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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Intervention’

The Small But Brave Cadre of Conservative Anti-War Republicans – The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2019

424 are pro-war, pro-interventionism, anti-peace.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-brave-cadre-of-conservative-anti-war-republicans/

They didn’t put their finger to the political wind when it came to Syria and Yemen.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A comparative case study has demonstrated that only one political party has a principled (albeit small) contingent of legislators who care more about ending U.S. intervention overseas than partisan positioning.

In February, the House of Representatives voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 37, which directed “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” This, along with its complementary senate vote, was the first congressional invocation of the War Powers Act in the law’s history.

Then last month, the House voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 77, a resolution condemning “the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.” This vote was in opposition to President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Syrian-Turkish border.

 

Neither U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War, nor U.S. material support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen have been authorized by Congress, making them illegal American wars. The Trump administration opposed both resolutions, and stopping House Joint Resolution 37 was only the second veto of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Out of the House’s 435 members, only 11 voted to end both the war in Yemen and to draw down in Syria. They are Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, and Bill Posey of Florida.

Notice anything? They’re all Republicans. But that shouldn’t surprise you.

“There is a long and honorable tradition within the Republican Party of anti-interventionism, of nationalism, what’s sometimes called isolationism, which technically isn’t a friendly or accurate term,” explains historian Jeff Taylor, who chairs the Department of Political Science at Dordt University.

“Back to the Progressive Era, even before the rise of the modern conservative movement, you had an anti-establishment; I would call it a populist-nationalist movement within the Republican Party,” Taylor says. “Back then [it was] led by men such as Robert La Follette in the U.S. senate, and there were others . . . Hiram Johnson of California and William Borah of Idaho.”

“This was a tradition that had eloquent individuals who had fiercely held beliefs, and some of them had positions of power.”

Another example in this lineage is Ohio Senator Robert Taft who opposed U.S. entry into the NATO alliance and called the Korean War unconstitutional. Taft, son of the former president and a three-time national candidate in his own right, was so associated with the GOP and its Midwestern base that he was known as “Mr. Republican.”

In the modern era, this same spirit imbued the presidential campaigns of both Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul—the former in his fight against the Gulf War and George H.W. Bush’s aspirations towards a New World Order, and the latter in his opposition to the War on Terror and its resultant overseas regime changes.

Today, there is an 11-person cadre of Republican congressmen willing to put constitutional devotion, fiscal sanity, and ethical antipathy to feckless wars above political expediency…

Massie is correct. No Democrat voted to continue intervention in Yemen, and simultaneously no Democrat voted to defend withdrawing from northern Syria. Every member automatically took the inverse view of the Trump administration. Democratic opposition to war is partisan, not principled.

Hawaii representative and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of the Yemen resolution in February and did not vote on House Joint Resolution 77 regarding Syria. Her office did not return a request for comment to explain her absence. Gabbard has since introduced her own Syria withdrawal resolution.

Republican-turned-Independent representative from Michigan Justin Amash voted “Present” on both resolutions. Amash’s haughty attitude stems from his contention that such resolutions present a “false choice.” This did not prevent the congressman from calling President Trump a “fraud” for vetoing the same Yemen resolution he refused to support.

Both Republican voters and the broader peace movement ought to be proud that there is a resolute core of House members continuing the non-interventionist legacy of the Old Right. In the words of the late Justin Raimondo, it’s incumbent upon us to continue “reconstructing a conservative philosophy centered around liberty and the authentic American character, rather than a lust for power and an addiction to war.”

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Veterans Oppose the Endless Wars, Back Trump: ‘A Lot of Wasted Lives’

Posted by M. C. on November 5, 2019

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/11/03/veterans-oppose-endless-wars-support-trump/

by John Binder

American Veterans who risked their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are increasingly opposing foreign interventionism that continues to dominate the Washington, DC, political establishment.

The latest Pew Research Center survey on the issue finds that 64 percent of Veterans say the Iraq War is “not worth fighting,” along with 62 percent of all American adults who agree. Only 33 percent of Veterans say the Iraq War is worth fighting.

Likewise, nearly 60 percent of Veterans and all American adults say the Afghanistan War was not worth the fight. Less than 40 percent say the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was worth fighting.

In interviews with the New York Times, Veterans explained their support for President Trump’s effort to end what he has dubbed the “endless wars” across the Middle East which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

“All in all, it is a lot of wasted lives and money and time and effort spent to accomplish a goal we never accomplished,” said 31-year-old Tyler Wade, who received a Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan, told the Times.

Veteran Dan Caldwell said American men and women signed up to defend their homeland against terrorists, not to nation-build whole countries and remain until stability in the region is regained.

“For conservative-leaning veterans, we signed up to defend our country,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t sign up to build girls schools in the Al Anbar Province. We had friends killed or wounded in action; it wasn’t clear for what.”

Veteran Amber Smith, 37-years-old — who served in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2005 and 2008 — said the minority of Veterans in Congress who continue to support U.S. military intervention in foreign countries do so at the expense of their brothers and sisters in the uniform.

