Neoconservative Poison and Syria

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While most conservatives have awakened to the poison the Neoconservatives have injected into the Republican Party, the “leadership” of the Stupid Party blindly parades the Trotskyite rhetoric of the Neoconservatives in its eagerness for war with Syria. The Neocons and their allies, the war Democrats such as Mrs. Clinton, are parading lies similar to those that resulted in the United States becoming entangled in Iraq. Now we have accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people. Sound familiar? As Pat Buchanan points out, there is no possible benefit the Syrian government would gain by using chemical weapons. Militarily it is not advantageous, and politically it is disastrous. It makes better sense to suppose either the rebels did the deed to draw the United States into an attack, or a third party who wants a war with Syria did the deed. The American people have finally realized the mendacity of the war rhetoric spewing from the Neocons and war Democrats, and are not going to buy into a new set of lies over “weapons of mass destruction.”

Conservative websites are divided, with traditional conservatives and even some who formerly fell under the spell of the Neoconservatives snapping out of their hypnosis. Yet the Neocons still whine for war with Syria–insane, since they would be aiding the rebels allied with Al Qaeda. There may be more parties represented among the rebels, but the majority are hostile to the United States and are allied with the same group who committed the 9-11 atrocities.

The Republican Party needs a housecleaning, and it needs it now. Voters should vote the Neocons, whose original leaders were originally Trotskyites who retain their utopian faith–this time supporting “spreading democracy throughout the world” rather than “spreading communism throughout the world.” Woodrow Wilson supported the same kind of naive idealism that led to U.S. involvement in a war that was none of its business and which paved the way for an even more destructive war only twenty-one years later. Republicans who are unsympathetic to Neoconservative warmongering should find sound candidates to run against Neoconservative Republicans and their supporters in the primaries. Conservatives should disavow the Neoconservative “think tanks” who have poisoned the Republican Party and damaged its chances in U.S. elections–but even worse, have pushed intellectual conservative in the direction of supporting the stupidity and immorality of modern warfare to attain abstract ends that have nothing to do either with reality or with U.S. national interest. Conservatives are finally awakening to the truth about the Neoconservatives–now it is time for them to do something about it.

U. S. Involvement in Afghanistan Risks Conflict with Pakistan

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Map of Pakistan

Image by Omer Wazir via Flickr

After 9-11, the American people were understandably angry, wanting someone to blame. Osama bin Laden was the target of most of the anger, and rightfully so, given his leadership in Al Qaeda, the organization that planned and carried out the 9-11 hijackings. Mr. Bush’s call for the United States and its allies to attack states sheltering Al Qaeda members, especially the Taliban government of Afghanistan, seemed reasonable to most Americans. However, it was not.

The CIA had the right idea–send small special forces units in to hunt down Mr. Bin Laden and his allies and halt the effectiveness of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Instead, Mr. Bush, on the advice of Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld, decided on a full scale attack on Afghanistan for the purpose of destroying the Taliban government. The history since then has been one of intractable problems–a resurgent Taliban, the corrupt Karzai  government that lacks the support of the majority of the people, a rising number of deaths and injuries to U. S. and allied soldiers. What is most dangerous is the increasing danger of conflict with nuclear-armed Pakistan. The NATO attack on Pakistani positions, ostensibly in self-defense, killed two dozen Pakistani troops. In response, Pakistan closed the border with Afghanistan, cutting off 30% of allied supplies. The Pakistani people, especially in the western regions, hate the United States and are pushing for a new Islamic government in Pakistan. The present government hangs onto power by a thread. If that government falls and is replaced by one hostile to U. S. interests, what will allied forces do if attacked by Pakistani forces? They will have to respond in self-defense, and conflict may escalate from there. While one might argue that this will not lead to nuclear conflict since even as Islamic government would not want to face the total destruction that results from a massive allied reply to any nuclear attack, making such an assumption is dangerous. A government totally dedicated to the tenants of extremist Islam may want to go out in a flash of martyrdom if it resulted in the loss of a U. S. base in the region or in a large number of American casualties.  It is only of limited comfort that Pakistan does not have a delivery system to send a nuclear weapon to the United States–unless they employed terrorists.

The United States needs to remove its forces from Afghanistan, allow the Karzai government to negotiate with the Taliban and other interests to set up a solution to the armed conflict raging between tribes and warlords in Afghanistan. The U. S. should have learned its lesson in Iraq–which has a Shite government friendly to Iran, which has done nothing about the wholesale persecution of Christians, and which most likely will not be sufficient to maintain order, even with several thousand mercenaries hired by the United States government. An immediate withdrawal would be ideal to avoid further costs of the war, both in lives, money spend, and in costs to the reputation of the United States in Central Asia and in Muslim countries in general. Then the United States needs to pursue a more humble foreign policy focused on American interests with war being used as a last resort, not a first resort.

The Tea Party–Are they Finally Supporting Cutting Defense Spending?

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U.S. Defense Spending Trends from 2000-2011

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The Tea Party Movement has energized the Republican party and poured new blood into a party that had become corrupt and bloated with country club Republicans and RINOs. However, like many self-styled “conservatives,” they did not seem interested in cutting defense spending. Yet now there are Tea Party leaders who are saying that defense spending should not be off limits in attempts to bring government spending under control. This is a positive development.

