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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

What Was It All for For: Vets Have Finally Turned on America’s Endless Wars – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 15, 2019

So consider this a plea to Congress, to the corporate media establishment, and to all of you: when even traditionally more conservative and martial military veterans raise the antiwar alarm – listen!

https://original.antiwar.com/danny_sjursen/2019/07/14/what-was-it-all-for-for-vets-have-finally-turned-on-americas-endless-wars/

It is undoubtedly my favorite part of every wedding. That awkward, but strangely forthright moment when the preacher asks the crowd for any objections to the couple’s marriage. No one ever objects, of course, but it’s still a raw, if tense, moment. I just love it.

I suppose we had that ubiquitous ritual in mind back in 2007 when Keith – a close buddy and fellow officer – and I crafted our own plan of objection. The setting was Baghdad, Iraq, at the start of the “surge” and the climax of the bloody civil war the U.S. invasion had unleashed. Just twenty three years old and only eighteen months out of the academy, my clique of officers had already decided the war was a mess, shouldn’t have been fought, and couldn’t be won.

Me and Keith, though, were undoubtedly the most radical. We both just hated how our squadron’s colonel would hijack the memorial ceremonies held for dead troopers – including three of my own – and use the occasion of his inescapable speech to encourage we mourners to use the latest death as a reason to “rededicate ourselves to the mission and the people of Iraq.” The whole thing was as repulsive as it was repetitive.

So it was that after a particularly depressing ceremony, perhaps our squadron’s tenth or so, that we hatched our little defiant scheme. If (or when) one of us was killed, the other promised – and this was a time and place where promises are sacred – to object, stand up, and announce to the colonel and the crowd that we’d listen to no such bullshit at this particular ceremony, not this time. “Danny didn’t believe in this absurd mission for a minute, he wouldn’t want his death to rededicate us to anything,” Keith would have said! Luckily it never came to that. We both survived, Keith left the army soon after, and I, well, toiled along until something snapped and I chose the road of public dissent. Still, I believe either of us would have actually done it – even if it did mean the end of our respective careers. That’s called brotherhood…and love.

I got to thinking on that when I read a story this week which was both disturbing, refreshing, and sickening all at the same time. A major opinion poll’s results were released which demonstrated that fully two-thirds of post 9/11 veterans now think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “weren’t worth fighting.” That’s a remarkable, and distressing, statistic and one that should give America’s president, legislators, media, and people as a whole, serious pause. Not that it will, mind you, but it should! It’s doubtful that US military combat vets – who are more rural, southern, and conservative than the population at large – have ever so incontrovertibly turned on a war, at least since the very end of Vietnam.

On one level I felt a sense of vindication for my longtime antiwar stances when I read about the study – in the Military Times no less. But that was just ego. Within minutes I was sad, inconsolably and completely melancholy. Because if, as a “filibuster-proof” majority of my fellow veterans (and maybe even our otherwise unhinged president) believes, the Iraq and Afghan wars weren’t worth the sacrifice, then consider the unsettling implications. It would mean, for starters, that the US flushed nearly $5.9 trillion in hard-earned taxpayer cash down the toilet. It means that 7,000 American soldiers and upwards of 244,000 foreign civilians needn’t have lost their ever precious lives. Hundreds of thousands more might not have been injured or maimed. 21 million people wouldn’t have become refugees. The world, so to speak, could’ve been a safer, better place.

Those ever-so-logical conclusions should dismay even the most apathetic American. They should make us all rather sad, but, more importantly, should inform future decisions about the use of military force, the role of America in the world, and just how much foreign policy power to turn over to presidents. Because if we, collectively, don’t learn from our country’s eighteen year, tragic saga, then this republic is, without exaggeration, finished, once and for all. Benjamin Franklin, that confounding Founding Father, wasn’t sure the American people could be trusted to “keep” the republic he and other elites formed. It’d be a devastating catastrophe to prove him right, especially in this time of rising right-wing, strongman populism in the Western world.

