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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Caitlin Johnstone: US bombs Syria and ridiculously claims self defense — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2021

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/516647-caitlin-johnstone-us-bombs-syria/

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

On orders of President Biden, the United States has launched an airstrike on a facility in Syria. As of this writing the exact number of killed and injured is unknown, with early reports claiming “a handful” of people were killed.

Rather than doing anything remotely resembling journalism, the Western mass media have opted instead to uncritically repeat what they’ve been told about the airstrike by US officials, which is the same as just publishing Pentagon press releases.

Here’s this from the Washington Post:

The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria on Thursday, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, on a border control point in eastern Syria was “authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.”

He said the facilities were used by Iranian-linked militias including Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

The operation follows the latest serious attack on U.S. locations in Iraq that American officials have attributed to Iranian-linked groups operating in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this month, a rocket attack in northern Iraq killed a contractor working with the U.S. military and injured a U.S. service member there.

So we are being told that the United States launched an airstrike on Syria, a nation it invaded and is illegally occupying, because of attacks on “US locations” in Iraq, another nation the US invaded and is illegally occupying. This attack is justified on the basis that the Iraqi fighters were “Iranian-linked,” a claim that is both entirely without evidence and irrelevant to the justification of deadly military force. And this is somehow being framed in mainstream news publications as a defensive operation.

This is Defense Department stenography. The US military is an invading force in both Syria and Iraq; it is impossible for its actions in either of those countries to be defensive. It is always necessarily the aggressor. It’s the people trying to eject them who are acting defensively. The deaths of US troops and contractors in those countries can only be blamed on the powerful people who sent them there.

The US is just taking it as a given that it has de facto jurisdiction over the nations of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and that any attempt to interfere in its authority in the region is an unprovoked attack which must be defended against. This is completely backwards and illegitimate. Only through the most perversely warped American supremacist reality tunnels can it look valid to dictate the affairs of sovereign nations on the other side of the planet and respond with violence if anyone in those nations tries to eject them.

To remind Iran who’s boss — rather than conduct the diplomacy he promised — Biden opts to act as ISIS’ Air Force. (That’s who “Iranian-backed militia” have long been fighting) https://t.co/9YGXnpUeyI— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 26, 2021

It’s illegitimate for the US to be in the Middle East at all. It’s illegitimate for the US to claim to be acting defensively in nations it invaded. It’s illegitimate for the US to act like Iranian-backed fighters aren’t allowed to be in Syria, where they are fighting alongside the Syrian government against ISIS and other extremist militias with the permission of Damascus. It is illegitimate for the US to claim the fighters attacking US personnel in Iraq are controlled by Iran when Iraqis have every reason to want the US out of their country themselves.

Even the official narrative reveals itself as illegitimate from within its own worldview. CNN reports that the site of the airstrike “was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks” in Iraq, and a Reuters/AP report says “Biden administration officials condemned the February 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out.”

This is all so very typical of the American supremacist worldview that is being aggressively shoved down our throats by all Western mainstream news media. The US can bomb who it likes, whenever it likes, and when it does it is only ever doing so in self-defense, because the entire planet is the property of Washington, DC. It can seize control of entire clusters of nations, and if any of those nations resist in any way, they are invading America’s sovereignty.

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self-defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

Americans: $2000 checks pleaseGovernment: Sorry did you say airstrikes on Syria?Americans: No, $2000 checksGovernment: Okay, since you asked nicely here’s your airstrikes on Syria.— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) February 26, 2021

This sort of nonsense is why it’s so important to prioritize opposition to Western imperialism. World warmongering and domination is the front upon which all the most egregious evils inflicted by the powerful take place, and it plays such a crucial role in upholding the power structures we are up against. Without endless war, the oligarchic empire which is the cause of so much of our suffering cannot function, and must give way to something else. If you’re looking to throw sand in the gears of the machine, anti-imperialism is your most efficacious path toward that end, and should therefore be your priority.

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

Standing against imperialism and American supremacism cuts directly to the heart of our difficulties in this world, which is why so much energy goes into keeping us focused on identity politics and vapid energy sucks which inconvenience the powerful in no way whatsoever. If you want to out-wrestle a crocodile, you must bind shut its mouth. If you want to take down a globe-spanning empire, you must take out its weapons. Opposing warmongering and killing public trust in the propaganda used to justify it is the best way to do this.

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“Weapons of Mass Destruction”: The Last Refuge of the Global Interventionist | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/weapons-mass-destruction-last-refuge-global-interventionist

Ryan McMaken

The threat of “nuclear proliferation” remains one of the great catch-all reasons—the other being “humanitarian” intervention—given for why the US regime and its allies ought to be given unlimited power to invade foreign states and impose sanctions at any given time.

