Posts tagged Empire
The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan
We stay and will stay in a more “limited” way in Afghanistan because it is vitally important in the “grand game.” Afghanistan is the cornerstone of Asia and it is at the crossroads of the Silk Road. To the north is Putin’s Russia, to the west Iran. To the east China. To the south India. It may be inhospitable. It may be dangerous. It may be the place where historically empires have gone to die. But it is full of unexploited minerals and lots and lots of opium.
To control Asia (which is probably impossible though the British gave it a good go) one must control the craggy peaks and dusty valleys of Afghanistan. And that is why we continue to dump money down a hole in the country and will probably forever. That and if we stop things will probably get get even worse. This is why we should leave empire building to other countries. We were once a colony. We didn’t like it.
(From Vice News)
Afghanistan may now be a catch-22, but US donors have missed several chances to learn a lesson. Sopko pointed to a 1988 USAID report on development in Afghanistan, drawing many of the same conclusions that US officials are realizing now. And many of the mistakes made in Iraq — particularly with sub-contractors — were repeated in Afghanistan and are once again becoming the norm.
“I’ve seen it in Somalia, in Yemen. The system of corruption and collusion between the US government and these contractors was born in Afghanistan and is being replicated elsewhere,” Jackson said, adding that development in Afghanistan took a turn for the worse after a surge both in military presence and in misguided development projects. “In 2010 you had this massive influx of money and all these quick-impact projects, and focus on burn rates rather than results.”
“That’s very important for understanding why Afghanistan is such a mess now,” she added. “If you look back, it could have gone differently.”
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About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
By Adam Dick
Ron Paul on CIA Targeting Congress
RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, speaking on the Fox Business show The Independents Wednesday night, addresses the Central Intelligence Agency’s spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee — seemingly to cover up torture revelations against the agency. Paul notes the irony that Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) “doesn’t care about our privacy, but, lo and behold, she does care about her own.”
Watch the complete interview here:
Is the War on Terror a Lost Cause?
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Published on Jan 7, 2014
WASHINGTON—As the second session of the 113th Congress began at noon Jan. 6, Rep. Howard McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released a news bulletin bemoaning the loss of the city of Fallujah to al-Qaeda forces in Iraq.
In his press release, McKeon limited criticism about what critics call the Fallujah folly to Secretary of State John Kerry, the former Massachusetts senator. Kerry is saying Iraq’s own government now has the responsibility to pick up the pieces on Fallujah.
McKeon noted, “I am dismayed by Secretary Kerry’s dismissal of the threat from al-Qaeda as ‘Iraq’s battle to fight.’ It took two bloody battles to liberate Fallujah. Many U.S., British, and Iraqi forces—Sunni and Shia—lost their lives to secure that city.”
But was Fallujah, a strategic city west of Baghdad, really “liberated” by U.S. Marines in 2004? Critics say the U.S. liberation amounted to a brutal assault, which included the use of white phosphorus weapons on scores of civilians who were among the claimed enemy “insurgents.” Yet all of that fighting appears to have been futile.
Al-Qaeda, once “masterminded” by notorious 9-11 arch-villain Osama bin Laden, is, of course, the enemy organization blamed for the 9-11 attacks. And those attacks were used to justify an Iraq war that just passed the 10-year mark, and an Afghanistan quagmire that is America’s longest-ever war.
McKeon also cited Iran when he added: “When our allies fight al-Qaeda for us, and the United States sits on the sidelines, not only do our allies notice, but so do our adversaries. I note that Iran has already jumped in with offers of assistance. When terrorism is allowed to flourish abroad, when the specter of insurgency haunts democratic nations, our own security suffers.”
McKeon added that Sec. Kerry and the Obama Administration should realize that in spite of their desire to wish the threat away, al-Qaeda has evolved and remains “a shared threat.” And citing a rationale for more U.S. military involvement, McKeon stated: “I urge the Administration to demonstrate a full commitment in support of an ally fighting a common enemy.”
Is this the same old song from legislators obsessed with the idea that the U.S. must be both an empire and an umpire and continually police the world? Will the current war on terror ever end, given breaking news that more and more U.S. weapons shipments are bound for Iraq?
