Domino Theory on Display in Mali

Daniel Larison over at the American Conservative wrote an article about the intervention in Mali which I wrote about a few days ago. In the article he shows how the newest intervention in Mali is an example of how Western intervention leads to the destabilization of entire regions – in this case Libya/Mali. I shouldn’t have to point out how this point has been proven over and over again in the last 10 years of the ‘War on Terror’ – Iraq, Af/Pak, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and on and on and on….

Had Western governments foreseen the possible consequences of toppling one government two years ago, there might be no need to rescue another one from disaster now.

Definitely the most telling quote of the article, but he brings up an even more important question:

What other countries in the region would suffer serious unintended consequences from doing the same thing in Mali? How many other countries have to be wrecked before American leaders acknowledge that their interventionist remedies often do more harm than good?

I hope we learn this lesson before we decide whether or not to intervene in Syria on behalf of the jihadist rebels. Of course we have Republican hawks coming out and declaring that this is all the result of “American passivity”. These interventionist hawks are professionals when it comes to concocting fantasy stories – take Iraq as a great example. It’s funny to me how often they call for more and more intervention without learning any lessons from the massive destabilization that results from all of their policy prescriptions – the flood of jihadists into Iraq, removing the one balancing power against Iranian dominance in the region, installing a Shi’ite backed regime in Iraq that is now aligned with Iran, ten years of training for jihadists to become battle-hardened warriors many of whom are now fighting in Syria, the creation of massive blowback that provides endless recruits for al Qaeda-type organizations, etc.

Republican hawks will keep attacking the administration for “inaction” when they could instead be trying to hold it accountable for its past recklessness in using force.

Once again reality crushes a giant hole in the world-view of neoconservative Republican war hawks. We should’ve stopped listening to them after they lied us into a war that has proven to be disastrous!


James Madison vs. Obama

This picture from Obama’s inauguration ceremony at the White House on Sunday should elicit a sense of tragic irony. An irony that I presume is lost on this president.

The former “constitutional scholar” turned imperial president, with the help of precedents set by previous administrations – especially Bush 43 – should go back and study what the “Father of the Constitution” said about the dangers of expanding presidential power.

In our history we have seen a steady and constant erosion in the balance of power between the branches of government. It has turned away from “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” and morphed into a collusion by the power-hungry politicians to centralize authority into the hands of few. Congress has forfeited and delegated their war powers to the “Commander-in-Chief” along with an ideology of presidential power that is completely contrary to the spirit and original meaning of the Constitution. This irony is completely lost on conservatives who claim to believe in the original intent of the Constitution, yet are the biggest proponents of the ideology of the imperial presidency.

As for the judicial branch, is it any wonder as to why they fail to keep the federal government within the confines of constitutionally limited powers? Wait a second, doesn’t the president get to pick who ‘interprets’ the powers that he possesses? So the federal government gets to decide how much power it has, and we’re surprised when they find these new and vast reservoirs of authority? Constitutional flaw #1,000,000….

Back to what Madison said:

“The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature.

In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the executive magistrate. Constant apprehension of war, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force with an overgrown executive will not long be safe companions to liberty…”

We cannot possibly have limited government when we have a massive warfare state with an empire of bases all around the globe, spending trillions of dollars and more than every other nation combined on endless perpetual war. And you wonder why our liberties are eroding?

End the empire and tear down the Warfare State. Then we can work on ending the Welfare State and re-establish a constitutionally limited Republic.


MLK’s Heroic Stand Against US Militarism

Glenn Greenwald has published a great article today in The Guardian about what he considers a whitewashed legacy of heroic and vehement anti-militarism.

MLK in DC

Even in the midst of criticism that his anti-war activism was a distraction to the civil rights movement, King found it a central moral imperative to address this “deeper malady within the American spirit”.

Whenever MLK day rolls around, everyone from across the political spectrum loves to try and lay claim to him as, in the words of Jon Stewart, their “imaginary political yes-man”. It’s always easy to claim that someone who is dead would agree with you. However, Greenwald’s article can claim legitimacy on this issue since it was something that MLK actually addressed passionately.

The significance of President Obama being sworn in on MLK Day was repeatedly addressed by the media as an enduring symbol of Dr. King’s legacy, and sure – it is.

