Category Archive 'Outside Commentary'
29.11.05

Getting Out of Iraq: Our Strategic Interest

Iraq, Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary


This article on why it’s in the U.S.’s best interest to leave Iraq speaks for itself, so I have little to add as an intro. I’ll simply precede it with some biographical information about the article’s author, Charles V. Peña— and I’ll note that while the article is published at TomPaine.com (“The best progressive insight and action. All day.”), Mr. Peña’s insight’s are “progressive” (as in liberal) only by coincidence. He himself is a libertarian– director of defense policies at the Cato Institute.

And he doesn’t come without qualifications, to put it lightly:

From Cato:

Cato’s director of defense policy studies Charles V. Peña is the author of studies on the war on terrorism, the Iraq war, homeland security, bioterrorism, missile defense, and national security. He is an analyst for MSNBC, and has worked for several defense contractors with a variety of government clients, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Peña has analyzed and managed programs and studies on missile defense, strategic nuclear weapons, targeting policy and strategy, arms control, precision guided munitions, the future of air power, long-range military planning, Navy force structure and costing, joint military exercises, and emergency preparedness and response. He has been cited in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. He has appeared on The McLaughlin Group, The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball, Lester Holt Live, Market Watch, and the NBC Nightly News. Peña holds an M.A. in security policy studies from the George Washington University.

From TomPaine.com:

Charles V. Peña is an adviser to the Straus Military Reform Project, senior fellow with the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, and analyst for MSNBC. He is a co-author of Exiting Iraq: Why the United States Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda (Cato Institute, 2004) and author of the forthcoming Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism (Potomac Books, Inc.).


Getting Out: Our Strategic Interest
November 22, 2005

by Charles V. Peña

Rep. John Murtha is right when he says, “The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.? Yet the administration persists. At the American Enterprise Institute, Vice President Dick Cheney responded to Murtha, saying, “A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists, an invitation to further violence against free nations, and a terrible blow to the future security of the United States of America.?

And so the official White House policy remains what it was on Veterans Day when President Bush did his best to evoke Winston Churchill: “We will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory.?

Even if victory could somehow be achieved, it would be Pyrrhic given the costs and consequences. Moreover, it would only be a tactical victory at the expense of losing strategic position in the war on terrorism. What the Bush administration refuses to understand is that the U.S. military occupation in Iraq is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Therefore, the strategic imperative is to exit Iraq rather than stay. And although it is counterintuitive, exiting Iraq may be a prerequisite for victory.
Read the rest of this entry »

21.11.05

Buchanan: “Vietnam Syndrome” is back

Iraq, Outside Commentary


Pat Buchanan strikes an interesting tone in this article about the recurrence of “Vietnam Syndrome” in America. He’s been firmly against the war in Iraq from the start, but Buchanan is also a patriot and a nationalist, so he is hard-pressed to revel in the rise in anti-war sentiment, since it means the near-certain undoing of what, for better or worse, was a big project and goal of the U.S.: successful regime change in Iraq.

Part of what puts Buchanan in a strange position is the fact that he was a part of the Nixon administration during America’s last giant quagmire, and by necessity, he became invested in the idea of putting a positive spin on that war, and hoping for its success. When I have heard him speak on TV about Vietnam, he has conveyed the idea that it was lost due to a failure of will on the part of the American people. Which may in fact be the case, but only when considered in the context of just what it is that the American people were expected to have the will for— i.e., the loss of tens of thousands of American lives in order to change the leadership in a foreign land, with dubious prospects for long-term success.

Buchanan proposes that that “malady” is upon the American populace again, and he suggests that there’s generally only one way to cure it: an unsatisfying and potentially disastrous withdrawal from Iraq before it’s “done”.

He does raise the obvious point that is begged by all this– is it a lack of will from the public or a lack of leadership from the president that is at fault here?– but it comes up briefly and is dismissed as irrelevant in a practical sense. Which, at least as far as Iraq goes, it is. That dynamic is under way, and determining whoever is to “blame” won’t stop it.

