War 2.  Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s fear of awakening a sleeping giant (as a result of the Pearl Harbor attack)) was far deeper than what would play out at the end of the war.  Our position has not come without a price.  That price includes choosing the military means to solve problems more eagerly.  President George W Bush’s administration was tainted very much with intelligence failures because he was hasty in his decision making.  In the age of widespread terrorism, the US government has grown exceedingly paranoid, has been openly keeping tabs on American civil communications, and all but embraced the use of torture despite it being a proven failed method of gathering reliable intel.  My personal opinion is our politicians would welcome a world war to gain the honor and prestige associated with Former President Franklin Roosevelt himself, who was in office during WW2.  The official narratives, with names like “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and “Operation Enduring Freedom”, always sound good.

Since it is the United States in which I live, I ask the readers to take action.  It is not to join the military. It is not to go to an anti-war rally. It’s not to absorb or even believe a single word that has been written here.  I ask the reader to do a little soul searching.  Ask yourself the following questions: What do you really know about the relationship between the USA and the countries with which we are at war? Are you really ready to put your support behind the bombings and invasions that have continued since 9/11?  Are you really ready to trust politicians to act responsibly and honorably in matters of warfare?  Since none of us will ever know all the information available, trust is the vehicle which our politicians lead us to war. Are they worthy?  Have you examined the knowledge you do or do not have?  And finally, are your opinions motivated by propaganda that is designed to elicit emotional responses, or by the facts and theories about modern warfare and it’s effects on the world?

What You Can Do

Discovering the ideas of liberty and having the courage to participate in intellectual discourse can be a very empowering experience.  Many who are touched by it believe we must be hasty and take every action possible, whether it’s phoning representatives, participating in protests, engaging in agorism, or even civil disobedience.  Reader, what you do and how you choose to express yourself is a journey of self-discovery that would be a crime to rob you.  Your personality and your talents are for you to discover. The only idea I wish to share is that your actions do not have to be extreme to spark change.  Simply mentioning the complexities of the world when the topic of war comes up will signal any potential intellectual that there may be, dare I say, pre-9/11 history they haven’t examined.  When you hear someone is going to join the military, just mentioning the fact that they could find themselves fighting a political war they don’t believe in could make a big difference without even inviting a debate concerning the current wars.  Finally, never let anyone disarm your intellectual truths with emotionally charged statements like “you just hate America” or some similar claim.  This is not about likes and dislikes, it is about truth.  The destruction capabilities of the world’s nuclear arsenal are too great to stick our heads in the sand and ignore facts because someone insulted us.

 

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Why I Support A Non-Interventionist Military Foreign Policy

nonintervention

David Beaver, 11/05/2016

During the 2016 Presidential Election, I read an article that seemed to suggest that many of Gary Johnson’s supporters are unaware of his policies other than his stance on legalizing marijuana. Well, it turns out this libertarian is. It would take the writing of a full-length novel to truly cover all of his policies as well as the reasons not to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the policy of non-interventionism as a foreign policy. This is a concept not shared by the other two candidates.

In simplest terms, non-interventionism is America tending to its own affairs and living in peace with their neighbors rather than trying to be the policemen of the world. It is best defined by Thomas Jefferson who said, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

It Prevents Blowback

Blowback is a term that has historically been used by the CIA to describe the unintended consequences of various covert operations. The term has also expanded to describe the unintended consequences of foreign policy as a whole, especially as it relates to our covert and military operations.

One example of the surprises produced by blowback came to us via the Reagan Doctrine, which sought to stamp out the evils of communism throughout the world. In the name of this well-intended idea, as well as to help bring about the demise of the Soviet Empire, the United States supplied weapons to anti-communist Islamic groups in Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion of the country. Collectively known as the Mujahideen, these resistance groups eventually splintered into various factions. This would eventually lead to the rise of Al-Queda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, leading to many unpleasant surprises for the U.S in the years to follow.

An example of the blowback of our militarized foreign policy would also include the war in Iraq under the administration of George W. Bush. After winning this war we saw an Iraq that was fractured politically and religiously, leaving a void for ISIS to emerge.

Finally, we get one more example with Syrian Civil War, this one under the administration of Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, noted by some to the “most hawkish” member of his cabinet at the time. During the civil war, the U.S cooperated with Saudi Arabia to provide arms for the Syrian Free Army and groups moving for the overthrow of Assad. Later on, these same groups were found to be associated with ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups.

It turns out, however, that this isn’t just an American problem but a global one. Just ask the Israelis whose government, through their efforts to weaken the Palestinian Liberation Organization helped create one of their bitterest of foes, the terrorist group Hamas.

History both American and abroad is full of examples just like this. Examples where we seek to impose our will on the world, often with the best of intentions, yet time and time again we intervene only to make things better they end up worse. We toppled Saddam Hussein and traded him for ISIS. We seek to overthrow Assad and we might be supporting ISIS. We helped overthrow the tyrant Mubarak and aided the Arab Spring; now we have The Muslim Brotherhood.

It leads one to believe that this policy is clearly not working. Much like a hornet’s nest, the more we poke the more we feel its sting. When it comes to ideas and policies I tend to ignore the politics of it in favor of examining the results. Speaking as a former GOP hawk myself I can honestly say that history has shown time and time again that our interventions, military and covert, just aren’t working. Not only are they not working, but they’re making the world I live in a more dangerous place.

We Don’t Have the Money

It’s no secret that the national debt is still on the rise. Some of us are still old enough to remember when $6 trillion seemed like a lot. Now we are up to $20 trillion and the numbers are still rising. During his 2012 campaign, Gary Johnson cited the debt as one of the greatest threats to our country as a whole. So what does military policy have to do with this? Everything actually. While you’ll hear a lot of conservatives paying lip service to small government and spending cuts, you’ll never hear these same pundits, or anyone for that matter, advocate cuts in military spending.

Yet our military spending is over half of the overall U.S budget and we outspend most of the world on military expenditures. 800 of our bases are operated overseas, begging the question of why we need to subsidize the defense of Germany, Japan, and a number of other nations we essentially have on a military form of welfare. Is it worth the cost? The only thing that could justify the cost (other than the joy of sightseeing around the world for our military personnel) is an interventionist foreign policy that requires us to defend some of the people of the world while attacking others.

The simple fact is, however, we can’t afford it.

Lest Innocent Blood be Spilled

In Iraq alone thousands of civilian deaths have been the result of our military operations in the country. In just the year 2006 we saw civilian casualties of over 29,000. Each year from 2003 up until 2009 saw the numbers in the tens of thousands. Even today the casualties still remain in the thousands figure. This is one country and one conflict. Add to this the deaths of our men and servicewomen, and you have to ask at some point: is this worth it?

The return argument is often that there are always casualties in war, innocent bystanders that suffer as the result of a necessary action. This is true. But because it’s true we should exhaust every other option before going to war. Most of all, however, if we have to go to war we should have a discussion as a nation about it. This is precisely why the constitution requires a declaration from congress, a provision not followed in years, despite its reassertion in the War Powers Act.

I Am a Man of Peace

At the end of the day, I support non-interventionism because I’m a man of peace. I don’t want bloodshed performed in my name through my elected representatives unless it’s absolutely paramount to the safety of my loved ones and my country. I also don’t feel the need to tell others how to run their lives, much less the people thousands of miles away whom I may never meet how to run their countries.

Johnson, myself, and fellow Libertarians have been called isolationists as a result. What greater symbol of isolationism could be however, than a wall and massive tariffs? But I digress If being a man of peace makes me an isolationist, then so be it.

 

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