Tag Archives: Interventionism

Twenty Years on, We’ve Learned Nothing From 9/11, by Ron Paul

Those who cannot learn from the past are destined for high office or other well-paid, prestigious Washington sinecures. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Nothing upset the Washington Beltway elites more than when in a 2007 presidential debate I pointed out the truth about the 9/11 attacks: they attacked us because we’ve been in the Middle East, sanctioning and bombing the civilian population, for decades. The 9/11 attackers were not motivated to commit suicide terrorism on the Twin Towers and Pentagon because they dislike our freedoms, as then-President Bush claimed. That was a self-serving lie.

They hated – and hate – us because we kill them for no reason. Day after day. Year after year. Right up until just a few days ago, when President Biden slaughtered Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family – including seven children – in Afghanistan. The Administration bragged about taking out a top ISIS target. But they lied. Ahmadi was just an aid worker, working for a California-based organization, bringing water to suffering Afghan village residents.

This horror has been repeated thousands of times, over and over, for decades. Does Washington believe these people are subhuman? That they somehow don’t care about their relatives being killed? That they don’t react as we would react if a foreign power slaughtered our families?

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously suggested in an interview that killing half a million Iraqi children with sanctions designed to remove Saddam Hussein from power was “worth it.” It was an admission that the lives of innocents mean nothing to the Washington elite, even as they paint their murderous interventions as some kind of “humanitarian liberation.” The slogan of the US foreign policy establishment really should be, “No Lives Matter.”

The Washington foreign policy elites – Republicans and Democrats – are deeply corrupt and act contrary to US national interests. They pretend that decades of indiscriminate bombing overseas are beneficial to the victims and keep us safer as well. That is how they are able, year after year, to convince Congress to hand over a trillion dollars – money taken directly and indirectly from average Americans. They use fear and lies for their own profit. And they call themselves patriots.

Continue reading→

9/11: Why Americans Were Never Told Why They Were Attacked, by Joe Lauria

This will be a radical thought to many Americans, but terrorists have their reasons for their attacks and it would be a good idea to listen to them. Hatred of our freedoms often isn’t even on the list. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

When Western media discusses terrorism against the West, such as 9/11, the motive is almost always left out, even when the terrorists state they are avenging longstanding Western violence in the Muslim world, reports Joe Lauria.

Lower Manhattan skyline after a Boeing 767 hit the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. (Michael Foran, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

After a Russian commercial airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai last October [2015], Western media reported that the Islamic State bombing was retaliation against Russian airstrikes in Syria. The killing of 224 people, mostly Russian tourists on holiday, was matter-of-factly treated as an act of war by a fanatical group without an air force resorting to terrorism as a way to strike back.

Yet, Western militaries have killed infinitely more innocent civilians in the Middle East than Russia has. Then why won’t Western officials and media cite retaliation for that Western violence as a cause of terrorist attacks on New York, Paris and Brussels?

Instead, there’s a fierce determination not to make the same kinds of linkages that the press made so easily when it was Russia on the receiving end of terror. [See Consortium News’s “Obama Ignores Russian Terror Victims.”]

For example, throughout four hours of Sky News’ coverage of the July 7, 2005 attacks in London, only the briefest mention was made about a possible motive for that horrific assault on three Underground trains and a bus, killing 52 people. But the attacks came just two years after Britain’s participation in the murderous invasion of Iraq.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of the Iraq War’s architects, condemned the loss of innocent life in London and linked the attacks to a G-8 summit he’d opened that morning. A TV host then read and belittled a 10-second claim of responsibility from a self-proclaimed Al Qaeda affiliate in Germany saying that the Iraq invasion was to blame. There was no more discussion about it.

Continue reading→

Bring All the Troops Home: Stop Policing the Globe and Put an End to Endless Wars, by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

Mind your own business use to be folk wisdom. Now the mere suggestion of it to the US foreign policy and military establishment is apostasy. From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves…. together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning.”—George S. McGovern, former Senator and presidential candidate

It’s time to bring all our troops home.

Bring them home from Somalia, Iraq and Syria. Bring them home from Germany, South Korea and Japan. Bring them home from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. Bring them home from Niger, Chad and Mali. Bring them home from Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

It’s not enough to pull American troops out of Afghanistan, America’s longest, bloodiest and most expensive war to date.

It’s time that we stop policing the globe, stop occupying other countries, and stop waging endless wars.

That’s not what’s going to happen, of course.

The U.S. military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world.

Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Don’t fall for the propaganda, though.

America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

Continue reading→

Afghanistan: A Tragically Stupid War Comes to a Tragic End, by Ron Paul

Ron Paul is too polite to say, “I told you so,” but he did warn Washington about what it was getting into. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Sunday’s news reports that the Biden Administration mistakenly killed nine members of one Afghan family, including six children, in “retaliation” for last week’s suicide attack which killed 13 US servicemembers, is a sad and sick epitaph on the 20 year Afghanistan war.