However, to the extent that there is a “Vietnam Syndrome”– a distaste and impatience for foreign wars of dubious purpose — future U.S. leaders would do well to factor that into their war planning. I was only alive for about two years of Vietnam, but even I saw this Iraq strain of Vietnam Syndrome coming from a mile away. And if you plan to use U.S. forces and U.S. tax dollars to pursue a given mission, and your mission is going to be long and somewhat murky, the onus is on you, as the leader, to ensure that your citizens are willing to support that full, murky, potentially unsatisfying mission. All other matters aside– if a leader is going to expect support for a war that lasts years, costs thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and provides long stretches of uncertainty, that leader must have a cause and a mission that will engender such support. And that’s not a small matter. The success of the mission depends on it.

And if Americans “don’t have the stomach” for all that it would take to remake Iraq (and let’s not forget Afghanistan), then what of a bigger plan to remake the Middle East? What of the neoconservative desire to exert similar control in other parts of the globe?

Buchanan’s prediction, if Iraq fails, is this:

As for Bush, a retreat from Iraq and defeat there would mean a failed presidency. The Bush Doctrine of employing U.S. power to unhorse dictators and impose democracy will be dead.

America will adopt a new non-interventionist foreign policy, except where vital U.S. interests are imperiled. The tragedy is that we did not do, voluntarily, 15 years ago, what a foolish, failing neoconservative foreign policy may now force us to do in the not-too-distant future.


The malady recurs
WorldNetDaily
© 2005 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Posted: November 21, 2005

——————————————————————————–

Despite America’s triumph in Desert Storm and Tommy Frank’s brilliant run up to Baghdad, the Vietnam Syndrome is with us yet.

We never really purged it from our system.

That is the meaning of 40 Senate votes on a resolution demanding that President Bush give quarterly progress reports and a timetable for getting us out of Iraq. While 58 senators voted no on timetables, they bought into the rest of the resolution.

And what is the message? We are not going deeper into Iraq, as McCain urges. We are not going to stay the course, as Bush insists. America is coming home. It is but a matter of time.
Read the rest of this entry »

21.11.05

An Economist’s Case Against an Interventionist Foreign Policy

Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary


David Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution and an associate professor of economics in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School. Henderson is neither liberal or conservative, though the natural inclination would be to align him more with the conservative camp, if for no other reason than that he is a free market economist who works for the Hoover Institute, a well-known conservative think tank.

I say this, because in reading David’s article below, a skeptic might be inclined to think he’s just another typical “anti-American” liberal (not me, but there are folks who feel that way). I can assure you — and David Henderson’s credentials can back me up — that this is not the case. If his Hoover Institute affiliation isn’t enough to make that point, a look at his book The Joy of Freedom would seal the deal. Here’s a link to reviews of that book — a glowing tribute to the free market and limited government.

Anyway, on to the piece, which highlights a handful of examples of how U.S. intervention in the affairs of other nations has had unfortunate unintended consequences– for the U.S. Meaning that often when we venture abroad to try and solve what appears to be a problem for the U.S., we set in motion an even bigger problem that we will have to deal with at some point.


An Economist’s Case Against an Interventionist Foreign Policy
David R. Henderson

Antiwar.com
November 14, 2005

I’ve been an economist over half my life. The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve seen what a powerful insight economist Ludwig von Mises had over 60 years ago when he pointed out that virtually every government intervention leads to unintended consequences that then lead to further interventions. So, for example, Nixon’s 1973 price controls on gasoline caused us to waste hundreds of millions of dollars in time lining up for gas. That led the U.S. government to dictate the fuel economy of cars. The fuel economy laws caused auto companies to make lighter cars, causing a few extra thousand deaths a year. (For more on this, see Chapter 2 of my book The Joy of Freedom: An Economist’s Odyssey.) The gasoline lines also caused people to be more sympathetic to intervening in the Middle East.

In foreign policy also, when government intervenes, it creates problems that it tries to solve by intervening further. Take Iraq… please, as the late Henny Youngman would have said. How did we get to the point where the Bush government invaded Iraq? Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

In 1963, the CIA helped a young Iraqi ally who, along with other plotters, overthrew General Adbul Qassim. You may have heard of this young Iraqi ally; he’s been in the news lately. His name is Saddam Hussein. Five years later, the CIA backed another coup that made Hussein deputy to the new military ruler. Then, in 1979, Hussein took his turn as dictator.