We saw this at work during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was said that nuclear weapons were among the “weapons of mass destruction” being developed or harbored by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Thus, it was “necessary” that the United States invade Iraq and enact regime change.

It is now very clear, of course, that the Bush-Cheney administration was lying and there was no credible evidence that Iraq’s long-defunct nuclear program had been revived.

But let’s say for the sake of argument that Iraq was well on its way to developing a nuclear weapon in early 2003. Would it have become “necessary” for the US to invade Iraq and install a de facto puppet regime that would agree to not develop nuclear weapons?

The question is relevant, of course, because interventionists are now making the same claims about Iran as were made about Iraq in 2003.

The conventional thinking among neoconservatives and other interventionists in Washington is that yes, the United States is always justified in invading foreign states if it prevents nuclear proliferation. If this is not done, we are told, the new nuclear state will surely use its new weapons, or at least threaten to use them for purposes of blackmail. 

Unfortunately for the interventionists, history has repeatedly shown this claim to be tenuous at best. Since 1945, as more and more states have become part of the “nuclear club,” each new member has failed to live up to the predictions that proliferation will quickly lead to geopolitical destabilization and war.

This has become more important in recent years, as humanitarian interventions have apparently lost their cache with the American public. In recent years, Washington has tried to drum up support for regime change invasions in both Venezuela and Syria, yet those efforts failed to catch on.

Threat of nuclear proliferation, then, likely offers the last hope for the interventionists when it comes to regime change in Iran.

Those Guys Are Crazy!

Perhaps the most-used argument made against tolerating proliferation often rests on the idea that most regimes are too insane, irrational, or incompetent to manage nuclear weapons responsibly—however one might define “responsible” stewardship of weapons that exist to destroy entire metropolitan populations.

The claim is thus made that regimes in Iran, Iraq, and North Korea—to name just three examples—are likely to be unrestrained by the instinct of self-preservation and that thus we cannot apply traditional theories of nuclear deterrence to these regimes.

Yet, this theory has yet to amass any evidence to support it. Are we to believe that the Soviet and Chinese regimes have always been headed by eminently sane people? After all, as John Mueller notes,

the weapons have proliferated to large, important countries run by unchallenged monsters who, at the time they acquired the bombs, were certifiably deranged: Josef Stalin, who in 1949 was planning to change the climate of the Soviet Union by planting a lot of trees, and Mao Zedong, who in 1964 had just carried out a bizarre social experiment that resulted in an artificial famine in which tens of millions of Chinese perished.

Mueller suggests that it is incumbent on the opponents of an Iranian bomb to show that Iran’s leaders are less sane than Stalin.

Some might nevertheless claim (however implausibly) that Muslims are somehow more naturally murderous than Stalin. Yet we might note that this doesn’t explain how the Islamic Republic of Pakistan—an occasional military dictatorship—has somehow refrained from using its nuclear arms against its hated rival India.

In actual experience, regimes that acquire a bomb tend to moderate their behavior. As Kenneth Waltz points out:

every new nuclear state has behaved exactly the way the old nuclear states have behaved. One can describe the way all nuclear states have behaved in one word: responsibly. When the United States contemplated the Soviet Union one day having its own nuclear weapons, we were horrified by the prospect. How could we live? How could the world live with such a country as the Soviet Union—which we saw as bent on world domination—having nuclear weapons? And when China developed its own nuclear weapons, we repeated the same way of thinking—“My God! China? China is crazy!”

But in fact, if you think of the Cultural Revolution, China took very good care of its nuclear weapons. They ensured that they would not fall under the hands of the revolutionaries and came through that horrible ten-year period. The fact is that people worry that a new nuclear country, once it gets a nuclear shield, would then begin to behave immoderately or irresponsibly under the cover of its own nuclear weapons. Well, that has never happened. Every country that has had nuclear weapons has behaved moderately.

(Of course, by “moderately” he only means in terms of provoking full-scale war with rivals.)

In any case, the notion that regimes that acquire nuclear warheads then go off the deep end has yet to be observed in real life.

This is why, in a 2012 forum for PBS, John Mearsheimer noted that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this would likely stabilize the region rather than destabilize it:

I think there’s no question that a nuclear-armed Iran would bring stability to the region, because nuclear weapons are weapons of peace. They’re weapons of deterrence.

And because nuclear weapons are useful only for deterring attacks, they cannot be used for so-called nuclear blackmail:

We have created this myth in this country over the past few years in talking about Iran that any country that acquires nuclear weapons can blackmail other countries or use those nuclear weapons for offensive purposes. We have a lot of theory and a huge amount of empirical evidence, 67 years now, which show that no country with nuclear weapons can blackmail another country, as long as somebody is protecting that country or it has its own nuclear weapons.