Of course, real terrorists do exist, especially closer to home. Missing among members of perhaps the most unpopular Congress in U.S. history are sustained, constructive concerns about loose immigration laws that help enable Mexican drug cartels to set up networks in various U.S. cities, both in border towns and in inland towns.
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses are saying that even Iraq’s government itself has lost control of Fallujah. Al-Qaeda-linked militants now are said to control southern Fallujah, while tribesmen allied with al-Qaeda hold the rest of it. Therefore, the purpose of the U.S. sack of Fallujah—indeed the purpose of the overall war on terror—is getting increasingly harder to understand.
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Ron Paul Rewind: Defense Spending vs. Empire Spending
Last year, debate “moderators” from Fox News had a hard time understanding the difference between legitimate spending on defending the U.S. versus the wasteful spending on the military empire. Dr. Paul explained it with passion and in true smackdown form, leaving the warmongers on stage, and in the audience, speechless.
Video capture from the Fox presidential debate added to original post.
Published by CongressmanRonPaul
When Will We Attack Syria? Plans, rumors, and war propaganda for attacking Syria and deposing Assad have been around for many months. This past week however, it was reported that the Pentagon indeed has finalized plans to do just that. In my opinion, all the evidence to justify this attack is bogus. It is no more credible than the pretext given for the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the 2011 attack on Libya. The total waste of those wars should cause us to pause before this all-out effort at occupation and regime change is initiated against Syria. There are no national security concerns that require such a foolish escalation of violence in the Middle East. There should be no doubt that our security interests are best served by completely staying out of the internal strife now raging in Syria. We are already too much involved in supporting the forces within Syria anxious to overthrow the current government. Without outside interference, the strife—now characterized as a civil war—would likely be non-existent. Whether or not we attack yet another country, occupying it and setting up a new regime that we hope we can control poses a serious Constitutional question: From where does a president get such authority? Since World War II the proper authority to go to war has been ignored. It has been replaced by international entities like the United Nations and NATO, or the President himself, while ignoring the Congress. And sadly, the people don’t object. Our recent presidents explicitly maintain that the authority to go to war is not the U.S. Congress. This has been the case since 1950 when we were taken into war in Korea under UN Resolution and without Congressional approval. And once again, we are about to engage in military action against Syria and at the same time irresponsibly reactivating the Cold War with Russia. We’re now engaged in a game of “chicken” with Russia which presents a much greater threat to our security than does Syria. How would we tolerate Russia in Mexico demanding a humanitarian solution to the violence on the U.S.-Mexican border? We would consider that a legitimate concern for us. But, for us to be engaged in Syria, where the Russian have a legal naval base, is equivalent to the Russians being in our backyard in Mexico. We are hypocritical when we condemn Russian for protecting their neighborhood interests for exactly what we have been doing ourselves, thousands of miles away from our shores. There’s no benefit for us to be picking sides, secretly providing assistance and encouraging civil strife in an effort to effect regime change in Syria. Falsely charging the Russians with supplying military helicopters to Assad is an unnecessary provocation. Falsely blaming the Assad government for a so-called massacre perpetrated by a violent warring rebel faction is nothing more than war propaganda. Most knowledgeable people now recognize that the planned war against Syria is merely the next step to take on the Iranian government, something the neo-cons openly admit. Controlling Iranian oil, just as we have done in Saudi Arabia and are attempting to do in Iraq, is the real goal of the neo-conservatives who have been in charge of our foreign policy for the past couple of decades. War is inevitable without a significant change in our foreign policy, and soon. Disagreements between our two political parties are minor. Both agree the sequestration of any war funds must be canceled. Neither side wants to abandon our aggressive and growing presence in the Middle East and South Asia. This crisis building can easily get out of control and become a much bigger war than just another routine occupation and regime change that the American people have grown to accept or ignore. It’s time the United States tried a policy of diplomacy, seeking peace, trade, and friendship. We must abandon our military effort to promote and secure an American empire. Besides, we’re broke, we can’t afford it, and worst of all, we’re fulfilling the strategy laid out by Osama bin Laden whose goal had always been to bog us down in the Middle East and bring on our bankruptcy here at home. It’s time to bring our troops home and establish a non-interventionist foreign policy, which is the only road to peace and prosperity.
This week I am introducing legislation to prohibit the Administration, absent a declaration of war by Congress, from supporting — directly or indirectly — any military or paramilitary operations in Syria. I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort.