Hussein proceeded to wage a long and costly war on Iran. Although many people, correctly, point to this war as evidence of Hussein’s evil, they rarely mention one highly relevant fact: the Reagan administration supported this invasion with billions of dollars in export credits and with satellite intelligence. Saddam Hussein was evil for initiating and fighting that war. How, then, should we evaluate the U.S. government officials who actively supported him?

But my main purpose here is not to question the morality of war. Rather, it is to point out how one intervention leads to another. The U.S. government supported a man who eventually took over Iraq’s government and who later became, in the eyes of the U.S. government, the enemy. The U.S. government’s interventions of the 1960s led, indirectly but inexorably, to its current intervention.
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16.11.05

“Afghanistan: The War Without End” (within a war without end)

Afghanistan, News Articles, Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary, PNAC.info Commentary


This article provides an eye-opening look at the reality of that other war we’re in– the one that doesn’t get so much press these days. The key thing to note, of course, is that the Taliban is still operational–and in ways, appears to be quite strong, and possibly staging some sort of attempted comeback. And the war in Afghanistan is still a war in Afghanistan. From the way it’s presented by many who seek to defend the success of the “war on terror” as it has been conducted so far, one might think that Afghanistan was over and done with. But as you can see in the article, things are actually about to heat up in some ways. (In this case, I’m referring to the British troops who are going to be moved into an insurgent stronghold to try and gain control of that area.)

In searching for a quote from the PNAC on Afghanistan, I came upon an editorial from the Weekly Standard of October 29, 2001. It’s on the PNAC site as a PDF file, and it’s by frequent co-writers William Kristol and Robert Kagan, both of whom are part of both the PNAC and the Weekly Standard. Which is to say, I don’t know if it’s an official PNAC position statement, but it’s certainly very close to that if not.

The editorial only glancingly touches upon Afghanistan, actually — as noted in the recent American Conservative piece, the neocons had Iraq as their focus even when everyone else was honed in on Al Qaeda and Afghanistan — but it does lay out clear and simple terms for victory: victory is to be defined by “the unequivocal destruction of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden.”

So while I’m using this excerpt for the bigger picture statement within it (you’ll see what I mean) it is also certainly relevant as a lead-in to an article entitled “Afghanistan: The War Without End”. After all, it has been four years since the war in Afghanistan started, and not one of those three targets has been unequivocally destroyed. That only adds to the irony when you read how in 2001, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan were already gearing us up for the “broader war in the Middle East” that is being widely dreaded today. (Not dreaded by them, I assume.)

Here is what these two top neocons had to say about Afghanistan and the Middle East in post-911 2001:

We do not for an instant minimize the difficulties and the dangers to our forces of the current mission in Afghanistan, especially now as the Bush administration wisely moves closer to the more aggressive use of U.S. ground forces. We are glad that President Bush is apparently following the Pentagon’s advice to accelerate the military campaign to unseat the Taliban, without waiting for the State Department to name the cabinet and sub-cabinet officials in an as-yet imaginary “post-Taliban government.? Nor do we doubt the vital importance of victory in Afghanistan—a victory defined by the unequivocal destruction of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden.

But this war will not end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid. And it is going to put enormous and perhaps unbearable strain on parts of an international coalition that today basks in contented consensus.

The signs that we are on the precipice of a much wider conflict are all around us. …

Full editorial (PDF file)


And here’s what a British journalist has to say about Afghanistan today:

Afghanistan: The War Without End

The Independent (UK)
By Justin Huggler Asia Correspondent
Published: 15 November 2005

British troops have come under attack in Kabul and Nato forces were targeted in two co-ordinated suicide car bombings in which at least four people died.

The attacks took place as ministers revealed that units are preparing to extend Britain’s role in Afghanistan when it takes command of the international peacekeeping operation next year.

John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, told Parliament that Britain faced a “prolonged” involvement in the country. But MPs warned last night that British troops faced being mired in a long-term military commitment to a country in the grip of a growing insurgency.

They insisted yesterday’s extension of Britain’s role in Afghanistan, four years after troops first arrived, also reflected the size of the task facing coalition forces in Iraq.

Fears for Afghanistan’s future emerged in the wake of suggestions, by the British and Iraqi governments, that British troops could begin pulling out of Iraq by the end of next year. For British troops, however, yesterday’s violence in Kabul was a taste of what they will face next year when they deploy to the turbulent province of Helmand as part of a move by Nato to take over security in the Taliban heartlands.
Read the rest of this entry »

15.11.05

The American Conservative: The Weekly Standard’s War

Iraq, Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary


This article from the upcoming issue of The American Conservative is a really good account of the influence the magazine The Weekly Standard, whose editor is PNAC Chairman Bill Kristol, has had on the rise of the neocons, and on the drive for war in Iraq.