So consider this a plea to Congress, to the corporate media establishment, and to all of you: when even traditionally more conservative and martial military veterans raise the antiwar alarm – listen! And next time the American war drums beat, and they undoubtedly will, consider this article encouragement to do what Keith and I promised way back when. Object! Refuse to fight the next ill-advised and unethical war. Remember: to do so demonstrates brotherhood and love. Love of each other and love of country…

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Steel Helmet

 

 

 

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RAY McGOVERN: Hope for a Breakthrough in Korea – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2019

Everyone wants peace except John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and their string controllers the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academe-Think-Tank (MICIMATT) complex

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/07/01/ray-mcgovern-hope-for-a-breakthrough-in-korea/

By Ray McGovern

There is hope for some real progress in U.S.-North Korean relations after Sunday morning’s unscheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, largely because Russia and China seem more determined than ever to facilitate forward movement.

Sitting down before the talks began, Kim underlined the importance of the meeting.“I hope it can be the foundation for better things that people will not be expecting,” he said. “Our great relationship will provide the magical power with which to overcome hardships and obstacles in the tasks that need to be done from now on.”

Trump was equally positive speaking of Kim:

“We’ve developed a very good relationship and we understand each other very well. I do believe he understands me, and I think I maybe understand him, and sometimes that can lead to very good things.”

Trump said the two sides would designate teams, with the U.S. team headed by special envoy Stephen Biegun under the auspices of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to start work in the next two to three weeks. “They’ll start a process, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

New Impetus

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met individually with President Trump at the G20 in Osaka, have been singing from the same sheet of Korea music — particularly in the wake of Xi’s visit to North Korea on June 20-21. Putin’s remarks are the most illuminating.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Putin pointed to “the tragedies of Libya and Iraq” — meaning, of course, what happened to each of them as they lacked a nuclear deterrent. Applying that lesson to North Korea, Putin said,

“What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to ensure the unconditional security of North Korea and how to make any country, including North Korea, feel safe and protected by international law. …”

“We should think about guarantees, which we should use as the basis for talks with North Korea. We must take into account the dangers arising from … the presence of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that if a way can be found to satisfy North Korea’s understandable determination to protect its security, “the situation may take a turn nobody can imagine today.”

“Whether we recognize North Korea as a nuclear power or not, the number of nuclear charges it has will not decrease. We must proceed from modern realities …”

A Fundamental Strategic Change

Whether they are “best friends” or not, the claim of unprecedented strategic cooperation happens to be true — and is the most fundamental change in the world strategic equation in decades. Given the fear they share that things could get out of hand in Korea with the mercurial Trump and his hawkish advisers calling the shots, it is a safe bet that Putin and Xi have been coordinating closely on North Korea.

The next step could be stepped-up efforts to persuade Trump that China and Russia can somehow guarantee continued nuclear restraint on Pyongyang’s part, in return for U.S. agreement to move step by step — rather than full bore — toward at least partial North Korean denuclearization — and perhaps some relaxation in U.S. economic sanctions. Xi and Putin may have broached that kind of deal to Trump in Osaka.

There is also a salutary sign that President Trump has learned more about the effects of a military conflict with North Korea, and that he has come to realize that Pyongyang already has not only a nuclear, but also a formidable conventional deterrent: massed artillery.

“There are 35 million people in Seoul, 25 miles away,” Trump said on Sunday. “All accessible by what they already have in the mountains. There’s nothing like that anywhere in terms of danger.”…

Trump will have to remind his national security adviser, John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that he is the president and that he intends to take a firmer grip on reins regarding Korean policy. Given their maladroit performance on both Iran and Venezuela, it would, at first blush, seem easy to jettison the two super-hawks.

But this would mean running afoul of the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academe-Think-Tank (MICIMATT) complex, in which the corporate-controlled media play thesine-qua-nonrole today.

In a harbinger of things to come, The Washington Post’s initial report on the outcome of the Trump-Kim talks contained two distortions: “Trump … misrepresented what had been achieved, claiming that North Korea had ceased ballistic missile tests and was continuing to send back remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War.”

The Trump administration could reasonably call that “fake news.” True, North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles last spring, but Kim’s promise to Trump was to stop testing strategicnot tactical missiles, and North Korea has adhered to that promise. As for the return of the remains of U.S. servicemen: True, such remains that remain are no longer being sent back to the U.S., but it was the U.S. that put a stop to that after the summit in Hanoi failed.

We can surely expect more disingenuous “reporting” of that kind.

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Your friend’s son fighting for Saudi Arabia and Israel.