Is America Rome?
My father, a naval officer and history buff, explained to me how Rome fell into decadence and lost touch with its republican roots. He told me about Nero, and the debasement of the money, and the empire seeking. And then the end.
My dad also talked about “bread and circuses.” That is, that the politicians in Rome appealed to base instincts to control the population. Feed the people and entertain the people. Keep them blind and unaware.
How’s Kim Kardashian doing? Please do not answer that.
Diocletian was worse than Nixon. Rome enforced controls with the death penalty — and forbid people to change professions. Emperor Constantine decreed that those who broke such rules “be bound with chains and reduced to servile condition.”
Eventually, Rome’s empire was so large — and people so resentful of centralized control — that generals in outlying regions began declaring independence from Rome.
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Ron Paul’s Pod Cast Nation #19 ~ Hypocrisy
Posted by RonPaulCC2012
Truth. Justice. Accountability. The idea of an international rule of law appeals to our innate sense of justice, but the most horrific plans are often cloaked in the most beautiful lies. Just as the ideals of international law are used to cloak the imperial ambitions of the globalists, so too is the idea of seeking justice in these controlled courtrooms a phoney pipe dream. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we explore the only real solution to this problem: removing the bodyguard of lies from the power elite and to withdrawing ourselves from the systems that seek to legitimize their rule.
http://NextNewsNetwork.com | Now is the time. Join the maiden broadcast on Dec 22.
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By Jacob G. Hornberger
It’s no big surprise. A gun massacre brings out the gun-control crowd, which loudly demands that gun control be imposed on the American people, as if that would have prevented the massacre in Connecticut.
It’s really a shame to have to trot out the same arguments exposing the fallacies of statist thinking, but, alas, it must be done.
First, murderers don’t and won’t obey gun-control laws. If they don’t comply with murder laws, they’re not going to comply with gun-control laws.
The people who comply with gun-control laws are peaceful, law-abiding types who are now denied the right to defend themselves from the murderers. Why do peaceful, law-abiding people obey gun-control laws while murderers don’t. Because the former don’t want to be convicted felons, while the latter don’t care.
After all, don’t forget that it was illegal for the shooter in Connecticut to carry guns onto school property. No doubt much to the surprise of statists, he didn’t say, “Golly, even though I want to murder all those children, I can’t do it because it’s illegal for me to carry my gun onto school property.”
Second, gun-control laws won’t eliminate guns from society, any more than drug laws have eliminated drugs from society. Given the millions of guns in existence, along with continued manufacture of guns all over the world, all that gun control would do is convert the business of owning guns into a black-market enterprise. That means gun gangs, gun cartels, robberies, muggings, and all the other things that come into existence with a black market. If you like the war on drugs, you’ll love the war on guns.
Let’s now address a more fundamental issue, one that statists can never consider given their inability to think outside the statist box in which they have been born and raised.
The Connecticut massacre took place in a public school or, to put it more accurately, in a government school. That’s a place where parents are forced by law to send their children. If they don’t send their children into this governmental system, they are arrested, charged, and incarcerated. They might even have their children taken away from them for “incompetence” or “abuse.”
Sure, there are two alternatives for parents — private schools and homeschooling. But for the vast majority of parents, those are not viable options. Private schools, which have to secure a license from the government to operate, are too expensive, especially for a vast number of families that also are required by law to pay school taxes even if they decline to send their children into the public-school system. Other parents do not feel competent to homeschool or are unable to do so for other reasons, such as the need to have two incomes.
So, that leaves a large segment of families being forced to send their children to these state institutions from the time they are six years old.
Along with the regimentation and indoctrination that comes with the government being in charge of children’s education comes another distinguishing characteristic: These institutions are mandatory gun-free zones. That is, teachers and principals are prohibited by law from carrying a gun onto school property. I’d be willing to bet that there is a 99 percent compliance rate because most teachers and principals don’t want to be convicted felons and they want to keep their jobs.
So, consider the situation: The state forces parents to send their children into state institutions in which there are already gun-control laws — that is, laws that make it illegal for people to carry weapons onto the premises. The peaceful and law-abiding people obey the gun law. The murderer, knowing that everyone is defenseless, doesn’t obey the gun law.