Promising to “get tough” on ISIS, which suddenly re-emerged to take responsibility for the suicide attack, the most expensive military and intelligence apparatus on earth appears to have gotten it wrong. Again.

Interventionists love to pretend they care about girls and women in Afghanistan, but it is in reality a desperate attempt to continue the 20-year US occupation. If we leave, they say, girls and women will be discriminated against by the Taliban.

It’s hard to imagine a discrimination worse than being incinerated by a drone strike, but these “collateral damage” attacks over the past 20 years have killed scores of civilians. Just like on Sunday.

That’s the worst part of this whole terrible war: day-after-day for twenty years civilians were killed because of the “noble” effort to re-make Afghanistan in the image of the United States. But the media and the warmongers who call the shots in government – and the “private” military-industrial sector – could not have cared less. Who recalls a single report on how many civilians were just “collateral damage” in the futile US war?

Continue reading→

You Need To Understand That The US Is The Most Tyrannical Regime On Earth, by Caitlin Johnstone

A government can tyrannize both at home and abroad. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

You get a lot of moral clarity when you realize that the US government is the most despotic and corrupt regime on the entire planet by a very wide margin. This clarity informs your perspective in a way that helps you see through a lot of the propaganda narratives that are laid over the public’s vision about what’s going on in our world.

Whenever I say the US is the most tyrannical regime on earth I get a lot of objections from people, and these are always people who simply haven’t thought very hard about the horrific realities of US foreign policy. Sure you can name some governments who are more brutal and oppressive toward their own citizenry than Washington, but you can’t name any who are more brutal and oppressive overall when you zoom out and look at the big picture.

The United States is currently circling the planet with hundreds of military bases and waging wars which have killed millions and displaced tens of millions just since the turn of this century. Its sanctions and blockades are starving people to death en masse every single day. It works to destroy any nation which disobeys its dictates by toppling their governments via CIA coups, proxy armies, partial and full-scale invasions, and the most egregious number of election interferences in the entire world.

Continue reading→

Wrong Lessons from the Afghanistan Debacle and Defeat, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The “lessons” US interventionists will learn from their failure in Afghanistan is like the the alcoholic who “learns” his problems stem from his preference for gin over vodka. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, interventionists are not learning the real lessons in their defeat in Afghanistan. Instead, they are coming up with all sorts of reasons as to why their Afghanistan intervention turned out to be such a big debacle. They say that they’ve learned how to do better with future interventions.

One of the favorite lessons they have learned from this fiasco is encapsulated in the phrase “forever wars.” Some interventionists now say that converting the Afghanistan war into a “forever war” was the big mistake.  They say that what they should have been done is just invade, quickly capture or kill Osama bin Laden and other members of al-Qaeda, and quickly oust the Taliban regime and replace it with a pro-U.S. regime. Then, quickly get out. No “forever war.”

License: Creative Commons

What these interventionists fail to realize is that that is precisely what President George W. Bush wanted to do. Convinced that U.S. military forces had accomplished their mission (well, except for capturing and killing bin Laden), Bush quickly turned his sights toward Iraq, where he aimed to do what his father had failed to do during the Persian Gulf intervention — oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a pro-U.S. regime.

Now, let’s imagine that Bush had done what interventionists now favor — initiated a quick in-and-out intervention in Afghanistan. Wouldn’t the Taliban quickly have gone on the offensive against the new U.S.-installed puppet regime? If the Taliban had quickly retaken power, then what would have been the point of the intervention, especially given that it had not succeeded in taking out bin Laden? The whole reason that U.S. forces had to stay in Afghanistan and make this a “forever war” was to prevent the Taliban from reversing the regime change that the intervention had achieved.

Continue reading→

We Are The Terrorists, by Caitlin Johnstone

If what Saudi Arabia, with American assistance, is doing to Yemen isn’t terrorism, what is? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The Trump administration is reportedly close to moving the Houthi rebels in Yemen onto its official list of designated terrorist organizations with the goal of choking them off from money and resources. The head of the UN’s World Food Program along with many other experts caution that this designation will prolong the horrific war which has claimed over a quarter million lives and create an impenetrable barrier of red tape stopping humanitarian aid from getting to the Yemeni people.

The United Nations conservatively estimates that some 233,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, mostly from what it calls “indirect causes”. Those indirect causes would be disease and starvation resulting from what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “the worst famine the world has seen for decades”.

When people hear the word “famine” they usually think of mass hunger caused by droughts or other naturally occurring phenomena, but in reality the starvation deaths we are seeing in Yemen (a huge percentage of which are children under the age of five) are caused by something that is no more natural than the starvation deaths you’d see in a medieval siege. They are the result of the Saudi coalition’s use of blockades and its deliberate targeting of farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites, and cholera treatment centers with airstrikes aimed at making the Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen so weak and miserable that they break.

