Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Sen. Rand Paul: 16 years on, it’s past time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, by Rand Paul

Good for Rand Paul; he’s stepping up to the plate. We’ll save our encomiums, however, until we see his follow through. He is, after all, a politician. From Paul at theburningplatform.com:

The Trump administration is increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan and, by doing so, keeping us involved even longer in a 16-year-old war that has long since gone past its time.

The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war. It’s time to come home now.

Our war in Afghanistan began in a proper fashion. We were attacked on 9/11. The Taliban, who then controlled Afghanistan, were harboring al Qaeda, and after being warned, and after an authorization from Congress, our military executed a plan to strike back. Had I been in Congress then, I would have voted to authorize this military action.

But as is typical, there was significant mission creep in Afghanistan. We went from striking back against those who attacked us, to regime change, to nation-building, to policing their country for them. And we do it all now with an authorization that is flimsy at best, with the reason blurred, and the costs now known. We do it with an authorization that was debated and passed before some of our newest military personnel were out of diapers. This isn’t fair to them, to the American people, or to a rational foreign policy.

The Afghanistan war going beyond its original mission has an enormous cost. First and most important is the cost to our troops. Deaths, injuries and unnecessary deployments causing harm to families are certainly the most important reason as to why you don’t go to wars that aren’t necessary.

Then comes the taxpayer. We have spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan, and nearly $5 trillion on Middle East wars in the past 15 years. Would we not be better off with $5 trillion less in debt or using these funds in other, more productive ways?

To continue reading: Sen. Rand Paul: 16 years on, it’s past time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan

 

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Trump and American History Have Been Assassinated, by Paul Craig Roberts

Trump is never going to have his visage carved on Mt. Rushmore, and the four guys who are up there will probably get taken down. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

When Trump was elected I wrote that it was unlikely that he would be successful in accomplishing the three objectives for which he was elected—peace with Russia, the return home of offshored US jobs, and effective limits on non-white immigration—because these objectives conflicted with the interests of those more powerful than the president.

I wrote that Trump was unfamiliar with Washington and would fail to appoint a government that would support his goals. I wrote that unless the ruling oligarchy could bring Trump under its control,Trump would be assassinated.

Trump has been brought under control by assassinating him with words rather than with a bullet. With Steve Bannon’s dismissal, there is now no one in Trump’s government who supports him. He is surrounded by Russophobic generals and Zionists.

But this is not enough for the liberal/progressive/left. They want Trump impeached and driven from office.

Marjorie Cohn, whom I have always admired for her defense of civil liberty, has disappointed me. She has written in Truthout, which sadly has become more like PropagandaOut, that the House must bring articles of impeachment against Trump for his abuse of power and before he launches a new civil war and/or nuclear war.

This is an extraordinary conclusion for a normally intelligent person to reach. What power does Trump have? How does he abuse his non-existent power? The ruling Establishment has cut his balls off. He is neutered. Powerless. He has been completely isolated within his own government by the oligarchy.

Even more astonishingly, Marjorie Cohn, together with 100% of the liberal/progressive/left are blind to the fact that they have helped the military/security complex destroy the only leader who advocated peace instead of conflict with the other major nuclear power. Cohn is so deranged by hatred of Trump that she thinks it is Trump who will bring nuclear war by normalizing relations with Russia.

To continue reading: Trump and American History Have Been Assassinated

 

Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

The US military has trouble counting how many people it kills, especially civilians. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Iraqi Kurdish military intelligence reports have estimated that the nine-month-long U.S.-Iraqi siege and bombardment of Mosul to oust Islamic State forces killed 40,000 civilians. This is the most realistic estimate so far of the civilian death toll in Mosul.

But even this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of civilians killed. No serious, objective study has been conducted to count the dead in Mosul, and studies in other war zones have invariably found numbers of dead that exceeded previous estimates by as much as 20 to one, as a United Nations-backed Truth Commission did in Guatemala after the end of its civil war. In Iraq, epidemiological studies in 2004 and 2006 revealed a post-invasion death toll that was about 12 times higher than previous estimates.