 

 

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: BREAKING: Rocket Hits Site of Foreign Oil Firms in Iraq’s Basra

Posted by M. C. on June 21, 2019

Maybe after another 17 years a US official can go from the airport to the embassy without an armored personnel carrier and military escort.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/06/breaking-rocket-hits-site-of-foreign.html

A rocket landed at the headquarters for several global major oil companies, including US giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding two Iraqi workers, police said.

This is a developing story. Return to this post for updates.


UPDATE 1


Via Arab News:
The rocket hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of the city, they said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
A security source said Exxon was preparing to evacuate some 20 foreign staff immediately.
Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italian Eni SpA, oil officials said.
Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile that landed 100 meters from the section of the site used as a residence and operations center by Exxon.
Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.
RW

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Iraq’s Christians ‘close to extinction’

Posted by M. C. on May 23, 2019

Not fake news. Just old news. Lamestream media ignored news.

This has been going on wherever there has been Islam, ever since there has been Islam.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48333923

The Archbishop of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has accused Britain’s Christian leaders of failing to do enough in defence of the vanishing Christian community in Iraq.

In an impassioned address in London, the Rt Rev Bashar Warda said Iraq’s Christians now faced extinction after 1,400 years of persecution.

Since the US-led invasion toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, he said, the Christian community had dwindled by 83%, from around 1.5 million to just 250,000.

“Christianity in Iraq,” he said, “one of the oldest Churches, if not the oldest Church in the world, is perilously close to extinction. Those of us who remain must be ready to face martyrdom.”

He referred to the current, pressing threat from Islamic State (IS) jihadists as a “final, existential struggle”, following the group’s initial assault in 2014 that displaced more than 125,000 Christians from their historic homelands.

“Our tormentors confiscated our present,” he said, “while seeking to wipe out our history and destroy our future. In Iraq there is no redress for those who have lost properties, homes and businesses. Tens of thousands of Christians have nothing to show for their life’s work, for generations of work, in places where their families have lived, maybe, for thousands of years.”…

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AfghanCorruption

Wondering where your taxes go?

 

 

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Lesson From FBI’s ‘Niger Uranium Forgeries’ File – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2019

Bolton…again

https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2019/05/19/lesson-from-fbis-niger-uranium-forgeries-file/

An analysis of 640 pages of FBI investigatory records obtained by IRmep under the Freedom of Information Act reveals how the FBI Director limited Senator John D. Rockefeller’s urgent 2003 written demand for accountability over faulty Iraq war intelligence into a narrow overseas investigation. The released files, originally scheduled for declassification on December 31, 2028 document how FBI special agents from the Washington Field Office trailed Niger uranium sale forgery suspects in European regions where they held little jurisdiction – but were not allowed by FBI Director Robert Mueller to pursue any officials in their own back yard that twisted dubious intelligence to support the US invasion of Iraq. The lesson is clear. Despite subsequent years of Senate investigations into pre-invasion claims that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, Americans are still vulnerable to the misuse of real and fabricated intelligence deployed by unscrupulous US government officials seeking to plunge the nation into war.

To justify the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, White House officials repeatedly used dubious intelligence to publicly make accusations that Iraq had a clandestine nuclear weapons program. The most compelling accusation was that Iraq secretly sought to purchase 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger to refine and produce nuclear weapons. It was compelling because Iraq had only one plausible use for uranium – making nuclear weapons.

Wissam al-Zahawie, an Iraqi diplomat stationed at the Vatican traveled to Niger’s capital Niamey on February 1, 1999. Al-Zahawie solicited the Niger government’s support for lifting UN trade embargoes imposed against Iraq after the Persian Gulf War (Iraq War I). In the year 2000 Rocco Martino, a former Italian Carabinieri policeman, was allegedly asked by Italian intelligence agency officer Antonio Nucera if he was interested in earning money. Martino accepted and was placed in contact with Laura Montini, an Italian intelligence (SISMI) agent working inside the Niger embassy in Rome, who began passing documents about a Niger sale of uranium to Iraq – allegedly the true purpose of the Wissam al-Zahawie trip – for Martino to shop around to his European intelligence agency clients. The documents had been faxed from Niger phone numbers, presumably so that French, British and other electronic eavesdroppers could pick them up. By the end of the year 2000 a UK intelligence commission derived from the forgeries a report claiming, “unconfirmed intelligence indicates Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium.” UK later released a White Paper claiming Iraq “sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it.”