Rather, in the case of Iran, according to Waltz, if the goal is stability in the region, that answer lies in ending Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region—which has been a source of enduring instability. In the July/August 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, Waltz observed:

Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly, which has proved remarkably durable for the past four decades, has long fueled instability in the Middle East. In no other region of the world does a lone, unchecked nuclear state exist.

Of course, it is easy to understand why Israel wants to remain the sole nuclear power in the region and why it is willing to use force to secure that status. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq to prevent a challenge to its nuclear monopoly. It did the same to Syria in 2007 and is now considering similar action against Iran. But the very acts that have allowed Israel to maintain its nuclear edge in the short term have prolonged an imbalance that is unsustainable in the long term. Israel’s proven ability to strike potential nuclear rivals with impunity has inevitably made its enemies anxious to develop the means to prevent Israel from doing so again. In this way, the current tensions are best viewed not as the early stages of a relatively recent Iranian nuclear crisis but rather as the final stages of a decades-long Middle East nuclear crisis that will end only when a balance of military power is restored.

Nuclear Arms Offer a Solution to Threats of Regime Change

Indeed, the case of Israel is not unique in the sense that the United States provokes the same sort of instability worldwide.

The United States has either carried out regime change or threatened to do so in a number of cases. This means those countries targeted by the US are highly motivated to acquire arms, which these regimes correctly see as the only reliable deterrent against US invasion. Waltz continues

There is only one way that a country can reliably deter a dominant power, and that is by developing its own nuclear force. When president Bush identified the countries that he said constituted an “axis of evil”—namely, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea—and then proceeded to invade one of them—namely, Iraq—that was certainly a lesson quickly learned by both Iran and North Korea. That is to say, that if a country wants to deter the United States it has to equip itself with nuclear force. I think we all have seen that demonstrated very clearly.

In other words, it is the United States, and to a lesser extent the State of Israel, which have created situations in which states become highly motivated to acquire nuclear arms for defensive reasons.

If the US really wanted to reduce the likelihood of regimes like Iran and North Korea seeking and expanding nuclear capabilities, the US would disavow its doctrine of regime change explicitly. It would also renounce the notion of an “axis of evil” and cut back the US’s nuclear arsenal to a force designed for minimum deterrence.

Until that happens, the United States itself remains a primary motivation for nuclear armament among regimes that have run afoul of the Washington establishment.

This, however, is unlikely to happen, because a perpetual stance of antiproliferation and regime change pays many dividends in Washington. It keeps the Pentagon’s budget sky-high, and it allows the regime to claim it is enforcing worldwide peace, even while it remains a source of instability.

In the sloppy world of public debates over foreign policy, this appears to many voters to make sense. As Mueller has suggested, it’s easy to just keep pushing the panic button and then taking the credit for the fact that World War III has yet to break out:

Alarmists have one great advantage. If their alarm proves to be justified, they will look like prophets. If nothing happens, they can claim that this desirable condition has been the result of efforts their alarmism has inspired. Thus, when New York Police Department Commissioner David Cohen is asked how he knows whether his extensive counterterrorism programs (which have had an almost perfect record of not finding any terrorists) have been successful, he curtly responds, “They haven’t attacked us.” Reporting this comment, reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman note that “the absence of a terrorist attack has been the silver‐bullet argument for national security pro‐fessionals.” Although it is a “flawed argument” logically, they continue, it has been “nearly irrefutable” politically. The dodge, then, is, (1) we are trying to keep them from attacking; (2) they haven’t attacked; therefore (3) it must be our efforts that have kept them from doing so.

The question we must ask ourselves, however, is: At what cost?

How many more countries will the United States bomb or invade in the name of wiping out weapons of mass destruction? We’ve already seen the side effects of these efforts. Not only are hundreds of thousands of human beings killed in these wars—as was the case in Iraq—but these conflicts also create immense refugee and immigration crises while creating power vacuums. ISIS, for example, would have never gained much success at all had the US not destroyed Saddam’s secularist Ba’athist regime in Iraq.

These costs are sure to be studiously ignored. Whether we’re talking about global warming or covid-19, or “weapons of mass destruction,” the strategy today is that we must trust the regime to take whatever drastic steps it wishes or else we face an existential threat. We must adopt environmental regulations that would force billions of Africans and Asians back into poverty “or else.” We must destroy civil liberties and impose lockdowns on countless millions “or else.” We must carry out regime change in yet another country “or else.”