The bombardment of Mosul included tens of thousands of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S. and “coalition” warplanes, thousands of 220-pound HiMARS rockets fired by US Marines from their “Rocket City” base at Quayara, and tens or hundreds of thousands of 155-mm and 122-mm howitzer shells fired by US, French and Iraqi artillery.

This nine-month bombardment left much of Mosul in ruins (as seen here), so the scale of slaughter among the civilian population should not be a surprise to anybody. But the revelation of the Kurdish intelligence reports by former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in an interview with Patrick Cockburn of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper makes it clear that allied intelligence agencies were well aware of the scale of civilian casualties throughout this brutal campaign.

The Kurdish intelligence reports raise serious questions about the US military’s own statements regarding civilian deaths in its bombing of Iraq and Syria since 2014. As recently as April 30, 2017, the US military publicly estimated the total number of civilian deaths caused by all of the 79,992 bombs and missiles it had dropped on Iraq and Syria since 2014 only as “at least 352.” On June 2, it only slightly revised its absurd estimate to “at least 484.”

To continue reading: Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul

Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed? by Patrick Buchanan

President Trump’s Afghanistan strategy: four or eight more years of prolonged indecision. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” said Winston Churchill to cheers at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London in November 1942.

True to his word, the great man did not begin the liquidation.

When his countrymen threw him out in July 1945, that role fell to Clement Attlee, who began the liquidation. Churchill, during his second premiership from 1951-1955, would continue the process, as would his successor, Harold Macmillan, until the greatest empire the world had ever seen had vanished.

While its demise was inevitable, the death of the empire was hastened and made more humiliating by the wars into which Churchill had helped to plunge Britain, wars that bled and bankrupted his nation.

At Yalta in 1945, Stalin and FDR treated the old imperialist with something approaching bemused contempt.

War is the health of the state, but the death of empires.

The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires all fell in World War I. World War II ended the Japanese and Italian empires — with the British and French following soon after. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1989. Afghanistan delivered the coup de grace.

Is it now the turn of the Americans?

Persuaded by his generals — Mattis at Defense, McMasters on the National Security Council, Kelly as chief of staff — President Trump is sending some 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to augment the 8,500 already there.

Like Presidents Obama and Bush, he does not intend to preside over a U.S. defeat in its longest war. Nor do his generals. Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?

The new troops are to train the Afghan army to take over the war, to continue eradicating the terrorist elements like ISIS, and to prevent Kabul and other cities from falling to a Taliban now dominant in 40 percent of the country.

To continue reading: Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed?

Everyone Is Wrong About North Korea, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Let’s see, 75 years ago the US bombed the living crap out of North Korea, and it is now threatening to do so again. North Korea has bombed nobody since the Korean Armistice. The US has bombed numerous countries and replaced their regimes. Yet, it’s the “irrational” North Koreans who threaten the peace of the entire world by threatening to retaliate if attacked, and US demands that North Korea give up its means of defending itself are wholly rational. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at  lewrockwell.com:

Imagine a world where one country – country X – is bombing at least seven countries at any one time and is seeking to bomb an eighth, all the while threatening an adversarial ninth state – country Y – that they will bomb that country into oblivion, as well. Imagine that in this world, country X already bombed country Y back into the Stone Age several decades ago, which directly led to the current adversarial nature of the relationship between the two countries.

Now imagine that country Y, which is currently bombing no one and is concerned mostly with well-founded threats against its own security, threatens to retaliate in the face of this mounting aggression if country X attacks them first. On top of all this, imagine that only country Y is portrayed in the media as a problem and that country X is constantly given a free pass to do whatever it pleases.

Now replace country X with the United States of America and country Y with North Korea to realize there is no need to imagine such a world. It is the world we already live in.

As true as all of this is, the problem is constantly framed as one caused by North Korea alone, not the United States. “How to Deal With North Korea,” the Atlantic explains. “What Can Trump Do About North Korea?” the New York Times asks. “What Can Possibly Be Done About North Korea,” the Huffington Post queriesTime provides 6 experts discussing “How We Can Solve the Problem” (of North Korea). “North Korea – what can the outside world do?” asks the BBC.