As I was reading it, about 7 different spots seemed to deserve excerpting and highlighting, and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to choose which to use. Then I got near the end, and I found the one:

During the second week of the Iraq invasion, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz interviewed several intellectual supporters of the war. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman (who backed the war despite being haunted by its similarities to Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which he saw firsthand) suggested that this was very much an intellectuals’ war. “It’s the war the neoconservatives marketed. Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. So this is not a war that the masses demanded. This is a war of an elite. … I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.? Then Friedman paused, clarifying, “It’s not some fantasy the neoconservatives invented. It’s not that 25 people hijacked America. You don’t take such a great nation into such a great adventure with Bill Kristol and the Weekly Standard and another five or six influential columnists. In the final analysis what fomented the war is America’s over-reaction to September 11. … It is not only the neoconservatives that led us to the outskirts of Baghdad. What led us to the outskirts of Baghdad is a very American combination of anxiety and hubris.?

That kind of ambiguous conclusion about the Standard’s and the neocons’ role in starting the war is what the undisputed and public evidence will sustain. The Standard was important. It amplified the views of “the 25? the way luncheon seminars at the American Enterprise Institute and other neocon think tanks never could have.

But don’t let the excerpt satisfy you. This whole article is a very interesting read, and adds some essential context to our current historical situation.

One other big point the article makes is that the Standard (and neocon intellectuals) are in some part backing off of their support of the current administration, and are now looking more to moderates and Democrats to adopt their ideas. That’s very important to understand — that while the neocons have gained major influence in the current circles of power, they are not wedded to a particular party– or even wedded to conservatives, for that matter.

(A note on bias: For those who are not aware, The American Conservative, a “paleoconservative” (i.e., old or traditional conservative) magazine founded by Pat Buchanan, is a publishing competitor and ideological opponent of The Weekly Standard, founded by neoconservative William Kristol.)


The Weekly Standard’s War


Murdoch’s mag stands athwart history yelling, “Attack!?

By Scott McConnell
The American Conservative

As the Weekly Standard celebrates its 10th birthday, it may be time to ask whether America has ever seen a more successful political magazine. Many have been more widely read, profitable, amusing, or brilliant. But in terms of actually changing the world and shaping the course of history, what contemporary magazine rivals the Standard? Even if you believe that the change has been much for the worse, the Standard’s record of success in its own terms is formidable.

At the time of the Standard’s founding in 1995, there was considerable speculation among neoconservatives over whether the movement had run its course. In “Neoconservatism: A Eulogy,? Norman Podhoretz argued that neoconservatism had effectively put itself out of business by winning on its two major battle fronts: over communism and the residue of the 1960s counterculture. In the process, it had injected itself into the main body of American conservatism to such a degree that it was no longer particularly distinct from it. The eulogy was not a lamentation, more an appreciation of a job well done.

But while there was something to the Podhoretz argument, the American Right in 1995 did not have a neoconnish feel. Read the rest of this entry »

15.11.05

The New Al Qaeda: More Dangerous than the Old Version

Iraq, Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary


The following comes from author Ivan Eland, a Senior Fellow at the libertarian Independent Institute, Director of the Institute’s Center on Peace & Liberty, and author of the books The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and Putting “Defense? Back into U.S. Defense Policy.

It talks about how the war in Iraq seems to have become a birthing ground for a sort of Al Qaeda 2.0, more vicious than the first version, which seems to now be moving beyond the main battleground in Iraq.

It’s certainly worth thinking about this: How powerful would Abu Musab al-Zarqawi be today if the United States had not invaded Iraq?


The New Al Qaeda: More Dangerous than the Old Version

November 14, 2005
Ivan Eland

Say good-bye to the old al Qaeda and hello to a new, more dangerous version created by President George W. Bush. The recent suicide bombings by Iraqis in Amman, Jordan are ominous because they provide hard evidence (confirmed by U.S. intelligence analysis) that the war in Iraq—far from pinning terrorists down within that country’s borders, as the president alleges—is incubating combat-hardened jihadists for export to other countries. As many opponents of the Iraq war predicted beforehand, a non-Islamic nation’s invasion of another Muslim country has spawned the same radical Islamic terrorism that occurred after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s and Russia invaded Chechnya in the 1990s.