The military became bloated during the 1950s as a result of the Cold War. Instead of combating Communism, which would have eventually collapsed under its own inefficiency in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, the Cold War created a vast “military-industrial complex,” to use President Eisenhower‘s words from his 1961 Farewell Address. Not only does a bloated military suck up government spending, it encourages the United States to be involved in unnecessary wars that feed the defense industries with fat profits. Vietnam, the U. S.’s involvement in Bosnia, and Iraq are good examples; some response to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was necessary, but an approach using smaller special forces units and CIA agents, which was the original CIA plan, probably would have worked better than sending over 100,000 American troops. The more the military-industrial complex is fed by war, the more money it demands, and the more money defense-related companies with government contract make.

In addition, a large standing army is a threat to freedom–deep cuts in defense spending could reduce the military’s size and limit the potential threat to both the sovereignty of the states and to individual Americans. Concentrations of power in large organizations, whether those organizations be big government or big business, is dangerous to freedom–and the combination of big defense industries, big government, and a large standing army, is particularly dangerous. More than just “cutting the fat” out of the defense budget is required to bring defense spending under control–and I wonder if any Tea Party leaders want the deep cuts necessary. Hopefully the fact that some Tea Party leaders are at least open to cutting defense spending will lead to a broader discussion of the need for deeper cuts to control the power of the military-industrial complex.

What Republicans Must–and Must Not–Do

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"Republican Party Elephant" logo

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The United States has taken a sharp turn to the right in the 2010 midterm elections, and the Republican Party, which is de facto the conservative party in the U. S., had a successful campaign strategy of attacking the Great Society-like spending of Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. It is now time for Republicans to act and not sit on their laurels as they have done in the past.

What Republicans must do is exhibit fiscal responsibility. The deficit, which increased unnecessarily under the Republican administration of George W. Bush and a Republican Congress, has under Obama rampaged out of control. In the name of stimulus programs and expensive entitlement programs, both parties have done their best to sell out future generations for immediate “reward.” Republicans must stand against excessive spending. They must stop funding Wall Street’s risky banking schemes through stimulus plans that only feed the corruption of the financial industry. They must cut social programs, even popular social programs–and they must cut defense spending. They must not, in the name of compromise, abandon fiscal responsibility. The House of Representatives should consider not appropriating money for expensive federal programs.

The latter option may be unpalatable to war-hawk Republicans, but defense spending must be slashed, military bases closed in most countries, including in European countries, and the armed forces drawn down in size. A large standing army not only sucks up money; it becomes, as the Founders recognized, a threat to freedom.

The Republicans should stop supporting foreign wars such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, with perhaps some small special forces units remaining along the Afghan-Pakistan border to hunt for Al Qaeda members. The U. S. should ramp down the war rhetoric with Iran. War with Iran would be a disaster for the U. S., with the economic cost in oil price increases sending the country into a depression. The Republicans must stop being warmongers and support a national-interest foreign policy.

The Republicans should stop the bleeding of U. S. jobs to other nations. Selective tariffs would help make American goods more competitive price-wise, but should be used with care, especially with the power China now wields over the U. S. by buying treasury bonds (another factor showing the value of reducing the deficit). Excessive federal regulation, with the exception of environmental regulation that has been shown scientifically to work, should be reduced.

The Republicans must support controlling the borders of the U. S. The United States is rich, but resources are still finite, and having a stable culture based on the primarily British traditions of representative government requires some limitations on immigrations. A temporary moratorium on immigration with restoration occurring with strict controls (Pat Buchanan’s suggestion) is essential.

Federal intervention into the sovereignty of the states should cease; the Tenth Amendment should be respected. Republicans should support the rights of the states to self-determination rather than the exercise of federal power over the states. With increasing technology, the dangers of a strong central government spying on Americans also increases (thus, the need to repeal the falsely-so-called “Patriot Act”). It is more important than ever to affirm the sovereignty and self-determination of states to pass laws that are not under the scope of federal powers delimited in the Constitution. Republicans should vote against judges the President appoints who use the Courts as places to push their private moral agendas on all the states. They should only vote for justices who strictly interpret the Constitution, to the best of their ability, according to its original intent.

On health care, Republicans should repeal provisions of the Health Care Law that only increase the power of insurance companies and of the federal government. Some provisions of the law, such as requiring insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions, are good provisions. However, if the only way to defeat the law is to repeal the entire law, then the few good provisions could be later passed as separate laws.

Finally, Republicans should stand for natural law. This includes ending federal support for abortion at any level. They should resist the lobbying of homosexuals for any special rights or favors, while affirming that they have the same political rights as any other American. Decisions on marriage law should be left in the hands of the states. This is in tension with extreme libertarian Republicans of certain stripes, but a good society cannot exist without affirmation of natural law.

If the Republicans fail again, as they did under Bush II, they may suffer as large a defeat in 2012 as the Democrats suffered in 2010. Instead of compromising with political liberalism, let them set forth their vision for the country and rationally defend it. The American people will respect their integrity if Republicans hold their ground on what the consider important. And if the Republicans maintain their integrity, 2012 could be a very good year.