This narrative has worked wonders for regimes seeking ever more power. They won’t abandon this strategy any time soon. Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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Iraq never had a suicide bomb, until…

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2021

https://mailchi.mp/6405c675d931/the-us-celebrates-30-years-of-bombing-iraq-4200293?e=de2d0eded6

Iraq had never had a suicide bombing until after George W. Bush invaded and occupied their country.Iraq was a mix of Sunnis, allied with Saudi Arabia, and Shiites, allied with Iran. Shiites were the majority of the population, but Sunnis held political power.George W. Bush changed that. The “purple-fingered elections,” hailed as a victory for democracy, gave the Shiite majority absolute control over the lives and fortunes of the Sunni minority.Civil War resulted. Bush had put Iran’s Shiite allies in power. They forced him to surrender and leave the country, and refused his request to station any military bases in their country.A million Iraqis were killed, along with thousands of Americans. And for what? To empower Iran in the capital and in the east, and to turn western Iraq over to bin Ladenites.In Chapter 7 of Gus Cantavero’s video adaptation of Scott’s new book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, Scott explains how the “the Surge worked” was basically PR for David Petraeus, and how the U.S. turned around and fought the Shiites they had been allied with for years.
https://youtu.be/Mm1UYnDJoMA
Arm yourself with knowledge so you can fight for peace. Buy Scott’s new book, Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism

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What Biden’s Warmongering Will Actually Look Like – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/24/what-bidens-warmongering-will-actually-look-like/

author: Caitlin Johnstone

There’s a news story about a US military convoy entering Syria being shared around social media with captions claiming that President Biden is already “invading” Syria which is getting tons of shares in both right-wing and left anti-imperialist circles. The virality of these shares has inspired clickbait titles like “Joe Biden Invades Syria with Convoy of US Troops and Choppers on First Full Day as President“, which are being shared with equal virality.

But if you read the original report everyone jumped on, accurately titled “US military convoy enters northeast Syria: report”, you don’t have to read too far to get to this line: “Other local media report that such maneuvers are not unusual as the US often moves transfers equipment between Iraq and Syria.”

So while this is a movement of troops between illegitimate military occupations which have no business existing in either country, it is nothing new and would have been happening regardless of which candidate had won the last US presidential election.

Another inaccurate narrative that’s gone completely viral is the claim that Biden is sending more troops to Iraq. This one traces back to a single Twitter post by some Trumpy account with the handle “@amuse” who shared a Jerusalem Post article with the caption “BREAKING: President Biden is considering reversing Trump’s drawdown in Iraq by adding thousands of troops to combat growing terror threats in the region as evidenced by Thursday’s attack near the US embassy.”

If you read the actual JPost article titled “Baghdad bombing could be the Biden admin’s first challenge” you will see that it contains no such claim, and if you were to search a bit you would find @amuse claiming that they were sharing something they’d learned from “sources” in DC instead of accurately summarizing the contents of the article. Unless you know this person and know them to be consistently trustworthy, there is no valid reason to believe claims allegedly said by alleged anonymous sources to some openly partisan anonymous account on Twitter.

But the bogus tweet was amplified by many influential accounts, most notably by Donald Trump Jr with the caption “Getting back into wars on the first full day. The Swamp/War Inc. is thrilled right now.” Its virality then caused it to work its way outward to dupe many well-meaning anti-imperialists (myself included until I looked into it) who are vigilant against Biden’s notorious warmongering, and now there’s a widespread narrative throughout every part of the ideological spectrum that Biden is escalating warmongering in both Syria and Iraq.

It is entirely possible–probable even–that reliable warmonger Joe Biden will end up sending more US troops to Iraq and Syria at some point during his administration. But if the antiwar community keeps staring at the movement of ground troops with hypervigilant intensity, they won’t be paying enough attention to the areas where the more deadly aspects of Biden’s hawkishness are likely to manifest.

Donald Trump is the first president in modern history did not start a new war.

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 22, 2021

Trump’s base has been forcefully pushing the narrative that the previous president didn’t start any new wars, which while technically true ignores his murderous actions like vetoing the bill to save Yemen from US-backed genocide and actively blocking aid to its people, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, rolling out many world-threatening cold war escalations against Russia, engaging in insane brinkmanship with Iran, greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reducing military accountability for those airstrikes. Trump may not have started any “new wars”, but he kept the old ones going and inflamed some of them. Just because you don’t start any new wars doesn’t mean you’re not a warmonger.

Rather than a throwback to “new wars” and the old-school ground invasions of the Bush era, the warmongering we’ll be seeing from the Biden administration is more likely to look like this. More starvation sanctions. More proxy conflicts. More cold war. More coups. More special ops. More drone strikes. More slow motion strangulation, less ham-fisted overt warfare.