But this symbolic link has another, less inspiring symbolic meaning: Obama’s policies are a manifestation of exactly the militaristic mindset which King so eloquently denounced. Obama has always been fond of invoking King’s phrase “fierce urgency of now”, yet ironically, that is lifted from this anti-war speech, one that stands as a stinging repudiation of the continuous killing and violence Obama has spent the last four years unleashing on many countries around the world

Greenwald is able to draw some very acute parallels between the lessons and principles expressed in King’s speech with the policies used to fight the endless War on Terror. I applaud him for being unafraid of being politically incorrect. For example, he explains the vicious circle of the violent drone war creating more death and animosity making it that much easier for al Qaeda to recruit. Of course that demonstrably convincing argument can never considered in our militarized mindset. “Appeaser! Sympathizer!”

A citizenry that has been fed a steady diet of war and aggression and demonization is understandably incapable of even entertaining “alternatives” that do not involve causing the deaths of others, and of expressing nothing but pure callousness when confronted with the human suffering of the policies they support.

Go read it all for yourself. Both Glenn Greenwald’s article and especially MLK’s speech. Challenge the narrative you’ve been fed!

 


US Intervention Leads to More Blowback!

The obscure, landlocked West-African nation of Mali has poked its’ head into the news lately. First step before reading this article – find Mali on a map.

Just this week France began an intervention campaign in Mali. This intervention comes as a direct result of the blowback created by the US intervention in Libya and the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. How so?

A portion of Gadaffi’s army was made up of Tuareg’s, an indigenous nomadic group in the central Sahara/Sahel region of Africa with the largest portion of its’ population located in their homeland of “Azawad” in northern Mali. With Gadaffi’s regime overthrown, his Tuareg mercenaries, heavily armed with military equipment and arms,  returned to Mali with the goal of using their new arms to establish their own independent state of Azawad. These fierce Tuareg warriors successfully overthrew the Mali government in March of 2012 after a coup by US-trained junior officers in the Malian army created a power vacuum.

Then enters the crazy jihadists, fresh with their own arms courtesy of the US-led NATO intervention to overthrow one of their biggest enemies in the Islamic Maghreb – Gadaffi.

These jihadists successfully co-opted the Tuareg rebellion, led by the Salafist jihadist groups of Ansar al-Dine, MUJAO, and the big boogeyman – Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

But where did these groups come from?

In his article “How Washington Helped Foster the Islamic Uprising in Mali”, Jeremy Keenan examines and exposes the roots of the “jihadist threat’ in north Africa, documenting how Algeria, with US backing, created and fostered these groups. He explains how the Algerian government has fabricated and orchestrated terrorist activities, with plenty of US assistance, over the past two decades. These false-flag operations have now spun out of control and created what we are seeing today.

Go check it out for yourself! You can listen to an interview of Jeremy Keenan here

The lesson to be learned, as Glenn Greenwald rightly points out, is how this entire narrative perfectly exemplifies how US/Western intervention sows the seeds for the next intervention.

Here we go again!


Government Is a Gang of Thieves Writ Large

“The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.” — H.L. Mencken


Will Ron Paul Supporters Get Behind Romney?

Ron Paul speaking to massive crowd of supporters

Now that the media has been preemptively crowning Romney as already having won the nomination, even though the delegate count is shaping up to be a lot closer than they are reporting, there have been a lot of questions posed to Ron Paul and his supporters about whether or not they will “get behind whoever is the Republican nominee”. Of course what they mean is will Ron Paul be “loyal” to the party and will he and his supporters betray their convictions and support Romney over Obama.

The short answer – never in a million years!!

This just shows that they do not understand the Ron Paul Revolution. The reason that Ron Paul has so many die-hard supporters that will literally do anything to get Ron Paul elected is because of his unwavering integrity and uncompromising commitment to the principles and convictions that he believes in. He is a purely one-of-a-kind statesman in a world filled with plastic men and total puppets for the establishment. He stands steadfastly against everything that is wrong with this country. He is diametrically opposed to the status quo in every way, shape, and form. He embodies just about everything that people profess that they want in a leader and in a president.

The problem is that Republican primary voters would not accept truly limited, constitutional government if it was handed to them on a silver platter – and with Ron Paul – it is! Republicans and their conservative voter base are again proving that what they really care about is crazed militarism, neoconservatism, and a bankrupt, suicidal foreign policy. “March onwards into Iran, Syria, financial bankruptcy, and collapse!” So goes the battle cry of conservatives who would love to keep their heads stuck deep in the sands of the Middle East…

I know exactly what I am going to be asked if and when Romney wraps up the GOP nomination. “Are you going to support Mitt Romney? Because a vote not cast for Romney is surely a vote for Obama”. Barack Obama is quite obviously a horrible president, but it is just as obvious to me that Mitt Romney will make an equally horrible president. I cannot possibly vote for a guy just because he will turn us 3 degrees to the right off of a cliff instead of Obama’s left turn off of the cliff. It is precisely this mindset that continues to have this country barreling full-speed towards collapse.