The former invasion ultimately led to the rise of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s leader and once dominant force. After 9/11, the United States made considerable progress in eliminating al Qaeda’s safe haven and training infrastructure in Afghanistan and isolating bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, his deputy, from their forces in the field. Yet the U.S. invasion of Iraq allowed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a previously independent actor who didn’t care that much about the United States, to grab the spotlight by joining al Qaeda and becoming the face of the Iraqi insurgency against the U.S. occupation. Zarqawi and his “al Qaeda in Iraq? organization make the treacherous bin Laden and Zawahiri look like choirboys. Zarqawi’s trademarks are the brutal videotaped beheadings and the wanton slaughter of Muslim innocents, as well as the foreign occupiers and their Iraqi allies.

Zarqawi is so ruthless that Zawahiri sent him a letter asking him nicely to tone it down a bit. We know things are bad when the al Qaeda leadership seems temperate in comparison. Yet, Zarqawi has ignored pleas from al Qaeda’s leadership for moderation, and the bombings by his Iraqi minions in Jordan seem to indicate that he is now expanding his attacks outside Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

08.11.05

U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation

News Articles, Outside Commentary, Syria


More on the developing Syria saga, from Voice of America News.

Note this statement by Secretary of State Rice:

“With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.?

There’s another nation in the Middle East that was being characterized in much the same way, prior to being invaded by the U.S. Another thing happened before the U.S. invaded Iraq as well, and that was the passing of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Iraq comply with UN weapons inspections and disclosure requirements or face “serious consequences”. This one against Syria threatens to consider further action if necessary. My next post will be a summary of the resolution.


U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation

04 November 2005

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The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution that calls on Syria to cooperate in the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Mr. Hariri was an opponent of Syria’s nearly three-decades long occupation in Lebanon. He and twenty other people were killed in a February 2005 car bombing in Beirut.

A report prepared for the U.N. Security Council implicated both Lebanese and Syrian high-ranking officials in the murders. The report said Syria failed to cooperate and that several Syrian officials tried to mislead investigators by giving them false or inaccurate information.

The resolution demands that Syria detain any officials or individuals that U.N. investigators suspect of involvement in the Hariri murder and make them available for questioning. It also bans travel for individuals designated as suspects in the assassination and freezes their overseas assets.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.N. Security Council resolution “sends a strong signal to Syria?:

“The resolution tells the Syrians in no uncertain terms, in very strong language, that they should not interfere in Lebanese affairs in any way. . . . .it allows the Council to come back to consider further action should that be necessary; should Syria not comply.?

The resolution, said Ms. Rice, “is the only way to compel the Syrian government to accept the just demands of the United Nations and to cooperate fully with the investigation?:

“With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.?

Secretary of State Rice says Syria needs to make “a strategic decision” to change its behavior. “Until that day comes,? she said, “we in the international community must remain united.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

08.11.05

Reference Materials for “Debating Empire”

Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary, Research Materials


Professors Jennifer Jackson and Steve Macek at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois have a course this semester titled “Debating Empire”. The reason we knew about it is that they included PNAC.info among the reference links for that course. The reason I’m telling you is that they have also compiled a hefty page of links to essays, articles, and other research materials relating to the subject of the United States and empire. There are writings from Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain, a speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., and essays from folks as far ranging in viewpoint as Arundhati Roy and Charles Krauthammer. There looks to be a few dozen resources and documents. I’m sure many of them will end up with their own entries here at PNAC.info in due time, but for now, you can just dig in yourself.

Reference Materials for “Debating Empire”

Note: It certainly appears at first glance that the folks who set up that page are coming from a particular side of the debate, and I assume that, on the whole, the resources there lean toward the anti-empire side of the debate. I just wanted to make it clear that we’re aware the page is not fully objective (and probably left-leaning), but I’m including it anyway because the documents on the page can speak for themselves, and I can tell just at a glance that many of them will have much useful to say on this topic.