It is certainly possible that Biden could launch a new full-scale war; the empire is in desperate straits right now, and it could turn out that a very desperate maneuver is needed to maintain global domination. But that isn’t the method that it has favored lately. The US empire much prefers nowadays to pour its resources into less visible acts of violence like economic siege warfare and arming proxy militias; the Iraq invasion left Americans so bitter toward conventional war that any more of it would increase the risk of an actual antiwar movement in the United States, which would be disastrous for the empire. So rather than tempt fate with the bad publicity of flag-draped coffins flying home by the thousands again imperialism is now served up with a bit more subtlety, with the military playing more of a backup role to guard the infrastructure of this new approach.

It appears clear that this would be the Biden administration’s preferred method of warmongering if given the choice based on who’s going to be in it. The incoming Secretary of State Tony Blinken now advocates replacing the old Bush model of full-scale war with “discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors”. Biden’s nominee for CIA Director William Burns urged caution in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and later expressed regret that he didn’t push back against it. Rather than picking bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy for Defense Secretary as many expected, Biden went with the less cartoonishly evil Raytheon board member Lloyd J. Austin III. All this while depraved coupmonger Victoria Nuland is being added to the administration and the murderous Venezuela coup is folded into its policy.

Nominee to lead State Department Tony Blinken recently explained that Biden’s pledge to “end the forever wars” means the US will reduce large-scale deployments while expanding secret wars waged by special forces and proxies.

Watch the full exposé here: https://t.co/1lY62RBl9X https://t.co/QHccVwnqSl pic.twitter.com/bW8DQc4bbk

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) November 23, 2020

Too much of the antiwar community is still stuck in the early 2000s. The western war machine just doesn’t generally kill that way anymore, and we need to adjust our perspectives if we want to address the actual murderousness as it is actually showing up. If you keep looking out for obsolete ground invasions, you’re going to miss the new form of warmongering completely.

Trump supporters who claim to oppose war missed this completely throughout the entirety of his presidency, confining the concept of “war” solely to its most blatant iterations in order to feel like their president was a peacemaker instead of a warmonger. One of the few positive developments that could potentially arise from the Biden administration is helping such people to recognize acts of violence like starvation sanctions as war, since they will be opposing Biden and that is how this new administration will be manifesting much of its murderousness.

The political/media class likes to keep everyone focused on the differences between each president and his immediate predecessor, but we can learn a whole lot more by looking at their similarities. Biden’s warmongering is going to look a lot like Trump’s–just directed in some different directions and expressing in slightly different ways–despite all the energy that has been poured into painting them as two wildly different individuals. Once you see beyond the partisan puppet show, you see a single oligarchic empire continuing the same murderous agendas from one sock puppet administration to the next.

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World Braces for New Round of ‘American Leadership’ – RPI 24 Jan Update

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

But just as President Biden proclaimed that “America is back” at his inauguration, the rest of the world could see that “regime change is back” as the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Suddenly Assad faces the prospect of a new war against him and his secular leadership and the Russians see a direct threat of a jihadist resurgence masquerading as a “democracy movement” in Syria… and beyond.

But wait…there’s more! After re-igniting the totally failed “regime change” policy in Syria, the incoming Biden Administration reignited the also utterly failed – and perhaps far more dangerous – “regime change” policy in Russia!

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/usleadership?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:

Say what you will about President Biden’s foreign policy team, they’re no slouches. Biden had not been president for one full day when a convoy full of military equipment and a reported hundreds of US troops rolled (illegally) into Syria from Iraq.

Readers will recall that it was the Obama/Biden Administration that came up with the brilliant idea that funding, arming, training, and equipping jihadists and terrorists in the Middle East would be a terrific way of bringing democracy to Syria.

As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad faced defeat at the hands of US-backed rebels (often, as with al-Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaeda) and ISIS, he in 2015 formally requested Russian assistance. Facing the prospect of al-Qaeda and ISIS on its doorstep if they succeeded in Syria, Russia accepted the request and Assad was able to slowly regain much of Syrian territory. 

The hysterical warnings that Assad would genocide his people if he re-took control of the major cities proved to be all hot air – or more likely just pure war propaganda.

The US retained military control of parts of Syria, predominantly Kurdish areas, and proceeded to help itself to the Syrian oil in those areas. Though President Trump did order two attacks on Syria in response to bogus charges that Assad gassed his own people, he more or less gave up on the Obama/Biden “Assad must go” policy. Or at the least he was less enthusiastic about it than the neocons he put in charge of Middle East policy.

But just as President Biden proclaimed that “America is back” at his inauguration, the rest of the world could see that “regime change is back” as the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Suddenly Assad faces the prospect of a new war against him and his secular leadership and the Russians see a direct threat of a jihadist resurgence masquerading as a “democracy movement” in Syria… and beyond.