I came across a video today from a Ron Paul supporter who addressed this very question with the most perfect response. You can either watch the video yourself, or you can read it here:

We are not afraid to lose if losing means that our integrity and principles remain with us. Our numbers have tripled this election. We have already won. We have spread the message of liberty far and wide. Ron Paul has inspired liberty movements in Africa, in Europe, in Korea – all around the world.

Only 1/3 of American colonists believed that the Revolutionary War was necessary, and they changed the course of history forever. It is our turn now to do the same. An election outcome will not change that. We are willing to lay down our lives for the cause of liberty if it is required of us – and it may be.

I welcome losing if the winning team is not supporting the principles this country was founded on. But I will not go as a lamb to the slaughter and vote for someone who my heart, my gut, and my reason tell me are not right for this country. Like Patrick Henry said “I know not what course others will take, but as for me – give me liberty or give me death”.


The Logical Conclusion to Being Pro-Choice

A group of ethicists has argued that killing babies is no different than abortion

An essay was published this week in Journal of Medical Ethics titled After-birth Abortion: why should the baby live?. The abstract sums it up as follows:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

Wow. My initial reaction was that of moral outrage, as should be most anyone’s reaction upon reading the essay. However, upon further reflection I have realized something – this conclusion should be the main argument for all who consider themselves pro-life.

The authors argue that the moral status of a fetus and a newborn infant is the same because they “lack the properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual”. So what are those properties? The explanation can be found in their distinction between an ‘actual person’ and a ‘potential person’. An actual person is “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value”. Their definition of an actual person is based on the idea that a person must have “aims” and reach at least a basic level of self-awareness. Once you reach this extremely vague and arbitrary level of existence, you are then “subject to a moral right to life”. So while “both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons… neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.” In other words, since we do not exist as ‘actual persons’ until we have aims and a level of self-awareness, no harm would be done to us if we were killed as a fetus or as an infant because we do not exist as a person. If no ‘person’ exists, no harm is done, and therefore no moral violation has been perpetrated.

They also argue that only the self-interest of ‘actual persons’ should be considered when determining the moral question:

The alleged right of individuals (such as fetuses and newborns) to develop their potentiality… is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being because, as we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence. Actual people’s well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child requiring energy, money and care which the family might happen to be in short supply of. Sometimes this situation can be prevented through an abortion, but in other cases this is not possible. In these cases, since non-persons have no moral rights to life, there are no reasons for banning after-birth abortions.

Other than the righteous anger and moral outrage at this conclusion, what we should take away from this paper is that their position is absolutely correct in the sense that it is the logically consistent conclusion to being pro-abortion. I will give them that. As congressman Ron Paul, an OB/GYN medical doctor who has delivered thousands of babies, has always argued – there is no difference morally, ethically, legally, or logically between a child one minute before birth and one minute after birth. Whereas Paul takes the complete pro-life position, this paper is obviously arguing in favor of the opposing position. The logical outcome reached is that infanticide is morally permissible and should be legally permissible for basically any reason upon the discretion of basically anyone who could be directly or loosely affected. If you believe that I may be exaggerating the conclusion, just go read the Conclusion section of the essay.

The pro-life movement should be welcoming this paper because it gives pro-lifers the chance to put the pro-choice movement in an indefensible position. They now have to defend the logical conclusion to being pro-choice. If a woman should have the “right” to choose whether they want to have the baby she is pregnant with or not, how does that change once the baby is born? Why would you ‘force’ a woman to be responsible for a burden they do not want? A baby is just as dependent on the mother before birth and inside the womb as they are dependent after birth. The location of the baby, whether in the womb or out of the womb, really makes no logical difference. This paper realizes that, so they try to come up with an ethical argument in favor of infanticide.

The pro-life position is almost always put on the defensive by having to determine the gray area of conception. This argument gives pro-lifers the opportunity to flip that discussion and force the other side to determine this gray area of when a ‘potential person’ becomes an ‘actual person’ who is subject to a moral right to life. If you accept all the other premises of the pro-choice argument, as this paper does, you must apply those premises and principles consistently. If the idea of a “right to choose” is to be accepted by society, what is to stop it from reaching its obvious conclusion?