Foreign Affairs

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The War That’s Not a War

by Rep. Ron Paul, July 03, 2010

Statement in the House by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas on funding the war in Afghanistan;

In January 1991, we went to war in the Middle East against Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s dictator who was our ally during the Iran-Iraq war. A border dispute between Kuwait and Iraq broke out after our State Department gave a green light to Hussein’s invasion.

After Iraq’s successful invasion of Kuwait, we reacted with gusto and have been militarily involved in the entire region 6,000 miles from our shores ever since. This has included Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. After 20 years of killing and a couple trillion dollars wasted, not only does the fighting continue with no end in sight, but our leaders threaten to spread our bombs of benevolence on Iran.

For most Americans, we are at war, at war against a tactic called terrorism, not a country. This allows our military to go any place in the world without limits as to time or place. But how can we be at war? Congress has not declared war, as required by the Constitution, that is true. But our Presidents have, and Congress and the people have not objected. Congress obediently provides all the money requested for the war.

People are dying. Bombs are dropped. Our soldiers are shot at and killed. Our soldiers wear a uniform; our enemies do not. They are not part of any government. They have no planes, no tanks, no ships, no missiles, and no modern technology. What kind of a war is this anyway, if it really is one? If it was a real war, we would have won it by now. Our stated goal since 9/11 has been to destroy al Qaeda.

Was al Qaeda in Iraq? Not under Saddam Hussein. Our leaders lied us into invading Iraq and deceived us into occupying Afghanistan. There is still really no al Qaeda in Iraq and only 100 or so in Afghanistan, and yet there is no end in sight to the war. Could there have been other reasons for this war that is not a war? A military victory in Afghanistan is illusive. Does anyone really know who we are fighting and why?

Why has the war not ended? Nine years, and it continues to spread. Some claim it is to keep America safe, that our soldiers are fighting and dying for our freedom, defending our Constitution. Are we being lied to in order to keep us in this spreading war, just as we were lied to in the 1960s to keep us in Vietnam?

We own the Iraq Government, as we do Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, we are fighting the Taliban, those dangerous people with guns defending their homeland. Once they were called the Mujahideen, our old allies, along with bin Laden, in the fight to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan in the 1980s. In that effort, our CIA funded radical jihad against that nasty foreign occupier, the Russians. What gratitude. Those same people now resent our benevolent occupation, with a little violence thrown in.

The resistance to our presence grows as our perseverance wanes. Our people are waking up, but our officials refuse to recognize the longer we stay, the greater is the support for those dedicated to the principle that Afghanistan is for Afghans who resent all foreign occupation.

The harder we fight a war that is not a war, the weaker we get and the stronger becomes our enemy. When an enemy without weapons can respect an army of great strength, the most powerful of all history, one should ask, who has the moral high ground?

Military failure in Afghanistan is to be our destiny. Changing generals without changing our policies or our policymakers perpetuates our agony and delays the inevitable.

This is not a war that our generals have been trained for. Nation building, police work, social engineering is never a job for foreign occupiers and never an appropriate job for soldiers trained to win wars.

A military victory is no longer even a stated goal of our military leaders or our politicians, as they know that type of victory is impossible.

The sad story is, this war is against ourselves, our values, our Constitution, our financial well-being and common sense. And at the rate we’re going, it’s going to end badly.

What we need are honest leaders with character and a new foreign policy.

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More Juan Cole stuff this morning. He’s making a good argument that these new Obama administration airline passenger screening measures are casting too wide a net and will end up alienating people. Also, they tell al-Qaida which countries not to send bombers from. For example, Indonesia and India aren’t on the list. And why is Cuba on the list?

It’s hard to find a discussion of these issues on the American media which is so scared it might be called ‘liberal’ that it constantly bends over backwards to appease the republicans, who are mostly right wing now, with vanishing numbers of ‘moderates’. So, it was refreshing to hear, thanks to Juan Cole, a different analysis of these new screening measures brought to us by, yes, you guessed it, AlJazeeraEnglish.

Here’s a 24 minute video from AlJazeeraEnglish with the title, “Inside Story – New airline security measures: Safe or discriminatory? – 5 Jan 2009″


So, if Obama’s rhetoric is high minded and progressive, are his actions more like a continuation of George W. Bush’s policies? In other words, is Obama becoming W-ized?