By the summer of 2001, Martino assembled an entire dossier of Niger uranium documents based on forgeries from stolen Niger embassy papers and SISMI intelligence files. Their centerpiece was written in French on Niger government stationary stamped “confidential.” This fake July 27, 2000 letter was from Niger’s President to Iraq’s, signed with the seal of the President of Niger. It read, “I have the honor of referring to accord No. 381-N1 2000, concerning the provision of uranium, signed in Niamey on the 6th of July between the Government of the Republic of Niger and the Government of Iraq…” The letter described future shipments of 500 tons of yellowcake uranium. Different compilations of the Niger dossier circulated in Europe, some with handwritten corrections of the most obvious errors, with an asking price of up to $100,000 euros. On October 15, 2001 the CIA Rome station received SISMI reports of a Niger uranium deal with Iraq, and passed the information to Washington with the caveat that it was uncorroborated.

Americans were subsequently bombarded by US officials in the runup to the US invasion of Iraq with Niger uranium sale claims. Vice President Richard Cheney set the stage, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on March 14, 2001 that Saddam Hussein was actively pursuing nuclear weapons. On December 7, 2002, Iraq declared to UN weapons inspectors it did not have a nuclear weapons program. But State Department Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton oversaw the official US response, issued on December 19, 2002 charging Iraq with omitting its “efforts to procure uranium from Niger.”…

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scumbag Memes & GIFs - Imgflip

 

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US pulls nonessential staff from Iraq amid Mideast tensions

Posted by M. C. on May 15, 2019

U.S. Central Command said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats” from Iranian-backed forces.

The UK isn’t following the warmonger script.

After 17 plus years of constant war, we have to bail.

At least our people aren’t standing on the roof waiting for a chopper.

https://apnews.com/d2fc57fd74bb45eabdcc15338277ed2d

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.

Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.

At the root of this appears to be President Donald Trump’s decision a year ago to pull the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran’s supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn’t be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House remains unclear. A high-ranking British general said there was no new threat from Iran or its regional proxies, something immediately rebutted by the U.S. military’s Central Command, which said its troops were on high alert, without elaborating…

The unspecified threats reported by U.S. last week from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests contradicted remarks by British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a senior officer in the U.S.-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group. He said Tuesday that “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.”

Later, in a rare public rebuttal of an allied military officer, U.S. Central Command said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats” from Iranian-backed forces. In a statement, Central Command said the coalition in Baghdad has increased the alert level for all service members in Iraq and Syria.

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dying for nothing

Dying for nothing in the middle of nowhere. How is this defending the USA?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are All the World’s Problems Ours? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2019

Query: How successful was Operation Iraqi Freedom, which cost 4,500 U.S. lives, 40,000 wounded and $1 trillion, if, 15 years after our victory, our secretary of state must, for his own security, sneak into the Iraqi capital?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/05/patrick-j-buchanan/are-all-the-worlds-problems-ours/

By

In 2003, George W. Bush took us to war to liberate Iraq from the despotism of Saddam Hussein and convert that nation into a beacon of freedom and prosperity in the Middle East.

Tuesday, Mike Pompeo flew clandestinely into Baghdad, met with the prime minister and flew out in four hours. The visit was kept secret, to prevent an attack on the Americans or the secretary of state.

Query: How successful was Operation Iraqi Freedom, which cost 4,500 U.S. lives, 40,000 wounded and $1 trillion, if, 15 years after our victory, our secretary of state must, for his own security, sneak into the Iraqi capital?

Topic of discussion between Pompeo and the prime minister:

In the event of a U.S. war with Iran, Iraqis would ensure the protection of the 5,000 U.S. troops in country, from the scores of thousands of Iranian-trained and Iranian-armed Shiite militia…

Wednesday, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, for the second time in a week, test-fired two missiles, 260 miles, into the Sea of Japan. Purpose: To signal Washington that Kim’s patience is running out.

Kim rejects the U.S. demand that he surrender all nuclear weapons and dismantle the facilities that produce them before any sanctions are lifted. He wants sanctions relief to go hand in hand with disposal of his arsenal. Few believe Kim will surrender all of his nukes or his ability to replicate them.