Now, obviously most parents aren’t going to even question the horror in this. That’s because public schooling is a part of their lives. They went to public schools. So did their friends. For them, public schools mean “freedom,” even though they have a hard time explaining how it is that public (i.e., government) schooling is a core feature of communist and socialist countries like Cuba, North Korea, and China.
So, does that mean that the solution is to let public-school teachers and administrators carry guns to school? Not for us libertarians. We have no interest in telling the state how to run its schools. For us, public schooling is an inherently immoral and destructive institution. It should be dismantled completely, in favor of a total free market in education. See The Future of Freedom Foundation’s book Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families by Sheldon Richman.
A free market in education would put families, not the state, in charge of their children’s education. Some people would choose schools that are not gun-free zones. Others would choose schools that are. The same principle of freedom of choice would apply to a vast array of other things – schools that are general in nature and others that specialize in things like music, religion, math, liberal arts, or science. Some parents would choose to have their children be educated without schools.
But the point is that in a free market, people are able to get what they want, as compared to having the state force it upon them and their children. As things stand now, most families have no effective choice at all — the state forces them to send their children into a gun-free institutions where their children are defenseless against murderers.
As the gun-control debate gets ramped up once again, there’s another thing to consider: the permanent culture of violence that the U.S. military empire and national-security state have brought to our nation. For decades, we have heard about how U.S. forces abroad have killed wedding parties, families, old people, and, yes, children. Oftentimes, there is the standard expression of regret by U.S. officials, but a callous mindset of conscious indifference to human life has, slowly but surely, been inculcated into the American people, at least with respect to Muslims and Arabs.
Consider, for example, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children whom the U.S. government killed with its 11 years of brutal sanctions against Iraq. When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright was asked by “Sixty Minutes” whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were worth it, she responded that yes, they were indeed “worth it.”
That mindset was really no different in the invasion of Iraq. When the bogus WMDs failed to materialize, U.S. officials said that their new primary objective was to bring “democracy” to Iraq. So, rather than exiting the country after failing to find those bogus WMDs, they stayed, killing countless more Iraqis. The mindset that justified the continued killing and mayhem was the same that undergirded the sanctions — that any number of deaths of the Iraqi people was considered “worth it” — worth the political goal of establishing “democracy” in the country.
How can that mindset of callous indifference toward the sanctity of human life not be transmitted to the American people, especially given the faith that so many Americans place in their federal officials?
For more on this, see my January 2011 article “The Banality of Evil,” which was written in the wake of the Arizona shootings and which applies just as well today.
Finally, let us never forget the primary reason that gun ownership is so important. It is an essential prerequisite to a free society because it enables people to oppose the tyranny of their own government. History has shown that when the military and the police have a monopoly over the ownership of guns, freedom doesn’t exist long in those societies. People must obey whatever edicts are issued by government officials and they must submit to whatever government officials do to them. As Judge Alex Kozinsky put it in his dissenting opinion in the case of Silveira vs. Lockyer, giving the government a monopoly over the ownership of guns is a mistake that people can make only once. It becomes too late to make it again because the deprivation of liberty becomes permanent given the inability of people to violently resist it. As our American ancestors understood so well, the right to keep and bear arms is the best insurance policy against tyranny.
This is what so Americans just cannot comprehend. Just today, in an editorial the Los Angeles Times extols China — yes, that brutal communist regime in which the government has a monopoly on the ownership of guns — for its gun-free society because Chinese children were able to survive a recent massacre in which the person used a knife, as compared to what happened in Connecticut, where no one survived the gun onslaught.
That editorial is amazing. For one thing, as I stated above, there is no way that the U.S. government could possible eradicate guns from society, as the Chinese tyrants have done, at least not without imposing the same type of horrible police state that the Chinese communist dictators have imposed on the Chinese people. More important, who wants to live under a brutal communist regime, one that is able to maintain itself in power precisely because people lack the means to violently overthrow it?
The Connecticut massacre is just one more sign of the aberrant welfare-warfare system that statists have foisted upon our land. The solution to the woes brought upon us by statism is not more statism. The solution is freedom, which is what libertarianism is all about, including the right to own guns, the right to educate one’s children without state interference or control, and the right to live in a free, peaceful, and prosperous society rather than a warfare-state empire.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.