“We gave it nearly two decades, thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and we have learned at this point there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan,” Smith told the Times. “There are a few veterans in Congress who are very pro-military-involvement in the Middle East. Well, they already fought that fight. They are not going back. As we have seen, when Trump talks about reducing troops, everyone in D.C. becomes unhinged. Unfortunately, the U.S. service members pay the consequences for that.”

Even when it comes to the U.S. intervention in Syria, Veterans by a majority oppose the effort. The Pew Research Center survey found that 55 percent of Veterans said U.S. involvement in Syria is “not worth it” while almost 60 percent of American adults agreed.

Former President George W. Bush led the U.S. into war in Afghanistan and Iraq with more than 4,500 Americans dying in Iraq — including more than 3,500 killed in combat — and up to 205,000 Iraqi citizens dying in the war since March 2003.

In total, Bush’s post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and intervention in Pakistan have resulted in the deaths of between 480,000 and 507,000 people — including nearly 7,000 American soldiers who had deployed to the regions.

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What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East? | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on November 3, 2019

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/what-should-we-learn-40-years-us-intervention-middle-east-41542

The presence of America’s vaunted military cannot necessarily shape the political orientation and structure of societies.

…These criticisms fail to take stock of the lessons that emerge from forty years of U.S. military action in the greater Middle East region. The presence of America’s vaunted military cannot necessarily shape the political orientation and structure of societies. Iraq and Afghanistan are obvious examples. Unrivaled American military power also has failed to contour the decisions of other actors in the theater. The United States failed to sufficiently influence the behavior of sectarian actors in Lebanon during its expedition there. The United States has failed to change Iranian foreign policy even after decades of relative military encirclement. Even after inflicting arguably the most humiliating and decisive military victory in modern history, American soldiers watched from just beyond the border as Saddam defied Washington and violently cracked down on Kurdish and Shia uprisings.

The notion that the United States could use its control on the north to shape the postwar Syrian state and expel Iran has always been a theoretical concept with no clear path to implementation.  In fact, many of the forces that have been deemed Iranian-backed are composed of Syrian citizens. Where would they be expelled too? Most likely, Damascus and its allies will work to secure the rest of the country while waiting America out. The simple fact that has been determinative to much of the conflict is that countries like Iran and Russia have more vital interests in Syria than a faraway superpower.

Others argued that Trump’s “strategy of retreat” from Syria, as the New York Times’ David Sanger called it, will result in chaos and terrorism as the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq did. Mimicking Bush administration talking points, Sanger claimed that “deployed forces are key to stopping terrorists before they reach American shores.” Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official and Clinton acolyte, took this line of reasoning to its natural conclusion. He wrote that, “[u]ltimately, the answer in the Middle East is to stay, but in a smaller more sustainable and cheaper way. We may need to have a few thousand troops in some of the various trouble spots in the region such as northeastern Syria for years to come. Their job will not be to ‘win’ but simply to muddle through.” Retired Marine General John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, argued that “U.S. global leadership and, where necessary, its forces” are needed in ISIS-influenced territory across Asia and Africa “until the idea of the caliphate has been defeated.”

ISIS was quickly defeated because its messianic state building delusion deprived it of strategic flexibility. In having to defend fixed positions, its forces could not focus on the kind of asymmetrical strategies that have been so effective for non-state actors in the region. What’s left of it has already made clear it will not make the same mistake. But indefinite American military occupation of broad swaths of the Middle East is not a simple antidote to anti-U.S. militant action or chaos. In fact, the connective tissue between many of non-state actors is aggressive opposition towards the influence or direct or indirect military presence of the United States or its key allies. A diverse array of non-state actors including Hezbollah, the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Iraq have strengthened or even been established under the noses of American soldiers and marines. In fact, the Sunni Arabs of northern Syria are already chafing under heavy-handed America-enabled Kurdish rule—even “ethnic cleansing”—and the long-term continuation of this trend will invite trouble.

One oft-cited criticism was that it was a betrayal of the very Kurdish group in question. “The West owes them a debt for the price they’ve paid,” argues an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. The Kurdish groups in northern Syria, the YPG, decried the original decision as a “blatant betrayal.” But the sponsor-client relationship is inherently bidirectional; they form due to convergences of interests. The Kurds fought ISIS because it posed an existential threat to their communities, not as an expression of loyalty to America. ISIS had once pushed the Syrian Kurds all the way to the Turkish border at many points, and in Iraq, they came close to sacking Erbil.

The overzealous alliance reinforcement ethos that permeates Washington and demands every strategic cooperation be treated as a treaty alliance (or an emotional commitment) demanding America’s unrestricted moral fidelity to the demands and ambitions of the client, is neither necessary for alliance management nor in keeping with U.S. interests…

Moreover, why shouldn’t public opinion be a factor in American military decisionmaking? Due to a series of reasons, such as its military prowess and providential location, America faces little in the way of existential threats and, therefore, can entertain a spectrum of options on how to address interests and security challenges. A de facto occupation of one-third of Syrian territory was never the only or the obvious course of action…

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