The clash with Kim comes days after the failed U.S.-backed coup in Caracas, which was followed by Pompeo-Bolton threats of military intervention in Venezuela, a country 100 times the size of Puerto Rico with 10 times the population and a large well-equipped army.

This week also, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford told Congress that the U.S. will have to keep counter-terrorism forces in Afghanistan “until there is no insurgency left in the country.”

Which sounds like forever, as in “forever war.”

Before flying to Baghdad, Pompeo was in Finland. There, he warned the eight-nation Arctic Council about Russian aggression in the region, suggested China’s claim to be a “near-Arctic” nation was absurd, and told Canada’s its claim to the Northwest Passage was “illegitimate.”

Our Canadian friends were stunned. “Those waterways are part of the internal waters of Canada,” said the government in Ottawa.

After an exhausting two weeks, one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, “Why is this our problem?”..

If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Iran has no nukes or ICBMs. It wants no war with us. It does not threaten us. Why is Iran then our problem to solve rather than a problem for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and the Sunni Arabs?

Nor does Russia’s annexation of Crimea threaten us. When Ronald Reagan strolled through Red Square with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988, all of Ukraine was ruled by Moscow.

The Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro was established decades ago by his mentor, Hugo Chavez. When did that regime become so grave a threat that the U.S. should consider an invasion to remove it?

During the uprising in Caracas, Bolton cited the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. But according to President James Monroe, and Mike Pompeo’s predecessor John Quincy Adams, who wrote the message to Congress, under the Doctrine, while European powers were to keep their hands off our hemisphere — we would reciprocate and stay out of Europe’s quarrels and wars.

Wise folks, those Founding Fathers.

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russia wants war

 

 

 

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Navy SEALs were warned by commanders not to report Iraq war crimes – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2019

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/04/23/navy-seals-were-warned-by-commanders-not-to-report-iraq-war-crimes/

US war crimes in Iraq in general are a well-substantiated fact. Navy SEALs say they saw some “shocking” things, which other SEALs kill children with sniper rifles, spraying civilian neighborhoods with machine gun fire, etc.

Seeing such things was par for the course, in Iraq, but talking about it was another thing entirely. Several platoon members took the matter of war crimes by their platoon chief to troop commanders. They were immediately rebuked.

Not only did the commander tell them not to report the crimes to him, he warned them that talking about the war crimes at all would jeopardize their careers. War crimes are meant to be seen, but not heard about.

It was expected this would be the end of it, but the SEALs went around the commander, and to higher ups in the Navy that were not directly tied to the SEALs. This quickly led to a court-martial for the platoon chief.

It’s broader than just the one platoon chief. The court-martial is quickly delving deeply into the underlying culture of the SEALs. That culture encouraged both the war crimes and silence about them.

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madeleine-albright

 

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Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams in surrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers | The Independent

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2018

Depleted uranium munitions causing cancer, neighbors blocking water, being freed by having your country bombed into the stone age-if it’s not one thing it’s another.

We are from the US government and we are here to help!

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-water-rivers-shortage-drought-baghdad-war-isis-a8426766.html

Patrick Cockburn

Iraq after Isis: After decades of war – including the last battle against Isis – Iraq is in danger of losing the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. In the first part of a new series, Patrick Cockburn reports that as Turkey, Syria and Iran dam its rivers, parts of the country are turning into desert…

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Why No Outrage Over U.S. Killing of Children? – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2018

…she responded that while the issue was a difficult one, yes, the deaths of those children were worth it.

https://www.fff.org/2018/06/26/why-no-outrage-over-u-s-killing-of-children/

by 

National outrage over President Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents as a way to deter illegal immigration into the United States has forced the president to abandon the policy. The outrage came from all sides of the political spectrum, especially from the left, and from the mainstream media.

Trump’s policy is obviously cruel and brutal, given that it uses children as pawns to achieve a political end. No matter how much psychological damage is inflicted on children owing to the fear that comes with forced separation, the idea is that such emotional damage is worth it given the aim of preventing or discouraging illegal immigration to the United States.

What’s strange, however, is that while there has been mass outrage over Trump’s separation policy, there is virtually no outrage over the U.S. government’s policy of killing children as a way to achieve the political goal of regime change in foreign countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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