In other words, the US and its allies have been helping Saudi Arabia deliberately kill children and other civilians on mass scale in order to achieve a political goal. Which would of course be a perfect example of any standard definition of terrorism.

Continue reading→

What the Media Aren’t Telling You About Turkey and the Kurds, by Marc D. Joffe

There are good reasons, Marc D. Joffe argues, for the US to stand aside in the Turkey-Kurd conflict. From Joffe at antiwar.com:

Mainstream media are taking occasional breaks from 24/7 impeachment coverage this month to lambaste the Trump Administration for abandoning our Syrian Kurdish allies at the insistence of Turkey’s despotic rulers. Since the original withdrawal announcement, Administration policy has taken on a helter-skelter quality: rushing out sanctions, threatening airstrikes and deploying troops elsewhere in the Middle East. Ultimately Trump policies are producing more foreign adventurism and less freedom of commerce for American companies. But the original decision to pull out was the correct one, and consistent media criticism of the withdrawal often omits important facts that the American public needs to consider. Specifically:

  • As a member of NATO since 1952, Turkey has been a US treaty ally for as long as most of us can remember; the Syrian Kurdish forces are not a recognized state and thus cannot be an ally, a term used in diplomatic parlance to refer to states formally cooperating with one another.
  • The Syrian Kurdish forces are connected with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which was designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization in 1997 and remains on the list in 2019.

Continue reading

Uncle Sam Sent Me to Rehab for PTSD, by Danny Sjursen

The money paragraph: 

Here it is: I’m left with the profound, if hopeless, wish that every American voter and aspirant adolescent soldier would spend a moment with the veterans in rehab across this country tonight. To know what I know, to see what we – all of us – have allowed to happen in our names. There’s romance, and naivety, in that wish, I know, but I wish it just the same. 

From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

I arrived an absolute mess; most of us did. Bloated cheeks, sunken eyes, wearing my PTSD and depression on every inch of my face. I can’t say I really wanted to be there, even if I had volunteered. Ironic, wasn’t it?

This, a civilian treatment facility in nowhere, Arizona, was to be my last official duty as an officer in the U.S. Army – an ignominious end to a once-bright career. Still, the truth is I needed it: After several years of treatment for post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety, I wasn’t getting any better. The Army saw it and decided to retire me a few years early. Over the last year, my life ran off the rails – self medicating, spiraling, the standard drill for a broken vet.

Only those closest to me saw it; however, these were the very ones I’d hurt, who couldn’t take it anymore – with the fallout of bridges burned and relationships sabotaged. Nonetheless, most of us remain publicly functional long after these afflictions have taken the wheel. The frightening paradox of it all was that while my writing only improved, my emotional health deteriorated. That said, kudos to the Army, I suppose, for footing the bill and offering the opportunity for inpatient treatment on my way out the proverbial door. That’s how they do it: Ask the impossible, shatter a life, send for help when you’re too far gone to be of much use any longer – the assembly line of endless wars and the unfortunates who fight them.

It was a strange place, this facility on the outskirts of Phoenix. And expensive! Some 60 percent of the “clients” (as the staff unnervingly referred to patients) were wealthy professionals, well-off white folks with afflictions ranging from depression to suicidal ideation to personality disorders to heroin addiction. Some had Cadillac health insurance plans; a surprising number paid cash, a cool 60 grand.

Continue reading

Mapping the American War on Terror, by Stephanie Savell

Since terror is a tactic that can be used anywhere, the wonder is not the number of countries in which the US is fighting its war on terror, but that there are remaining where it is not. From Stephanie Sevall at tomdispatch.com:

In September 2001, the Bush administration launched the “Global War on Terror.” Though “global” has long since been dropped from the name, as it turns out, they weren’t kidding.

When I first set out to map all the places in the world where the United States is still fighting terrorism so many years later, I didn’t think it would be that hard to do. This was before the 2017 incident in Niger in which four American soldiers were killed on a counterterror mission and Americans were given an inkling of how far-reaching the war on terrorism might really be. I imagined a map that would highlight Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria — the places many Americans automatically think of in association with the war on terror — as well as perhaps a dozen less-noticed countries like the Philippines and Somalia. I had no idea that I was embarking on a research odyssey that would, in its second annual update, map U.S. counterterror missions in 80 countries in 2017 and 2018, or 40% of the nations on this planet (a map first featured in Smithsonian magazine).

As co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, I’m all too aware of the costs that accompany such a sprawling overseas presence. Our project’s research shows that, since 2001, the U.S. war on terror has resulted in the loss — conservatively estimated — of almost half a million lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone. By the end of 2019, we also estimate that Washington’s global war will cost American taxpayers no less than $5.9 trillion already spent and in commitments to caring for veterans of the war throughout their lifetimes.

Continue reading