To continue reading: Everyone Is Wrong About North Korea

 

The Revolution Betrayed, by Justin Raimondo

Once upon a time Justin Raimondo mistook Donald Trump for a revolutionary. Trump was never a revolutionary, he’s too interested in his own power for that. Time will tell, but don’t bet the ranch that he turns into a neocon lapdog, either. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The exit of Steve Bannon, the President’s political strategist, from the White House and his return to Breitbart.com marks the defeat, if not quite the end, of the “isolationist” America First faction within the Trump administration. It is a victory for what I call the Junta – the coterie of generals who now surround President Trump, and appear to have captured the conduct of American foreign policy. It is a victory, in particular, for Gen. H. R. McMaster, who took over the National Security Agency after Michael Flynn’s ouster, and who is the architect of the “new” Afghanistan strategy – the one that is merely a reiteration of the old strategy.

Bannon has been a particular target of the liberal media, which is responsible for labeling him as an advocate of the so-called “alt-right.” Yet there is exactly zero evidence of this allegiance in his public pronouncements, and his most recent interview – with the liberal journal, The America Prospect – has him characterizing them as a sad “collection of clowns.” Not that this will deter Bannon’s critics, who uniformly fail to mention what really set him apart from your run-of-the-mill Republican operative, and that is his foreign policy views.

The day before his ouster, the New York Times reported on Bannon’s “dovish” views:

“From Afghanistan and North Korea to Syria and Venezuela, Mr. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, has argued against making military threats or deploying American troops into foreign conflicts.

“His views, delivered in a characteristically bomb-throwing style, have antagonized people across the administration, leaving Mr. Bannon isolated and in danger of losing his job. But they are thoroughly in keeping with his nationalist credo, and they have occasionally resonated with the person who matters most: President Trump.”

Bannon’s views on the Korea “crisis” are reported on with a particularly dramatic display of eyebrow-raising: why, he even proposed withdrawing US troops from the Korean peninsula in exchange for North Korea’s denuclearization! (A proposal advanced in this space on more than one occasion.)

It’s delightful to hear that Bannon describes General McMaster is the leader of the “globalist empire project” – a project, one might add, that many of us hoped might be dismantled during a Trump presidency.

To continue reading: The Revolution Betrayed

Trump’s Turn To Lie About Afghanistan, by Matthew Hoh

Afghanistan seems like one big never-ending lie, so why should Trump be any different? From Matthew How at antiwar.com:

There has never been progress by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, unless you are asking the US military contractors or the Afghan drug barons, of whom an extremely large share are our allies in the Afghan government, militias and security forces, there has only been suffering and destruction. American politicians, pundits and generals will speak about “progress” made by the 70,000 American troops put into Afghanistan by President Obama beginning in 2009, along with an additional 30,000 European troops and 100,000 private contractors, however the hard and awful true reality is that the war in Afghanistan has only escalated since 2009, never stabilizing or de-escalating; the Taliban has increased in strength by tens of thousands, despite tens of thousands of casualties and prisoners; and American and Afghan casualties have continued to grow every year of the conflict, with US casualties declining only when US forces began to withdraw in mass numbers from parts of Afghanistan in 2011, while Afghan security forces and civilians have experienced record casualties every year since those numbers began to be kept by the UN.

Similarly, any progress in reconstructing or developing Afghanistan has been found to be near existent despite the more than $100 billion spent by the United States on such efforts by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR). $100 billion, by the way, is more money than was spent on the Marshall Plan when that post-WWII reconstruction plan is put into inflation adjusted dollars. Oft repeated claims, such as millions of Afghan school girls going to school, millions of Afghans having access to improved health care and Afghan life expectancy dramatically increasing, and the construction of an Afghan job building economy have been exposed as nothing more than public relations lies. Often displayed as modern Potemkin Villages to visiting journalists and congressional delegations and utilized to justify continued budgets for the Pentagon and USAID, and, so, to allow for more killing, like America’s reconstruction program in Iraq, the reconstruction program in Afghanistan has proven to be a failure and its supposed achievements shown to be virtually nonexistent, as documented by multiple investigations by SIGAR, as well as by investigators and researchers from organizations such as the UN, EU, IMF, World Bank, etc.

To continue reading: Trump’s Turn To Lie About Afghanistan