But wait…there’s more! After re-igniting the totally failed “regime change” policy in Syria, the incoming Biden Administration reignited the also utterly failed – and perhaps far more dangerous – “regime change” policy in Russia!

Four years of the US mainstream media relentlessly parroting the bogus “Russiagate” narrative has resulted in many if not most Americans still believing the utterly shredded conspiracy theory that somehow former President Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin and that the Russians were conspiring to impurify our precious bodily fluids

With the anti-Russia hysteria still – incredibly – at a fever pitch, imagine what would have happened if it came out that the Russian Embassy in Washington had posted information that made it easier for the perpetrators of the January 6th “melee at the Capitol” to launch their “insurrection” (or…as Schumer calls it), 

Anybody doubt the war drums would be at a fever pitch, particularly from the Democrat and mainstream media circles?

But that is just what the US Embassy in Moscow did for the violent anti-government protests in Russia yesterday. Though Washington has long wanted to crown the deeply unpopular Alexei Navalny the Juan Guaido of Russia, taking down the Russian government has unsurprisingly proven a bit more tricky than Hillary Clinton’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Honduras.

But the US Embassy, Moscow, is never discouraged by its failures. Under the guise of warning US citizens to avoid the planned demonstrations across Russia, the US Embassy published on its website all of the specific locations of the protests and the times they were to take place.

The US posting even included a strangely familiar helpful mention of a planned “march towards the Kremlin” – sounds like the “march on the Capitol” on the infamous 1/6 “insurrection day.”

Unsurprisingly, Russian officials were not amused over US officials encouraging an unauthorized protest in Moscow just a few days after those same US officials were calling for the identification and arrest of Americans participating in an unauthorized protest in the US Capitol.

Hypocrisy has always been the central organizing principle of US interventionist foreign policy. And boy it is back in vogue these days!

Oh, and the neocon buffoon Juan Guaido? The Biden Administration has announced that it will continue Trump’s boneheaded policy of recognizing the corrupt (and unelected) Venezuelan politician as that country’s legitimate president. 

Plus ça change

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Daniel McAdams
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Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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As an Iraq War Veteran, I’m Furious U.S. Troops Are Still Dying There 17 Years Later | Opinion

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2020

I believe the Iraq War was a mistake with catastrophic implications for the country we swore to defend. Now, 17 years after the war began, it’s time to finally correct this mistake and bring our troops home.

https://www.newsweek.com/iraq-war-veteran-im-furious-us-troops-are-still-dying-there-17-years-later-opinion-1492724

Dan Caldwell

On the night of January 7, my phone buzzed with news alerts that Americans in Iraq were under attack by Iranian missiles at Ain al-Asad air base—where I served as a Marine over 11 years ago. My stomach turned as I thought about what those on the receiving end of the barrage were experiencing. At first, I prayed the troops at the air base were able to take cover prior to the missiles hitting. But then I became angry—angry we still had Americans in harm’s way as a result of an unnecessary war that began 17 years ago.

Those Americans at al-Asad were needlessly in danger because of our leaders’ refusal to reckon with the fact the Iraq War was lost long ago and it is past time for the United States to withdraw from the country.

One of the many terrible results of U.S. troops being in Iraq is the over 100 service members at al-Asad who suffered traumatic brain injury during the missile attack. Thankfully, no one was killed, but some will likely suffer side effects from their serious injuries for many years. They join the more than 32,000 Americans wounded and 4,500 killed—including four U.S. service members who died last week—in a conflict that has cost the U.S. nearly $2 trillion.

The Iraq War was lost when the Marines pulled down Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad in April 2003. The overthrow of Saddam’s regime, as ghoulish as it was, removed a check against Islamic radicalism and was a clear victory for Iran, Iraq’s chief rival at the time.

The political realities of the region were ignored in favor of a misguided idealism imbued with the certainty the removal of Saddam would inspire democracy to flourish in the Middle East. As a result, everything we have done since 2003 has been an attempt to mitigate the consequences of the invasion.

While most foreign policy leaders and elected officials at least grudgingly acknowledge the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was a mistake, some still try to defend the war by making dubious historical claims. For example, there is the prevalent myth that we “won” in Iraq during the surge of American forces from 2007 to 2009 but squandered that victory when President Barack Obama withdrew American military forces in 2011.

This narrative ignores that while the surge yielded some tactical victories, it did not end the sectarian conflict unleashed by the invasion that empowered Sunni jihadis and Iran-backed Shiite militias. The deeply rooted tensions among different groups in Iraq, along with the civil war in neighboring Syria—not the withdrawal of American forces—enabled the rise of ISIS.