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Fidel’s brother, Raul Castro, is now taking over in Cuba. Here’s a picture of him giving the V-sign. Should I say GO BRO GO?

Raul and I were born in the same hospital in Preston, Oriente, Cuba in January of 1929. As I’ve mentioned to friends and family a number of times (perhaps too many times), he could be me and I could be him.

If he’s me, I hope I’m better looking than that. Anyway, c’mon Raul start liberalizing the place. Same goes for you, Barack. I’d like to visit again before I croak.

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Oh boy, some more wonky boring stuff out of SeevsPlace. ha ha Well, what the hell, I think I’ll make a post on this anyways. I just got through listening to what I thought was a very interesting and truthful, as against the bullshitty “truthiness” that we usually get on our media here in the good old USofA, discussion by two knowledgeable persons, as against bullshit artist, mainly Republican, politicians and gutless media persons! It’s refreshing to hear people give facts and opinions uncolored by the usual, oh boy we may have to bomb Iran they’re bad guys we’re good guys better vote Republican things are either black or white and they’re black in Iran so we better bomb ’em right away, vote McCain! ha ha?

Gary Sick (unfortunate name?) of Columbia University is one of the most reasonable and knowledgeable foreign policy experts around, a great personage who has written many books (none of which I’ve read) and the other guy is John Hostettler, a former Republican congressman who was against the Iraq war. So, this isn’t a case of the usual on-the-one-hand on-the-other-hand type discussion, typical of our gutless, corporation controlled media unwilling to point out what’s reasonable and what isn’t. Anyway, this video is a real good discussion of where we are, where the world is, in terms of us, the US, and Iran. The interviewer is a reasonable guy by the name of Riz Khan, not your typical smarmy Tom Brokaw type, which is refreshing in itself! Hey, if you’ve got over 12 minutes, but less than 13, to waste, take a look at this thing. 😀


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I watched most of Bill Moyers’ interview with Andrew J. Bacevich last evening. What an eye-opener! I’d been aware of a lot about Bacevich (see my post from last year) but had never known what he looks like nor witnessed his strong personality in a video before.

I would sum up what he is saying as follows: we have become an imperial nation over the past thirty years because of the combination of our naivety and hubris about “freedom” and our craven commercialism.

A small group of us at the top has led the way into this economic, political and military pickle we’re now in, and he blames Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II all about equally, except of course that Bush II has really accelerated our decline, but we, the American people as a whole, bear equal responsibility for being oblivious and allowing this nonsense to go on. You could blame the media too.

He feels that no matter who is elected president, Obama or McCain, nothing much will change because we are already far down the road with this imperial state and certainly Obama does not appear to have deviated much from the status quo, evidence for this being he does not list Andrew J. Bacevich among his advisers.

Bacevich is a Professor of International Relations at Boston University, retired Army colonel, and West Point graduate who served in Vietnam and retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of colonel. He’s come out with a new book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, which Moyers referred to in his interview with Bacevich.

He invokes Reinhold Niebuhr, that famous intellectual American theologian of the 20th century, in this paragraph given by Moyers from the first chapter of The Limits of Power:

The United States today finds itself threatened by three interlocking crises. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military. All three share this characteristic: They are of our own making. In assessing the predicament that results from these crises, THE LIMITS OF POWER employs what might be called a Niebuhrean perspective. Writing decades ago, Reinhold Niebuhr anticipated that predicament with uncanny accuracy and astonishing prescience. As such, perhaps more than any other figure in our recent history, he may help us discern a way out.

So what should we do on Nov. 4? I’d say hold your nose and vote for Obama. Here’s a paragraph from a comment by PacificCoastRon on Steve Clemons’ blog:

So: oppose Obama all you want up til Nov. 3rd, criticize him, hold him up to higher standards, advocate for the revolution you’d like to see, and call out the Democrats for the cowardly leeches that most of them are. But hold your nose to make sure you vote for him on Nov. 4th (or earlier if you can vote by mail), and get all your friends to vote for him, and get all your friends to make sure the Republicans don’t steal it again. then on Nov. 5th you can go back to being disappointed in Obama, and in pressuring him and criticizing him with all your might to guide him towards your vision of utopia.

The alternative, John McCain, is unthinkable.

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