06.11.05

Much Ado About Syria, Pt.3– Rep. Ron Paul: “Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East”

Outside Commentary, Syria


Representative Ron Paul, the respected Republican congressman from Texas, provided one of the most resounding statements of alarm about the aims and machinations of the neoconservative movement, in his widely-distributed speech “Neo-conned”.

Now he’s here to let us know what’s staring us in the face, in the form of what he sees as the U.S.’s next target for regime change– Syria.

Dr. Paul hits it right on the head so many times in this piece that I will just let it speak for itself.


HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 26, 2005

We Have Been Warned

We have been warned. Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East, as plans are being laid for the next U.S. led regime change– in Syria. A UN report on the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafig Hariri elicited this comment from a senior U.S. policy maker: “Out of tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity.? This statement reflects the continued neo-conservative, Machiavellian influence on our foreign policy. The “opportunity? refers to the long-held neo-conservative plan for regime change in Syria, similar to what was carried out in Iraq.

This plan for remaking the Middle East has been around for a long time. Just as 9/11 served the interests of those who longed for changes in Iraq, the sensationalism surrounding Hariri’s death is being used to advance plans to remove Assad.

Congress already has assisted these plans by authorizing the sanctions placed on Syria last year. Harmful sanctions, as applied to Iraq in the 1990s, inevitably represent a major step toward war since they bring havoc to so many innocent people. Syria already has been charged with developing weapons of mass destruction based on no more evidence than was available when Iraq was similarly charged.

Syria has been condemned for not securing its borders, by the same U.S. leaders who cannot secure our own borders. Syria was castigated for placing its troops in Lebanon, a neighboring country, although such action was invited by an elected government and encouraged by the United States. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon elicited no suicide terrorist attacks, as was suffered by Western occupiers.

Condemning Syria for having troops in Lebanon seems strange, considering most of the world sees our 150,000 troops in Iraq as an unwarranted foreign occupation. Syrian troops were far more welcome in Lebanon.

Secretary Rice likewise sees the problems in Syria– that we helped to create– as an opportunity to advance our Middle Eastern agenda. In recent testimony she stated that it was always the administration’s intent to redesign the greater Middle East, and Iraq was only one part of that plan. And once again we have been told that all options are still on the table for dealing with Syria– including war.

The statement that should scare all Americans (and the world) is the assurance by Secretary Rice that the President needs no additional authority from Congress to attack Syria. She argues that authority already has been granted by the resolutions on 9/11 and Iraq. This is not true, but if Congress remains passive to the powers assumed by the executive branch it won’t matter. As the war spreads, the only role for Congress will be to provide funding lest they be criticized for not supporting the troops. In the meantime, the Constitution and our liberties here at home will be further eroded as more Americans die.
Read the rest of this entry »

17.11.03

Neoconservatism Made Kristol Clear

Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary


Here’s another angle on the Irving Kristol piece
in the Weekly Standard where he identifies the current administration as being neo-conservative, while explaining just what that means. This article comes from the “market anarchist”/anti-state site Strike The Root—another non-liberal, non-Democrat source.

Neoconservatism Made Kristol Clear

by Michael Tennant
August 18, 2003

Memo to Irving Kristol: Get yourself to a secure, undisclosed location immediately if not sooner. You are in grave danger. No, you needn’t worry about receiving threats from left-wing loonies like Al Gore or his disciple, the Unabomber. You don’t even have to fear the paleoconservatives and libertarians.

You should, however, keep your eyes open for members of the National Review/Wall Street Journal crowd. IMPORTANT: If you receive a package in the mail from David Frum, call the bomb squad immediately!

Why do I say Irving Kristol had better keep a close eye on his allies on the “official” right? Simply this: He recently wrote
a piece for The Weekly Standard
in which he spelled out exactly what neoconservatism is. What’s worse is that ol’ Irv’s description of neoconservatism proves that it is everything its critics have said it is–and worse.

Now that “the ‘godfather’ of all those neocons,” as Kristol describes himself, has spoken on the subject (and written a book entitled Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea), the NR/WSJ crowd can no longer plausibly deny the existence of such a movement, as some have tried to do. In addition, they can no longer plausibly claim that neoconservatism is merely another form of traditional conservatism. Nor can they plausibly insist that neoconservatism has anything at all to do with the American founding and tradition of limited government and avoidance of entangling alliances. Kristol has blown all these arguments out of the water.

Full commentary

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