The “Obama lost” narrative also glosses over the fact that our withdrawal in 2011 was mandated by the Status of Forces Agreement signed by the Bush administration and Iraqi government in 2008. Keeping military forces in Iraq after December 2011 could have put us into conflict with the Iraqi government, which the United States created and supported. The Iraqi government agreed to let large numbers of American troops return to Iraq only after the rise of ISIS in 2014.

Today, American troops remain in Iraq with no clear purpose. ISIS’ territorial caliphate is destroyed, and the remaining ISIS fighters pose a greater threat to Iranian interests than American ones. The Iraqi parliament recently called for our withdrawal. Our continued support of Iraqi security forces could lead to Iranian-aligned groups receiving American arms and equipment, including ones likely responsible for recent attacks against Americans.

Leaving our troops in Iraq only makes them easy targets for Sunni jihadis or Iranian proxies seeking to harm American forces. President Donald Trump should withdraw all our forces from the country, a move supported by nearly 70 percent of Americans.

I am proud of my service in Iraq, and regardless of the necessity of the war, we should honor the sacrifice of those who served admirably under difficult circumstances. But like most veterans of the conflict, I believe the Iraq War was a mistake with catastrophic implications for the country we swore to defend. Now, 17 years after the war began, it’s time to finally correct this mistake and bring our troops home.

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More Dying for Nothing in Iraq – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on March 14, 2020

That’s how this entire sordid process has turned into a perpetual “war on terrorism,” one that sacrifices U.S. soldiers for nothing and, in the process, ends up destroying our rights and liberties here at home in the name of keeping us “safe” from the enemies that the Pentagon (and the CIA) are producing over there.

https://www.fff.org/2020/03/13/more-dying-for-nothing-in-iraq/

by

Two more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Yes, that Iraq — the Iraq that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so — the Iraq that the U.S. government invaded and has occupied for umpteen years under the rubric of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

What did those two soldiers die for? They died for the same thing that 58,000 U.S. soldiers died for in Vietnam — nothing.

They certainly didn’t die for freedom. Just as the North Vietnamese were never threatening the freedom of the American people, neither is anyone in Iraq, including ISIS, the group that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq brought into existence.

The Pentagon announced that it has retaliated for the killings by bombing an “Iranian-backed militia” that the Pentagon is “confident” was responsible for the killing.

And then what? Then that Iranian-backed militia retaliates by killing more U.S. soldiers, which then motivates the Pentagon to retaliate again, which causes the Iranian-backed militia to retaliate again.

That’s how this entire sordid process has turned into a perpetual “war on terrorism,” one that sacrifices U.S. soldiers for nothing and, in the process, ends up destroying our rights and liberties here at home in the name of keeping us “safe” from the enemies that the Pentagon (and the CIA) are producing over there.

What business do U.S. soldiers have in Iraq? No business at all. The longer they are kept there, the greater the chance that more of them will be dying for nothing.

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More Dying for Nothing in Iraq – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on March 14, 2020

What did those two soldiers die for? They died for the same thing that 58,000 U.S. soldiers died for in Vietnam — nothing.

https://www.fff.org/2020/03/13/more-dying-for-nothing-in-iraq/

by

Two more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Yes, that Iraq — the Iraq that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so — the Iraq that the U.S. government invaded and has occupied for umpteen years under the rubric of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

What did those two soldiers die for? They died for the same thing that 58,000 U.S. soldiers died for in Vietnam — nothing.

They certainly didn’t die for freedom. Just as the North Vietnamese were never threatening the freedom of the American people, neither is anyone in Iraq, including ISIS, the group that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq brought into existence.

The Pentagon announced that it has retaliated for the killings by bombing an “Iranian-backed militia” that the Pentagon is “confident” was responsible for the killing.

And then what? Then that Iranian-backed militia retaliates by killing more U.S. soldiers, which then motivates the Pentagon to retaliate again, which causes the Iranian-backed militia to retaliate again.

That’s how this entire sordid process has turned into a perpetual “war on terrorism,” one that sacrifices U.S. soldiers for nothing and, in the process, ends up destroying our rights and liberties here at home in the name of keeping us “safe” from the enemies that the Pentagon (and the CIA) are producing over there.

What business do U.S. soldiers have in Iraq? No business at all. The longer they are kept there, the greater the chance that more of them will be dying for nothing.

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: U.S. Threatens Iraq That It Will Lose Access to Its Bank Account at the Federal Reserve

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2020

You can be sure that every country in the world will take notice of the threat.

When the move away from the dollar as a reverse currency begins in earnest, the flight from the dollar on foreign exchange markets will be fierce.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/01/us-threatens-iraq-that-it-will-lose.html

This is stunning news.

The Trump administration warned Iraq this past week that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out American forces following the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, according to Iraqi officials, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Here are the details via The Journal:

The State Department warned that the U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a move that could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy, the officials said.

Iraq, like other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as an important part of managing the country’s finances, including revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could restrict Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system and constricting a critical lubricant for the economy.

Bottom line: The U.S. continues to use the global dominance of the US dollar to bully countries that don’t fall in line with its demands.

You can be sure that every country in the world will take notice of the threat.

When the move away from the dollar as a re(serve)verse currency begins in earnest, the flight from the dollar on foreign exchange markets will be fierce.

And that is what economic blowback will look like: The crash of the dollar.

RW

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The Long Sordid History of Pentagon Intervention in Iraq – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2020

Ninth, once the Pentagon discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which was the Pentagon’s excuse for the invasion in the first place, it should have apologized for its “mistake” and come home. Instead, the Pentagon stayed in Iraq for several more years, killing and injuring countless more Iraqis…

https://www.fff.org/2020/01/10/the-long-sordid-history-of-pentagon-intervention-in-iraq/

by

There is no reason for the Pentagon to be depressed, despondent, or angry over the fact that Iraqi officials are kicking the Pentagon out of Iraq. The Pentagon doesn’t belong in Iraq in the first place.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that ever since the Pentagon and the rest of the U.S. national-security establishment lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, with the end of the Cold War in 1989, Iraq never invaded the United States or even threatened to do so. In the 30 years that the Pentagon has been killing people and wreaking destruction in Iraq, it has always been the Pentagon that has been the aggressor and Iraq the defender.

Second, it’s also important to keep in mind that during the 1980s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a partner and ally of the Pentagon, when the Pentagon was helping him to wage his brutal 8-year war against Iran.

Third, U.S. officials expressed indifference to their partner and ally Saddam when he expressed exasperation with Kuwait, which, he said, was stealing oil from Iraq by slant-drilling into Iraqi land. That expressed indifference to a partner and ally could easily be construed as giving a green light for Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

Fourth, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the dispute was no business of the Pentagon, given that the invasion did not constitute an invasion of the United States. Nonetheless, the Pentagon intervened in the conflict, notwithstanding the fact that Congress had not declared war on Iraq, as the Constitution requires. The Pentagon killed countless Iraqis in what was clearly an illegal U.S. war under U.S. law.

Fifth, the Pentagon had no business intentionally destroying Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants during the course of its intervention. That was a war crime, especially since the Pentagon’s intent was to spread infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people.

Sixth, the Pentagon had no legitimate authority to establish “no-fly zones” over Iraq after hostilities ended. The Pentagon continue to kill Iraqis during the enforcement of such zones, including a teenage boy who was just tending his sheep.

Seventh, the Pentagon had no business enforcing sanctions on Iraq during the 1990s, especially when it became painfully clear that they were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, including through infectious illnesses from polluted water. The sanctions were preventing Iraqis from repairing the water-and-sewage treatment plants that the Pentagon had intentionally destroyed during the Persian Gulf War. It was the deaths of those children that turned out to be a major contributing cause to anti-American terrorism, such as the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, the 9/11 attacks, the Fort Hood attacks, the Detroit would-be attack, and many more.

Eighth, the Pentagon had no legitimate authority to invade Iraq after the 9/11 attacks because Congress never issued a declaration of war against Iraq, as the Constitution requires. Moreover, even if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in violation of UN resolutions, only the UN had the authority to enforce its own resolutions. Iraq never invaded the United States. That made the Pentagon the aggressor against Iraq once again. The Pentagon killed and injured countless more Iraqis in the process and ended up destroying the entire country under its mantra “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Ninth, once the Pentagon discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which was the Pentagon’s excuse for the invasion in the first place, it should have apologized for its “mistake” and come home. Instead, the Pentagon stayed in Iraq for several more years, killing and injuring countless more Iraqis during its occupation and wreaking continued destruction all across the country.

Tenth, the Pentagon’s invasion of Iraq gave rise to ISIS, which the Pentagon used as the excuse for wreaking even more death and destruction, not only in Iraq but also across the Middle East. That’s why the Pentagon is in Iraq today—ostensibly to defeat the entity that the Pentagon brought into existence with its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Evicting the Pentagon from Iraq is the best thing Iraqi officials could do, both for the people of the Middle East and the United States. The Pentagon has wreaked enough death, suffering, and destruction in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. The sooner the Pentagon comes home, the better off everyone will be.

Donate – Jacob Hornberger – Libertarian for President

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